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Special Deliveries

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Daniel Alpert spent the last year shooting Mother Maker, a documentary about the Chicago Doula Project, which matches childbirth coaches with single, teenage, expectant mothers on the city's west and south sides. Members of the communities they serve, the doulas guide their charges through pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and hang around afterward to get them on track for good parenting. They spend eight months with each mother, beginning four months prior to her delivery date. Alpert, a Chicago filmmaker whose previous work includes No Time to Be a Child, a three-part PBS series on violence and childhood; Legacy, which documented five years in the life of a family living in Chicago public housing; and A History of God, a two-hour A&E special based on Karen Armstrong's book of the same title, has been editing this film for six months. Now he's ready for some feedback. He'll show a "tight," 70-minute rough cut to the public tonight at the Evanston Public Library; a discussion will follow, along with what he says will be intense note taking on his part. After screening the documentary for many colleagues, Alpert says he's looking forward to a fresh perspective, claiming "the criticism is always more useful than the praise." The film, which contains explicit scenes of childbirth, is aimed at PBS; he hopes it'll air in 2004. Alpert's nonprofit company, the Kindling Group, is now raising money for additional distribution and to start similar doula programs in five other cities. Presented by Reeltime, Mother Maker starts at 7:30 at the library, 1703 Orrington in Evanston. It's free; call 847-866-0312.

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