Visit: and be part of the revolution!


News Update May 2011


I thought I would give an update on what’s been happening with our DOULA! film but also our exciting global birth film project, ONE WORLD BIRTH.


Doula DVD

For the month of May, we’re offering a 33% discount off the price of the DOULA! DVD – so you can buy the DOULA! DVD for just £9.97 or $14.97.

Only available from the DOULA! film website:

MAY OFFER – DOULA! DVD NOW £9.97 / $14.97



Doulas in Switzerland – there’s a screening of the DOULA! film coming soon – The Association Co-nâitre will be hosting a screening at 8pm on June 6th, 2011 In Fonction Cinema in Geneva.

For more info:

Doulas in France – there’s hopefully going to be a screening of the DOULA! film on Friday 3rd June at the Doulas De France Convention – and hopefully (fingers rossed) – I’ll be there too!



One World Birth

As for our One World Birth global film project – we’ve released two trailers and had some amazing feedback.

The trailers feature footage from our interviews with:

Sheila Kitzinger, Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent, Elizabeth Davis, Debra Pascali-Bonaro, Cathy Warwick, Carol Gautshi, Beverley Beech and many more internationally renowned birth experts.

If you haven’t seen the trailers yet – here they are:

We’ll be launching the actual site in a couple of weeks. It’s like a Facebook meets Youtube all about promoting positive birth – and the aim is to build a global community centred around video content who together can inspire, connect and help deliver change to maternity systems around the world!

Our next step is to travel around the world to film what’s happening with birth – to connect all the pieces of the global birth picture to really help deliver change. Our plan over the next few months is to travel to the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, China, Turkey, Italy, France, South Africa, India and more besides – to really make this a global film project.

As this a really ambitious project and to achieve our dreams, we need your support – so to help, it would be great if you visit the website to sign in then we can update you on our plans and you can help be part of this project!



And we’re just set up a Facebook fanpage:

The tricky thing at the moment is that Facebook has blocked all links to the website as for some reason it’s classified as “abusive” (maybe that’s what happens when you try to start a revolution in birth!) – so we’re trying our best to get around this problem.

But in the meantime, it would be fantastic if you could recommend anyone you know to visit the site:



Thanks to everyone who has made the DOULA! film and the ONE WORLD BIRTH fanpages such a brilliant thriving community.

Thank you also for the many hundreds of emails and messages we’ve received over the past few days, weeks and months with messages of support for our films and film projects. Your words really mean the world to me and to Alex, my film-making partner.

DOULA! & ONE WORLD BIRTH film-makers: Alex Wakeford (left) & Toni Harman (right)

Very best wishes and thanks again,


Toni Harman, Producer / Director, Alto Films / /



Launch of global birth film project – ONE WORLD BIRTH

So our first preview trailer for our One World Birth global birth film project has been live for just over a week.

In the trailer, we’ve got many of the world’s most important voices on birth including: Sheila Kitzinger, Ina May Gaskin, Dr Michel Odent, Elizabeth Davis, Debra Pascali-Bonaro (Orgasmic Birth), Beverley Beech (AIMS), Jan Tritten (Midwifery Today), Cathy Warwick (Royal College of Midwives) and more besides.

To view the ONE WORLD BIRTH trailer click on this link:

If you like the trailer, it would be wonderful if you could tell as many people as you can about it and share the link! THANK YOU!!!

The response to the trailer has been amazing. Honestly, the response has taken my breath away. As I write this, we’ve had over 800 Facebook “likes” and over 230 comments posted on the One World Birth website – almost all of these responses have been incredibly passionate and supporting the “revolution!”

The actual One World Birth site will open its doors in a couple of weeks. To give you a little insight, One World Birth is an online “living documentary” / Internet TV channel that will expand to contain hundreds of hours of premium exclusive video content about birth issues filmed around the world. Think “Facebook meets Youtube” all about birth.

A key part of the project is to create a full-length feature-film documentary for worldwide release – which we hope will help propel birth issues into the mainstream, to get people talking, to get things changing!

Another fundamental part of this project is to build a global community of birth professionals and people who care passionately about changing birth practises – so that people can connect, inspire and together can help change the world! We’re nothing if not ambitious and hungry for change!

For the past week, we’ve been working hard on the second video trailer and now it’s just about ready. This tells the story of us the film-makers, about why we are doing this, about who and where we have filmed so far, how the project is going to work and our plans for the future.

So if you have signed in on the website (we promise not to share your email address with anybody else), an email with the link to this second video will be popping through your inbox in the next day or so. Please watch out for it and let me know what you think (it features me trying to “pitch” the project!)

Once the site is live, our plan is to release the trailers publicly – so if you see them on any social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, forums etc ) please LIKE or SHARE or use any other means to let other people know about it!

