OWN launches documentary film club in May

This May, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada) presents the Canadian premiere of the highly anticipated Chaz Bono documentary Becoming Chaz on May 15. Becoming Chaz will be the first film to air as part of the OWN Documentary Film Club, which was created to spotlight cinematic documentaries that inspire, entertain and engage audiences.

Becoming Chaz made its world premiere to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival 2011 and will premiere on OWN Sunday, May 15 at 7 p.m. The film follows Chaz Bono’s emotional and physical transition from a woman to a man, a journey of identity and self-discovery. Growing up, Chastity was a shy person who never felt comfortable in the spotlight as the only child of Sonny & Cher. She also felt uncomfortable as a woman and struggled with living inside a body that she knew wasn’t truly hers. Deciding there was no choice but to undergo sex reassignment surgery, Chaz Bono documented his deeply personal transformation so that others can learn from his experience.

Directed and produced by veteran Sundance filmmakers Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, who along with their production company World of Wonder, have been the creative forces behind a long history of powerful, groundbreaking and innovative documentaries and features. Immediately following Becoming Chaz at 9 p.m. ET, Rosie O’Donnell will host a one-hour special, where she talks with Chaz, his girlfriend Jennifer Elia, the filmmakers and other transgender people and their families about this life changing experience.

OWN will also premiere Extraordinary Moms, executive produced by Julia Roberts, No Woman, No Cry, from Christy Turlington Burns and The Truth of My Sex on Sunday nights in May at 7 p.m. ET.

Executive produced by Julia Roberts, Extraordinary Moms, explores the power of mothers, featuring courageous, brilliant and awe-inspiring women who share a powerful connection: the love they have for their children combined with a fierce desire to protect the future of all children. These women include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell and ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, along with inspirational everyday moms, have candid conversations about how to raise good kids, how to balance work and family and the power women possess to change the world for the better. Their stories prove that a mother’s strength can fight armies, outwit politicians, demand that corporations change their priorities and work to preserve the ecological balance of the world. Extraordinary Moms, premieres on Sunday, May 8 at 7 p.m. ET and is produced by Red Om Films and Creative Visions Productions, with executive producers Kathy Eldon, Lisa Gillan and Philip Rose and producers Jacoba Atlas and Kyra Thompson.

In her directorial debut, Christy Turlington Burns’ No Woman, No Cry is a gripping documentary that tells the personal stories of pregnant women and their caregivers in four countries as they try to avoid becoming maternal mortality statistics. Turlington puts audiences in the shoes of a young Maasai mother who has gone into labour and must walk five miles to the nearest clinic, a pregnant woman in the slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh too ashamed to seek care, a pregnant obstetrician helping women who have no choice but to undergo illegal and dangerous abortions in Guatemala, and a midwife in central Florida who serves pregnant women who are denied prenatal care because they are uninsured. This film is from Turly Pictures and premieres Sunday, May 22 at 7 p.m. ET.

Through emotional and sometimes shocking personal stories, The Truth of My Sex looks at the condition where babies are born with genitalia that are neither exclusively male or female. Through their stories the film looks at how the condition presents itself, the prescribed medical treatment and the stigma of being born ‘intersex.’ This compelling documentary premieres Sunday, May 29 at 7 p.m. ET.

On March 1, 2011, OWN launched in over six million Canadian homes on what was previously the VIVA channel.

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