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Completion   /  Em Baker

I Am No Bird

Four brides. Four countries. One big day.


Impact areas



  • DIRECTOR Em Baker

  • PRODUCER Em Baker



Women spend their lives receiving contradictory messages about marriage: an aspiration, a fantasy, a trap. An ancient institution, whose meaning has been fiercely debated the world over, it can be difficult to pinpoint what marriage means to modern women around the world.
To Benay, in Turkey, it means a new beginning and a new family – something she lost with the passing of her mother when she was a child. To honour this, she’s getting married on Mother’s Day. To Anna, in Australia, it means being made one with her partner and her God, and preparing to lose her virginity. To Luthanlu, in India, it means an opportunity to continue her Rongmei Naga culture, a tribal minority in the north-east of the country. And to Dalia, in Mexico, it means the validation of her relationship with her girlfriend, and hopefully, reconciliation with her conservative mother.

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Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Marriage is an tradition the meaning of which continues to be debated in Australia and across the world. Against this backdrop, we wanted to speak to a diverse cross-section of women from four different countries and learn what significance marriage holds for them. Our subjects have varying ethnicities, faith traditions, sexual orientations, and socio-economic backgrounds, but they are tied together by this one institution. By profiling these women’s stories, we hope we can celebrate the diversity of experience that exists in marriage.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

As a queer, feminist filmmaker, my feelings about marriage are complicated. It seems I’m not alone, as while the subjects in this film celebrate their love, culture, traditions, and faith through their weddings, at times they also feel limited by them. I wanted to make this film because to me, this is truly the experience of women everywhere: trying to create something of your own in a world that’s not built for you. Weddings are a perfect microcosm to explore this in.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

Through this film, we hope that communities who would not often cross paths will engage with each other. People tend to gravitate towards people like them, but I think that audience will connect with different aspects of each one of the subjects in I Am No Bird, giving a human face to difference.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

We have connected with various media outlets that cater to our demographic and they have written about our film ie. SBS, Whimn, Joy FM and the Star Observer.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

We don’t need audiences to take a specific action. We are hoping to promote empathy and understanding for people with different lives than ourselves, and to give space and representation to stories our audiences may not have seen on screen before. If our audiences leave feeling they connected with a subject, or that a story similar to their own was on screen, that’s our job done.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We would like to reach audiences and make them feel something, be that at festivals, theatrical screenings, or on VOD. If people watch our film, that’s success.