In the Best Interests of the Children

Virtual Event
Thursday, Oct 28, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
Color still of family with arms around each other

Presented by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation.

New digital preservation!


A video link will be sent by email on the day of the program. The link will also be posted here 30 minutes before the program.

This is a one-time live screening.

In the Best Interests of the Children

U.S., 1977

Though a 25-year study published in 2010 in the journal Pediatrics found that children raised by two mothers perform better in school, exhibit higher self-esteem and have fewer behavioral issues than their peers with heterosexual parents, this data collecting only began in 1985, nearly a decade after Frances Reid, Elizabeth Stevens and Cathy Zheutlin’s documentary, In the Best Interests of the Children, so beautifully illustrated the same narrative. This groundbreaking, award-winning film “about who lesbian mothers and their children really are” portrays the diversity of experience, race and class among eight familes and their challenges with custody, the childrens’ fathers and the courts. Subjected to unnecessary psychological testing, evaluation and scrutiny, lesbian mothers—both those who used sperm donors and those who were previously in heterosexual relationships—find the burden of proof on themselves to exhibit superior fitness in parenting their own children and a level of judicial and social monitoring most straight mothers evade. Through tender interviews with the children and observational footage of women interacting with their kin, Reid, Stevens and Zheutlin’s heartrending depiction of motherly love normalizes a family model enjoyed by millions around the world.

Program will feature a pre-recorded Q&A with filmmaker Frances Reid.

Color, 53 min. Directors/cinematographers/editors: Frances Reid, Elizabeth Stevens, Cathy Zheutlin.

New digital scan courtesy of The Andrew J. Kuehn Jr. Foundation.