An Oya Media Group and NFB co-production
An emotionally sweeping tale of healing and forgiveness, A Mother Apart accompanies powerhouse Jamaican-American poet and LGBTQ+ activist Staceyann Chin as she re-imagines the essential art of mothering—having been abandoned by her own mother.
How do you raise a child when your own mother abandoned you? In a remarkable story of healing and forgiveness, Jamaican-American poet and LGBTQ+ activist Staceyann Chin, renowned for performances in Def Poetry Slam and hit solo shows like MotherStruck!, radically re-imagines the essential art of mothering. In seeking her elusive mother—a trail that leads to Brooklyn, Montreal, Cologne and, finally, Jamaica—Staceyann and her daughter forge a new sense of home.
“My mother’s leaving me was the first wound.”
Staceyann Chin embodies multiple complex identities—poet, activist, lesbian, Jamaican American, mother. But the most complicated of all is “daughter.”
Abandoned by her mother as a child, Staceyann has been seeking her out for decades, travelling the globe in a one-sided attempt to forge a meaningful bond with the woman who brought her into the world.
And now, as the sole parent of nine-year-old Zuri, she wrestles with an all-consuming dilemma: how to mother a daughter when your own mother was missing in action.
In an extraordinary tale of grace and forgiveness, filmmaker Laurie Townshend profiles one woman’s inspired and deeply intentional parenting. A Mother Apart catches up with Staceyann as she picks up the trail of her elusive mother—a trail that leads to Brooklyn, Montreal, Cologne and, finally, back to her native Jamaica. Along the way she just may find the sense of home she’s been longing for.
A healing journey spanning three generations, the film is punctuated with vivid animation, imagery from personal archives and excerpts from Staceyann’s arresting live performances. Her singularly intersectional voice, showcased in the legendary Def Poetry Slam and hit solo shows like MotherStruck!, infuses A Mother Apart with deep compassion and commanding intelligence.
Poet, actor, and performing artist Staceyann Chin is the author of the new poetry collection Crossfire: A Litany For Survival, the critically acclaimed memoir The Other Side of Paradise, cowriter and original performer in the Tony Award–winning Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, and author of the one-woman shows Hands Afire, Unspeakable Things, Border/Clash, and MotherStruck. She has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and 60 Minutes, and her poetry been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post. She proudly identifies as Caribbean, Black, Asian, lesbian, a woman, and a resident of New York City, as well as a Jamaican national.
Contact NFB Publicist for broadcast–quality excerpts.
Ngardy Conteh George
Ngardy Conteh George
Sonia Godding Togobo
Directors of Photography
Ashley Iris Gill
Gabriela Osio Vanden
Music Composed by
Research and Clearances
Naiyelli Romero Agüero
Assistant Production Coordinator
Post Production Supervisor
Omar Abd Alla
Denise Lee Hutchinson
Theatrical Imaging By
Picture Shop Toronto
Technical Operations Manager
DI Finishing Producer
DI Online Editor
DI Packaging Editor
Closed Caption Services
German – English Translations
Jimmy Ye Professional Corporation
Henderson & Co
Cheryl Grossman Entertainment Law
Arthur J. Gallagher Canada Limited
For The NFB
Studio Operations Manager
Senior Production Coordinators
© 2024 10869317 Canada Inc./Oya Media Group and the National Film Board of Canada