University of Rochester

Film Showing, Discussion for Babies Looks at Contemporary Parenting Across Cultures

October 10, 2011

Warner Presents First in a Film Series on Human Development Across the Lifespan

A public showing of the documentary film Babies will be offered through the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education on Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Hoyt Auditorium on River Campus. The showing, which is the first in a film series exploring human development across the lifespan that will air during the academic year, is free and open to the public.

Babies is a documentary by French filmmaker Thomas Balmès that follows four babies in their first year of life, from birth through their first steps. From the plains of Mongolia, the dusty grasslands of Namibia, the bustle of Tokyo, and the streets of San Francisco, the film captures how these babies enter the world, how their families engage in the challenges of parenting, and how these babies each begin to walk, utter basic words, and understand complicated sentences.

A panel discussion, moderated by Warner School doctoral candidate Joyce Duckles, will follow the showing, providing insight on the film from multiple perspectives. Panelists will include medical anthropologist Nancy Chin, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center; Mary Louise Musler, executive director of 292 Baby; Neil Herendeen, MD, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center; and Ann Kraska, nurse practitioner in Special Care Nursery at Rochester General Hospital.

"The film spurs so much conversation," said Duckles. "Highlighting the resiliency of young kids and early childhood development, the documentary and discussion will appeal to everyone. It will present an opportunity for community members, who are interested in the well-being of babies, to engage in in-depth conversations around the roles of culture in human development."

The documentary, which was released in May 2010 and earned $7.3 million in its first two months of circulation, features little music and no advice, analysis, narration or subtitles for the limited adult talk across four languages. Guided by the panel of experts and practitioners, the audience will have an opportunity to think and talk about the developmental pathways of these four small, yet magical, human beings.

Additional film showings and discussions taking place this year as part of the free film series will go beyond the beginning stages of human development to focus on the adolescent, early adulthood, and aging stages.

Babies are welcome to the event. Parking on River Campus is $3 per car. Please stop by the information booth on Wilson Boulevard for parking instructions. A sign language interpreter will be provided for the panel discussion. For other special accommodations or questions, please contact the Warner Academic Support Office at (585) 276-5405 or by e-mail at For more information on the Oct. 25 event, please visit the Warner School's Facebook page or website at To learn more about Babies, please visit

About the Warner School of Education Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, and educational policy. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its EdD programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.