Press Highlights

“DES Daughter Welcomes Mother’s Day Miracle Baby”

“The Aftermath of Cancer”
New York Newsday by John Anderson (June 1997)


“This is not, of course, a comedy. But its instinct for humor—and its remarkable sense of intimacy—are what make “A Healthy Baby Girl” such a special movie, one that in its patchwork quality affirms the power and immediacy of nonfiction film itself.

Some documentaries—the fabled Frederick Wiseman, just for instance—operate from a philosophy of near-total objectivity, striving for truth through dispassion. Helfand turns that philosophy on its head, working strictly out of her own outrage, loss and existential wit. The result is a very personal document that transcends the personal: Following the film’s Sundance Festival screenings early this year, the question-and-answer periods resembled revival meetings, with audience members testifying passionately about their own experiences with a variety of environmental-toxicological catastrophes.”

“In Utero”
San Francisco Bay Guardian by Susan Gerhard
(June 1997)


“The quote we’ve been using comes from Mark Twain,’ Judith tells me over the phone from her busy New York office. ‘History doesn’t repeat itself. It rhymes.’ The week before A Healthy Baby Girl’s national broadcast on PBS’s POV, Helfand’s political organizing principle has been to find the local story. DES itself is a local story; since the drug was prescribed all over the country for more than 20 years, every community has its ‘DES daughters’ as they’re called. But A Healthy Baby Girl, the movement (as devised by Helfand and Pamela Calvert), is starting to concern itself with carcinogens of all kinds, especially endocrine-disrupting chemicals, filling in a big picture that looks alarmingly like Todd Hayne’s Safe without the irony. ‘When you get hurt by toxic exposure,’ Judith Helfand says, ‘it hurts you at home, it hurts you in your relationships, it hurts you in a ay that forces you to give language to things you never would have given language to before.”

Links & Articles

“Mom’s Fingerprints Are All Over This”
The Philadelphia Inquirer by Carrie Rickie (May 2014)

“Parenting from Both Sides of the Camera”
Guest blog by Judith Helfand for PBS POV (May 2014)

“A Victim of DES Puts Experience into a Documentary”
The New York Times by Barbara Delatiner (January 1997)

“Toxic Exposure: Birth, Lies and Videotape”
Deseret News by Elaine Jarvik (January 1997)