Director: Morgan Ingari
United States, 2019, 102 min
Shooting Format:Arri Amira
Genres:Comedy, Drama, LGBTQ
WINNER: Best Screenplay
Cast:Molly Bernard, Patrick Breen, Robin de Jesus, Ava Eisenson, Ade Otukoya
Crew:Writer: Morgan Ingari. Producer: Candice Kuwahara. Executive Producers: Ash Christian
Seeking direction and purpose, Milo rashly decides to become a surrogate and egg donor for an older gay man she meets in a bar. However, as Milo becomes increasingly attached to him, she starts leveraging the pregnancy as a means of staying embedded in his life.
About the director
Morgan Ingari is a Brooklyn-based queer writer/director, originally from Boston. She graduated from Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Film & Television in 2013. Since graduation, she has worked in New York as a writer and director. She has had short films screen at multiple festivals around the world, however "Milkwater" is her first feature film undertaking.
"Milkwater" covers themes she is incredibly passionate about, including LGBT rights, the visibility of prominent female characters, and the expectations placed upon women when they choose to carry a child. She is as committed to representing women behind the camera as she is to telling their stories on screen.
As a young gay woman, I often think about the complexities of having children in queer relationships, and how that process necessitates the involvement of people outside the relationship. As the family unit becomes less and less traditional, I think there's an opportunity to explore both the beauty and the vulnerability in that.
I'm passionate about examining the different facets of sexuality, womanhood, and femininity, and how those coalesce into the decision to have children or get pregnant. I'm also compelled by the "crazy woman" archetype - I think it's essential to dig past the stereotype and into the nebulous emotions and fraught realities underneath.
"Milkwater" follows a young woman, Milo, who feels left behind by her pregnant best friend. Driven by a desire to be the most important person in someone's life, she offers to become a surrogate and egg donor for an older gay man and near-stranger, Roger. Roger hesitantly agrees, fearing this might be his last chance to have a child. As the two become more entrenched in each other's lives, the line between surrogate, friend, mentee, and partner get blurred.
It's one of my proudest accomplishments to have created "Milkwater" with a team of entirely female department heads, and I am confident that this lens and environment deepened the artistic merit of the film. I want to be an artist who champions women not only by writing them, but by casting them, consulting them, and employing them. In everything I write, I ask myself if this character is a character I would have wanted or needed to see at fifteen. Would she have taught me about myself? Made my experience and existence feel more valid and universal? I hope I have succeeded in creating both a character and a film that represents those who struggle to subvert our ideas of what a "traditional" family looks like with empathy and joy.