Distributed by Interfilm Productions Inc.,, 304-1515 West Hastings St., Vancouver, BC V6G 3G6, Canada; 604-638-8920
Produced by Boris Ivanov
Directed by Julia Ivanova
DVD, color, 55 min.
Jr. High - Adult
Gay and Lesbian Studies, Parenting, Adoption, Child Development, Sociology
Reviewed by Justin Cronise, University at Buffalo, State University of New York
Date Entered: 6/30/2009
Gay parenting is often editorialized in the news media as a polarizing and controversial topic but seldom is there evidence presented to support either side’s opinion—it is one view versus the other. Fatherhood Dreams begins with interviews of people on the street, all of whom have opinions about gay men having children but not a single person actually knows a child raised by gay parents. In a society apprehensive of gay parents in general, it is a struggle for gay men to become fathers. This film presents four gay fathers making up three non-traditional families and offers a glimpse into their daily lives.
Viewers are introduced to Randy and Drew, a married couple who adopted a baby boy; Stephen, who co-parents two daughters with a lesbian couple; and Scott, who is preparing to become a single parent of twins through surrogacy. The film proceeds to follow their lives over several months, seamlessly switching back and forth between families.
All of the families are Canadian, which is one of the few countries where same-sex marriage is legal. However, it is still a struggle for gay men to adopt children, and Scott is required to go outside of the law to find a surrogate mother. The laws are also hazy about co-parenting situations, such as is the case with Stephen, where there is no protection of parental rights beyond two parents.
Randy, Drew, and their baby, Jack, are the archetypal happy, loving family. They are concerned about Jack growing up without knowing other children who have gay parents, and so they decide to move to the city where they think there is a greater chance of finding common family situations.
Stephen commutes every weekend from his job in Vancouver to a remote island to be with his non-traditional family. The older daughter is from his marriage with one of the lesbian women, and after they both came out, his wife met the other woman. The women decided to have another child together and Stephen acts as the father. The older daughter struggles to make friends, although she identifies herself as straight. However, the younger daughter memorably says: “I am the luckiest ever, because I have the most parents.”
Scott is absolutely determined to become a father and had been trying for years to adopt a child, finally coming to surrogacy and pushing – and going beyond – the legal limits. Scott anxiously prepares for twins and he talks about the challenges he has needed to overcome as a single gay man to become a single gay father.
Fatherhood Dreams is an excellent portrait of gay parenting and shows that gay fathers exist and are essentially just like any other parents. They are, however, faced with some unique challenges and the film is straightforward and does not sugar-coat those issues and their struggles.
The special features on the DVD are produced in the same quality as the film and include two additional vignettes—a single gay man who discusses his desire to become a father, and a deeply religious gay couple with two sons adopted from foster homes; a photo gallery of the families; and a Q & A session with the filmmaker and the three featured families after the film’s first screening.
Fatherhood Dreams is highly recommended for all libraries and general programs, particularly for LGBT studies.