Special Screenings
Traveling Festival


Like a Ship In the Night
(30 minutes) Ireland/UK/USA
Director/Producer: Melissa Thompson

Abortion is illegal in Ireland, North and South, potentially punishable by life imprisonment. Yet at least 8,000 Irish women a year travel to England for abortions. They make this journey in secret and return in silence, some of them never telling a soul. Like a Ship in the Night is a 30-minute documentary, which follows a young painter, a working class mother of five, and a self-proclaimed country girl as they plan their secret journeys across the Irish Sea. Along the way we hear from community workers, doctors and counselors about the history of the laws and social attitudes that make their journey necessary. Louise, Mary and Siobhan are welcomed in England by grassroots activists who support Irish women during their stay. After their abortions, the women head home, each armed with a "catalog of lies" to explain their absence. At the end of a long, often emotional journey, they are afraid to tell anyone where they have been or what they have been through. Although the three women begin their journeys with different views on abortion rights, they all return silenced, terrified and angry at their country.

Melissa Thompson received her MFA in film and media arts from Temple University in 2000. She began a series of documentaries on Irish women while on a Fulbright scholarship in 1998-1999. Completed pieces from the series include The Road of Women about the experiences of women political prisoners (which premiered at the Cork Film Festival), and several shorts for the Irish government's Gender Equality program. Her previous short documentaries, including In the Weeds: Waiting for a Living and Novices, have screened in many film festivals in the USA and abroad (Women in the Director's Chair, the Dallas Video Festival, Frameline) and have been broadcast on Free Speech TV and Philadelphia public television. She has worked as a videographer and editor on major independent documentaries such as Desire: The Teenage Girls Documentary Project (directed by Julie Gustafson) and By Invitation Only (directed by Rebecca Snedeker), as well as on many grassroots media projects with kids, artists and immigrant communities.

Contact information:
Melissa Thompson
415 Hermitage St.
Philadelphia, PA 19128
E-mail: melissa@tallgirlshorts.net
Web site: www.likeashipinthenight.com
©2007 United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)
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