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback about the whole project and thank you for so many kind words of support for myself and the rest of the ONE WORLD BIRTH team.

One other thing – we’ve also just launched a new ONE WORLD BIRTH Facebook Fan page – so come join us.

I look forward to “connecting” with you on the site, or on the fanpage, twitter or by email: soon.

Toni Harman, Producer / Director / Co-Creator: ONE WORLD BIRTH


Gearing Up For The Launch

As the clock ticks down to the launch of our next BIG film project all about birth – which we will be launching any day now – today we turned our office into a makeshift green screen studio.

Green Screen version of Toni Harman

If you look carefully on the left hand side of the picture, you can see our office workboard – basically we’ve turned one huge wall of our office into a massive white-board. That’s how Alex and I work when we are thrashing out ideas, or working out where, how, who, why and what we are filming. No back of the envelope stuff for us or working neatly on a computer screen. We just write on the walls!

Ooooh. All very exciting. The only hitch was me and my inability to string a sentence together when I’m in front of camera. So lots of takes, lots more retakes, but by the end of today I was just about getting the hang of it. Phew.

Alex has created all the swanky graphics and he’s going to composite together the graphics and the “green-screen” Toni to create an all singing all dancing video trailer. Or so we hope. Luckily the main feature of the trailer isn’t me but the amazing people we have been lucky enough to film:

Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent, Sheila Kitzinger, Elizabeth Davis, Debra Pascali-Bonaro, Jan Tritten (Midwifery Today), Cathy Warwick (Royal College of Midwives), Mary Newburn (NCT), consultant obstetricians, midwives, doulas, parents, academics, scientists and other birth experts to name just a few!!

Director Toni Harman & the amazing Ina May Gaskin

So in just a couple of days, you’ll be able to judge my green screen performance as we launch the trailer to the world.

So hold your breath, the launch is coming….

Then the real hard work begins. Then we’ll need to find bigger walls to write on!


Toni Harman, Producer / Director, Alto Films

Visit our website:

Join our Facebook DOULA! film fanpage:

To contact us, email


New Video – What do people really think about birth?

Yesterday I went out on the street filming interviews with the general public for our upcoming BIG global birth cross-media film project that we’re launching very very soon (we’re going to be officially announcing the launch in the next few days).

I thought it would be interesting to do a straw poll of the general public in my home city of Brighton, on the South coast of England. I wanted to test public opinion – as the straw poll idiom suggests according to Wikipedia, to hold up straw in the air “to find out in what direction the wind blows, in this case, the wind of group opinion.”

For those that don’t know Brighton, it is renowned as being the most liberal city in the UK –  it’s culturally diverse, there’s a high proportion of multi-national students, there’s a big gay and lesbian community, the population is pretty well-educated and I thought, they would be pretty well-informed about birth.

Helped by our new intern Caroline, yesterday I filmed about 50 different “vox-pops”  – short filmed interviews with random people on the street. I interviewed men and women from all ethnic, class and cultural backgrounds – teenagers, students, office-workers, shop-workers, builders, young mums, grandparents, holiday-makers – I wanted this straw poll to be from as diverse a cross-section of society as I could find.

Amongst the questions, I asked everyone to describe their image of birth in five words.

Here’s a short montage of some of the results from the women (and one man!):

To my dismay, almost all of the 50 people we interviewed included the same 3 words “painful”, “bloody” and “scary”. No-one said “beautiful” or “amazing”.

I was really shocked and also, really saddened.

“Painful”, “Bloody”, Scary” – that’s the picture of birth amongst a cross-section of the general public (albeit a small sample group in one medium sized city with a population of 250,000).

I posted a status update on the Facebook fanpage yesterday and within 12 hours, I had 32 comments with lots of lovely people giving their own five words to describe birth. And what a difference.

Here’s the top 15 most used words with how many times those words appeared within this DOULA! film fanpage “straw poll”. At no.1 is “amazing” – and in joint 15th is “painful”.

1. amazing 12

2. empowering 10

3. intense 9

4. beautiful 8

5. transformative 7

6 =. wonderful 6

6=. awesome 6

6=. life-changing 6

6=. powerful 6

6=. miraculous 6

11. loving 5

12. exciting 4

13. spiritual 3

14. natural 2

15=. special 2

15=. hard work 2

15=normal 2

15= incredible 2

15= rewarding 2

15=life-altering 2

15=challenging 2

15=focused 2

15=painful 2

The following words / phrases have just one vote:

beginning, intriguing, strength, capable, glorious, shocking, addictive, joyous, awe-inspiring, incomparable, fun, intimate, interesting, surreal, divine, spectacular, ecstatic, victorious, strong, unique, freeing, calm, euphoria, magical, privileged, darkly raw, best experience, primal, transcending, passionate, wish I’d had a doula!, best thing ever, terrifying, horrendous, humilating, degrading, difficult

Very interesting straw polls! Thanks to everyone who commented on the DOULA! film Facebook fanpage.

