Over the Moon

“We’ll try one last time,”

director Charissa King-O’Brien says in her latest documentary, embarking on her eighth attempt to get pregnant via artificial insemination. Charissa and her partner were both Chicago grad students when they decided to have a child in 2003, and the protracted effort was taking its toll. Charissa started filming after identifying a gay U. of C. student she says she thought “would be perfect” as a sperm donor. She asked him on camera, and he considered it but ultimately declined, saying “things aren’t great for queers now.” (This was during the 2004 election, when opposition to gay marriage was galvanizing the Christian right.)

The King-O’Briens started searching online for a sperm donor and began two years of meticulously documenting their tumultuous journey. During some medical procedures, they asked each other hard questions about why they wanted a baby, the use of fertility drugs, the financial toll of repeated attempts and “the correlation between the natural world and this somewhat unnatural way of having a baby,” as Charissa says in the film during a moment of uncertainty.

“There is this perception that queer couples do not make babies the natural way—and the same is true for straight couples with infertility issues,” Charissa says. “I wanted the film to call into question the perception that there is only one right way to have a baby or to make a family.” Excerpt taken from Time Out Chicago, “Mothers and child
A local lesbian couple’s struggle to have a baby drives a new documentary.” By Ed M. Koziarski Published: November 3, 2010

Drawing from her background in painting and photography, Charissa interweaves hand drawn animation and poetic imagery throughout the film. “Over the Moon” premiered at the Reeling International Film Festival in Chicago where it won the Documentary Feature Honorable Mention award. “Over the Moon” has been shown in festivals worldwide and has been part of a traveling LGBT film outreach program in Latin America.

Duration: 54 minutes, released in 2010

Reeling LGBT International Film Festival, Chicago, IL 2010
Madrid Int’l LGBT Film Festival November 2010
LGBT Indianapolis Film Festival, November 2010
Out on Film Festival, Atlanta, GA, October 2010
Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, Sneak Preview Screening, MI, August 2010
Cinemarosa, Queens, NY, 2011

Community Arts Assistance Program Grant/Award from the City of Chicago 2010
Documentary Feature – Honorable Mention, Reeling Int’l Film Festival, Chicago, IL

“Director Charissa King-O’Brien lovingly captures the challenges she and her partner Kelly faced on their path to parenthood. Beginning with their initial dream of becoming mothers, “Over the Moon” details their thoughtful decision making process on choices such as donor selection and the use of fertility drugs. Documenting this usually private process is a gift well shared with others in the lesbian community, who often struggle with similar issues. Well-paced and sweetly told, “Over the Moon” will be of much comfort for any woman hoping to have a baby, and looking for real life inspiration along the way.”
Rachel Pepper
Author of “The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians”