It is supposed to be the happiest day of a woman’s life. In Slovakian maternity wards, however, the joy of motherhood can quickly turn into a nightmare. In their isolation, women face strict routines, loneliness and different forms of violence.
The documentary 'Before I Met You' provides an intimate look at what goes on behind the closed doors of delivery rooms, where nobody but mothers-to-be are allowed to enter.
Here the miracle of birth is nothing more than a routine chore and everyone, including midwives and doctors, must submit to absurd rules made decades ago. Instead of trusting their intuition during the most natural process of human life, mothers must obey the medical staff and follow the out-of-date procedures with no regard to their own feelings.
The voices of women who dare to speak up complement the film’s images captured during delivery in a public hospital. Situational interviews with staff members uncover the dark side of the healthcare system that prefers routine and medication to humanity.
What does it feel like to bring a new life into the world under these conditions? Before I Met You will answer this question.
Born in 1984 in Prešov, Slovakia. Zuzana graduated in journalism at the Commenius University in Bratislava. As an independent journalist and global education consultant she has cooperated with media, cultural platforms and non-governmental organizations all over the world. Joining the international multimedia project East4South ran by Deutsche Welle in 2012 she discovered her passion for moving pictures and few years later applied for the ZeLiG School for Documentary, Television and New Media in Bolzano, Italy, where she graduated in directing.
Selina was born in 1981 in Kirchheimbolanden, Germany. She graduated in Social Science and Asian and African Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin. During her studies and travels in Asia she got interested in photography and documentary filming. In 2009 she joined the camera class of the self-organized school Filmarche Berlin, where she realised several films mainly as a cinematographer but also as a director. Besides that she worked as a camera and light assistant. In 2016, Selina graduated in cinematography at the Zelig School for Documentary, Film and New Media in Bolzano, Italy.
Morgana was born in 1993 in Bolzano, Italy, and graduated in languages from the local university Liceo Classico Linguistico "Giosuè Carducci" . From 2010 to 2014 she attended the cinema workshop Effetto Notte. Together with the members of the workshop she realised many different short films, worked as a script supervisor and sound recordist on the local independent film called Strings. Since 2014 she studied at the ZeLIG School for Documentary, Television and New Media in Bolzano and became specialised in editing.
Denisa (1994, Slovakia) is a sound designer for film and media. She graduated in 2016 at Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia where she has taken part as boom operator, sound editor and sound designer in many audiovisual projects. From all the different genres and forms it is the documentary filmmaking that charmed her the most. Besides being involved in the sound recording and post-production she also participates as a music composer. Since 2016 she has been continuing her master studies in music design at the University of the Arts in Utrecht, the Netherlands.
Born in 1994 in Slovakia, Samuel graduated at the French bilingual gymnasium in Trenčín. During his studies he became increasingly interested in sound because of his passion for music. Since 2013 he has been studying sound at the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. His main occupation is sound designer, sound recordist and soundtrack artist. He participated in various short films, some of which were projected on festivals in Finland, Romania and Poland. With his electronic music project 'Bulp' Samuel received a prestigious award from the Slovak national radio: the Newcomer of the Year 2015.
Silvano Gazziero is an audio, video and multimedia application expert, and has been with ZeLIG since 1998. He is involved in the management of technical resources and technical aspects of production and didactic activities. Since 2010 he is the technical tutor of ZeLIG’s three year program.
Audiovisual technician, since 1995 he has overseen ZeLIG’s technical resources and supervised the technical aspects of school's productions.
She has been in charge of various administrative, financial and business aspects since the early years of ZeLig's formation. She is also involved in the executive production of students’ thesis films, as well as many other projects for ZeLIG, including ESoDoc – European Social Documentary.
Tutor at ZeLIG’s three-year program since 2010. He has worked in both documentary and feature film productions and has collaborated intensely with director Pietro Marcello. He engineered the live sound for the film “La Bocca del Lupo”; was assistant director for “'Il Silenzio di Pelesjan”; and was in charge of the organisation of “'Bella e Perduta” – all award-winning films at top international festivals, including Venice, Berlin, Toronto and Torino. He spent many years organizing independent film series. He holds a B.A. in Anthropology of Development and graduated from ZeLIG in 2007.
Heidi Gronauer is the director of ZeLIG since 1990 and she is responsible for the development of various documentary related projects and productions the school realizes. Since 2004 she is Head of the Project ESoDoc – European Social Documentary. She has worked in Berlin as a journalist and cultural manager in film and theatre before embarking on projects in Italy, collaborating on programming and international relations of the Filmfestival Trento Cinema International Encounters with Music for Cinema, as well as organising cultural exchanges between Germany and Italy, like Adventure in Europe–City of Berlin, Pirati Teatrali and school theatre series in German and English language Teatrando ... in lingua straniera.
Lorenzo Paccagnella is a co-founder of ZeLIG, member of the cooperative’s Board of Directors and coordinator of ZeLIG’s activities. He worked as a graphic designer and photographer in the late 1970s. In the early 1980s he co-founded the production company Prisma where he held different positions including director of photography, film editor, director and producer. He has made more than a hundred commercial, institutional and documentary films, many of which have been shown at film festivals and broadcasted. He also has conceived and produced several multimedia projects and at ZeLIG he works as a coordinator.
Magdaléna Majerčíková, Mirka Vicenová, Milada Halová,
Katarína Hlatká, Zuzana Límováand with
Martin Holan, Anna Hrabošová, Natália Martiniaková,
Martin Gábor, Iveta Ugroczká, Michaela Morgensternovádirector