About Face: The Story of Gwendellin Bradshaw

Wednesday, September 16, 2009 – 8:00 PM
** Please note this one-time only special start time of 8:00 PM **

USA 2009. Director: Mary Katzke


About FaceIn 1980, at an Alaskan campground, a young mother likely suffering from post-partum psychosis threw her 10-month-old baby into a roaring campfire. Gwendellin Bradshaw sustained 2nd and 3rd-degree burns over most of her body, losing fingers, an ear and half of her scalp. She spent most of the next four years in the hospital, and grew up never seeing a photo of her mother or knowing much about her, except that she was put into a mental hospital after the terrible incident at the campground. Now, as a young adult, Gwen is estranged from her father and suffers from depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and an unshakeable sense of aloneness. In 2004, she was temporarily confined to a mental hospital after attempting suicide. This experience galvanizes her to search for her absent mother — a decision that sets off a five-year journey for healing and acceptance. On her search Gwen discovers a half-sister living in Minnesota; attends a gathering of burn survivors; finds God; and ultimately, miraculously (and with the help of a retired police detective) tracks down her mother in Vermont during the brief four-hour window between her release from a mental hospital

and her departure on a bus for parts unknown. Will this meeting finally give Gwen the sense of belonging and peace she has been looking for? Colour, Digibeta video. 80 mins.

Post-screening discussion with Mary Katzke and Dr. Carolyn Steinberg.

Ms. Katzke is a documentary filmmaker living in Anchorage, Alaska.  She holds a degree in Radio, Television and Film from the University of Texas and an MFA in Writing and Directing Film and Television from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 1982, she founded Affinityfilms, Inc, a nonprofit production company dedicated to instigating positive change and specializing in social issue documentaries.

Dr. Steinberg is an Infant/Preschool Child Psychiatrist who has been working at Richmond Hospital in the Early Childhood Mental Health Program for the past three years. Trained at the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Alberta, she is now a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia.

Co-sponsored by Richmond Hospital’s Department of Psychiatry.

Film Website and Trailer

Ticketing and Screening Info