Documentary filmmaker Rama Rau travels from the slums of India to Vancouver Island to find out what lengths a mother will go to for her children.
After five years of research, production and soul-searching, I finally completed my documentary film, The Market. The subject matter-the underground trade in human kidneys in India-is as sensitive as it is complicated. My goal was to find two women-a seller and a potential buyer-who would be willing to share their stories about their struggle for survival. I eventually found them and set out to capture on film how their decisions would affect each other. What I didn't expect was how it would change me.
As a documentarian, you focus on the story, the people and the conflict. Regardless of whether you're a man or a woman, you're an observer. That said, I feel that women view the world through a different lens based on their own unique experiences-motherhood being one of them. My film is about mothers who are forced to make difficult moral and physical decisions due to social circumstances or health. As a mother, I found myself questioning just how far I would go to help my children and what price I would be prepared to pay.
But first things first: Twelve years ago, when I was still living in India, I had three maids, all of whom had telltale gashes across their abdomens. When they casually told me that they had sold their kidneys, I didn't think much of it. Back then, I didn't see it as a symptom of a larger evil, but now I can't believe that we live in a world where buying a body part from someone who is less fortunate is acceptable.
When I think of these women who cared for me-and the fact that I didn't help them-I feel guilty. When people ask me what motivated me to make this film, the answer is simple: I did it for them.
Find out more about the growing organ trade on the next page...