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Movies & TV

03rd Feb 2024

Powerful new Netflix documentary about Irish woman travelling to Ukraine to rescue friend

Stephen Porzio

two mothers

The Irish documentary was one of the winners of a Netflix funding competition.

Netflix has just released Two Mothers, a powerful documentary short film about an Irish mother who travelled to war-torn Ukraine in an effort to bring her friend and her family to safety.

The short doc tells the story of Irish woman Cathy Wheatley who, after losing a baby late in pregnancy, turned with her husband Keith to a Ukrainian surrogate named Ivanna Holub.

Ivanna then safely carried the couple’s twins in 2019, during which time the two mothers developed a strong bond.

“When the war broke out, Cathy felt compelled to cross the border into a war zone and carry out the family of the woman who had carried hers,” the plot synopsis from Netflix reads.

“Knowing Ireland only recognised the birth mother in law, Cathy chose to risk bringing Ivanna and her three children to live together in their small cottage in rural Wicklow and forge a life together as a blended family.”

two mothers

Ivanna and Cathy in the Irish Netflix documentary Two Mothers

Made by filmmakers Anna Rodgers and Zlata Filipovic, Two Mothers is an incredibly emotional story about maternal struggles, the impact of war, as well as how friendship can transcend borders.

The film was one of five shorts that received funding to be made from Netflix as part of the streaming service’s Documentary Talent Fund.

Founded to “break down barriers of access for emerging filmmakers”, the second edition of the fund was expanded to include entries from the Republic of Ireland.

Speaking at a screening of Two Mothers alongside the other Documentary Talent Fund shorts at the Stella Cinema in Rathmines this week, Rodgers and Filipovic expressed hope that their 12-minute film could be expanded on in the future.

Stating that hours of footage have been shot, they suggested that “there might be more” on the story in the future, perhaps detailing Cathy and Ivanna’s lives before and after the events of Two Mothers.

Two Mothers is available to watch below on Netflix’s YouTube channel Still Watching, which has 6.3 million subscribers.

Also on the channel are the four other excellent Documentary Talent Fund shorts: Black Stroke, Iranian Yellow Pages, Sperm Donors Wanted and Turn Up the Bass.

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