Nina Davenport Director of FIRST COMES LOVE Interviewed
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. For filmmaker Nina Davenport, that old playground song didn’t go as planned. Single at age forty-one, she decides to have a baby on her own, never minding the odds stacked against her or the extra hurdles of living in New York City. Filming the whole process, she excels at candour and comedy, revealing the joys and pains of becoming a parent while confronting her own family history. Filled with the emotional substance of real life, FIRST COMES LOVE is an intimate look at the modern condition of parenthood.
Mon, 4/8 7:15 PM
Tue, 4/9 5:30 PM
Photo credit: Corinne de Korver/HBO
SFF 2013: What inspired you to make this film?
NINA DAVENPORT: I have a history of making autobiographical films. I made a film called ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID that was about my lovelife and dating a man who couldn't commit while being a wedding videographer and wishing I was the one walking down the aisle.
So when I found myself at fourty-one considering having a baby on my own, I had the perfect sequel. And I felt an obligation to make the film. I felt I was the right person to tell this story of people who for one reason or another did not find a partner and decided to have babies on their own.
SFF 2013: What is the process of this type of filmmaking?
NINA DAVENPORT: It's very strange to make an autobiographical film. You find yourself living your life and wondering at any moment if what you're doing is filmic or interesting in a universal way. You're looking at yourself from the outside while also living your life like anyone else. On one hand it is rewarding because you see your own experiences in a different context but it is also exhausting because of examining each experience and wondering if this is a moment for the camera. And it can be a strain on your friends and loved ones to be on camera.
SFF 2013: Is truth your cornerstone as a filmmaker?
NINA DAVENPORT: There is editing, but I rely on the idea that what I am telling is emotionally true and I have found that audiences really relate to and latch onto the honesty and openness with which I tell my own story.
SFF 2013: Who is the audience for FIRST COMES LOVE and what do you hope they will take from the experience?
NINA DAVENPORT: This is a film that will appeal to more than just women. It begins as a woman's journey to have a baby on her own, but it becomes about more universal things such as family, parenthood, friendships, community, and mortality. Retirement age audiences relate well to the film because the archival footage spans 80 years and it talks about my relationship with my dad and the death of one's own parent (my mother died during this period).
Men and women of all ages relate to this story. It takes you places you don't expect to go when you watch the film, and audiences respond strongly and well to that.