Single documentary filmmaker Nina Davenport decided as a 40-year old New Yorker to have a baby on her own - and film the process. With the help of her best friend, Amy, as birth partner and her gay friend Eric as sperm donor, First Comes Love tracks Nina's story from idea, to conception, to birth. This touching, hilarious real-life story reflects on life, love, and relationships - and what comes first.
NFF spoke with Nina about her experience in both making the film and having a child as a single mother. Read more below, and then meet Nina and her son Jasper at her screenings on Thursday, June 27 at 2:30pm and Friday, June 28 at 11:30am!
NFF: When you decided to have a baby, when did the idea to film the experience factor into the process?
Davenport: In 2000 I made my film Always a Bridesmaid, an autobiographical documentary about my love life. I was working as a wedding videographer as a single woman who was dying to get married and dating a guy who couldn't commit. During that process I sought advice from older women who didn't marry and I started thinking a lot about women of their generation and mine. I think of First Comes Love as a sort of sequel to that film. I found a common story about women of my generation who didn't find the perfect partner in time to have a child and I decided to walk into the fire.
NFF: Do you have any regrets about deciding to record everything? Did it impede just being able to enjoy your pregnancy? And looking back on the footage, is there anything you would change?
Davenport: Of course it's difficult to live your life while simultaneously wondering if you should film it. I am grateful that I was able to preserve cute moments and have a wonderful record of my son's birth to look back on forever. As far as the film, I'm very lucky that I'm surrounded by generous collaborators who don't believe in firm deadlines and I've been able to still make small changes, even after our Toronto screening. I'm happy with the version we have now and can say I wouldn't change a thing.
NFF: It seems like there's a natural progression in this work: you made the first film about dating and love, the second film about having children - will this be a trilogy? Can audiences expect a final piece from you about your life that compliments these two films?
Davenport: I think it's likely there will be a third film in the series. Having First Comes Love starting to screen in festivals and in New York (and in July on HBO) brings new life to the older film and gets people interested and invested all over again. I also think the experience of seeing one life lived over many years is powerful for an audience.
NFF: What should audiences know about your film?
Davenport: This is not a film that only women or single mothers relate to. Ultimately, the film is about family and what it's about to look back on your childhood and your parents and growing up. It's a universal story.
Learn more! www.firstcomeslovemovie.com