What would you change about birth?

As we get ready to launch our new very exciting global film project (coming very very soon!), we’re thinking about if the project should / could have a campaigning angle and if so, what target or goal the global campaign should have.

I’ve just created a simple poll (see below) and it would be great if you took a couple of seconds to let me know what you think. 

And would love to hear your opinions in the “Other” box – or post them on the Facebook fanpage.

Thank you!

Toni Harman, Producer, DOULA! The Ultimate Birth Companion

To contact me, please email

Exclusive Preview Video of Sheila Kitzinger

If you’ve been following our progress over the past few months, you’ll know that we’re  in the process of shooting our next film project which will be a global look at birth today – the title of this project will be announced in the next few days – and we’ll also be announcing the website and facebook fanpage!!!

For this project, we’ve already filmed some fantastic interviews at the Midwifery Today Conference in Strasbourg in September 2010 with Ina May Gaskin, Dr Michel Odent, Elizabeth Davis, Debra Pascali-Bonaro (film-maker of Orgasmic Birth), Jan Tritten (mother of Midwifery Today) and others.

Then earlier this month we filmed some of the world’s birth experts who live in the UK, amongst them, the amazing Sheila Kitzinger (MBE) – the author of many books on the politics of childbirth.

And here’s our first exclusive preview clip of Sheila talking about the future of birth – more clips coming very soon!

Sheila invited us to film at her amazing home that once belonged to a former Queen of England; Anne of Cleves who became the 4th wife of King Henry VIII in 1540 .

Anne of Cleves was given the house by King Henry VIII as part of the divorce settlement, although clever Anne never consummated their marriage and therefore wasn’t infected with King Henry’s syphilis (and she wasn’t beheaded!).

It seemed somehow really fitting that this house is now owned by Sheila Kitzinger, one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She is so articulate, so charismatic and so passionate about birth that I was completely blown away by her interview.

From where we  filmed Sheila Kitzinger, you can see the Tudor roses and King Henry’s crown carved into her fantastic stone fireplace.

Sheila Kitzinger interviewed
for our next film project

We’re going to be releasing the trailers and announcing the website and a new Facebook fanpage any day now – so if you haven’t already done so, subscribe to this blog or join our Doula! film Facebook fanpage to be the first to find out what’s happening!

Thanks for reading this blog and hopefully you’ll support this next project.

Toni Harman, Producer, Alto Films

To contact us: please email

What I’ve Learned & Why I Need To Make A Film About It!

So things are hotting up here at DOULA! film towers. For the past few months, we’ve been busy researching our next project, a feature length documentary that is a global look at birth today intended for worldwide theatrical release.

Before this research, I had no idea how diverse the “birth field” actually is, or the depth of people’s passions or the extent to which opinions about birth are so polarized.

For this project, (which up to now is being funded entirely by us), we’ve already filmed preliminary interviews with the legendary Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent, Elizabeth Davis, Debra Pascali-Bonaro etc (We’ll soon be releasing clips of these interviews!!!)

Film-maker Toni Harman & the amazing Ina May Gaskin

Now we’ve got 10 days dashing  around England  filming interviews with the UK’s most amazing minds and most important voices on birth. Amongst them we’re filming Consultant Obstetricians, leading figures from the Royal College of Midwives, National Childbirth Trust, as well as birth activists, authors, academics, midwives, doulas, parents, lay midwives plus midwifery & medical students.

What I’ve learned through my research has shocked me to the core. And that’s what this film needs to be about. To raise awareness that the way we are giving birth and nurturing our newborns is not just affecting the odd expectant parent now, it’s affecting the whole of society, even the whole of humanity and our collective future. Now I understand what’s truly at stake.

I know the three of us involved in this project are only just one little tiny cog in a big world. But using the power of film and with the support of you reading this blog and everyone else who passionately believes in the beauty of birth, we could be a little cog that  helps make a big difference. It’s very humbling, inspiring and empowering to know if we do this right, we could help change the world. We could help make birth better and safer. The weight of responsibility is on all of ours shoulders to get this absolutely right.

Next stops for filming are Spain, America, Canada, Australia, Brazil and other places around the world to make this a global look at birth today.

Once we’ve finished next week’s filming we’re going to announce the project’s name, launch the website and the global campaign. Then the hard work really begins. Then we really need you to help us. For together we are stronger.

Thanks for your support and I hope we’ll meet you somewhere on our journey!


Toni Harman, Film-maker, Alto Films


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Doula DVD

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