Sister: A Documentary About The Global Crisis Of Maternal Mortality

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The documentary Sister, directed by Brenda Davis, gives an inside view into the complications of pregnancy and childbirth women in Ethiopia, Cambodia and Haiti face everyday.

The film tells the stories of healthcare providers who work tirelessly to save lives, deliver babies, and provide health education in their communities, under the most difficult of circumstances.

Their stories reveal the brutal reality that there is a crisis of maternal and newborn mortality in these developing countries.

“An innocent mother, because of her pregnancy, is dying from lack of appropriate care in the right time in the right place with the right skill. That is what is actually happening in the developing world.” – Ethiopian Health Officer, Goitom Berhane

In Ethiopia, 1 in 27 women die from childbirth-related causes. In Cambodia, 1 in 48 women die from childbirth-related causes. In Haiti, 1 in 44 women die from childbirth-related causes. To put it in perspective, in the U.S., 1 in 4,800 women die from childbirth-related causes.

“The issue of maternal and newborn health is, at its roots, an issue of inequality – unequal access to not only medical resources, but also social, economic and political resources,” Brenda says in her director’s statement. Sister serves as a reminder that our collective action is needed to bring more awareness to this global issue.

The film is now available for download at iTunes movies. To learn more about how you can get involved, click here.

About The Filmmakers



Brenda is a Canadian citizen who grew up in Toronto and is a U.S. permanent resident currently living in New York City. Brenda has over 20 years experience in various aspects of filmmaking. She has worked as a script supervisor, a script consultant, and extensively as a researcher. She is a member of the researchers organization FOCAL International.

Brenda has made five short films for NGOs shot as a one-person crew. These projects are the foundation of Brenda’s filmmaking style: vérité documentary rooted in social activism. SISTER is her first feature documentary.

Read more about Brenda’s inspiration for the film.


Swati Guild is a filmmaker and artist with a global perspective. Her projects span numerous media including documentary films, experimental video and street photography. Since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005, her documentary work has been broadcast internationally on Al Jazeera and Record TV, featured in film festivals in North America, Europe and Africa and used by nonprofits and community groups around the world.


New York based editor Alison Shurman has been editing documentary films for the last five years. She broke onto the scene in 2008 as Editor of the critically acclaimed, Tribeca Film Festival favorite RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, about the founder of the NYC Marathon. The film was rated one of the top five sports movies of all time by Runner’s World Magazine, and recently aired on WNET Channel 13. She was the Additional Editor of the Emmy-nominated documentary PRESSURE COOKER. Ms. Shurman studied filmmaking and editing at The New York Film Academy and The Edit Center in New York City.