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Marriage equality has been a prominent issue for worldwide governments in recent times with New Zealand, Ireland and certain states of American leading the way. In Australia however, opposition has centred on the implications this holds for children to have both a mother and a father. “Gayby Baby”, directed by Sydney-born Maya Newell, explores the lives of four families with same sex parents.
The film, at first, sounds controversial. However it is a contemporary look into modern Australian family life and the issues that come with raising children in 2015.
Ebony, with her eyes set on becoming a successful singer, is applying to an elite performing arts school however her mum’s financial situation is restrictive. Graham struggles with his literacy and when his dads pack up to move to Fiji, he can’t comprehend why he’s not meant to talk about his two dads. Christian doesn’t understand his mother’s ties to the church, which have shunned their family, and Gus is a wrestling fanatic who perturbs both of his mums.
Newell’s camera work is unobtrusive and purely observational, capturing these moments like a family friend popping by to say hello. The film relates back to the big issue however with a voice-over from the former Australian treasurer, Joe Hockey, through the opening credits asserting the primacy of the ‘traditional’ family, joined by other politicians ringing the same proverbial bell.
“Gayby Baby” makes a statement that in 2015, the ‘traditional’ family can take many forms and what it might have been in the past doesn’t necessarily exist now in this day and age.
“Gayby Baby” was nominated for the Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary at the Sydney Film Festival in 2015.