First Day Back
Tally Abecassis was a documentary filmmaker - is a documentary filmmaker - who's trying to get back in the saddle. Six years ago, she took time off to have kids, and what she thought would be a run-of-the-mill maternity leave turned into essentially permanent stay-at-home parenting. In this podcast, she attempts to re-enter the workforce after her long period away, hustling to secure funding for a new film project in an industry where she's out of the loop ('We wrote you off a long time ago,' a former colleague tells her). In the process, she wrestles with her own conflicted feelings about working and parenting, unpicking our in-built prejudices about mothers who 'don't work', and the negotiations and compromises and losses and gains that a return to work will represent.
The tone, like Tally herself, is wry and gentle, and her production skill is evident. Over the course of nine episodes, she assembles a thoughtful, ambiguous picture of her own life, and her very relatable struggle to be everything. Season 1 concluded in late August 2015, so is ripe for wholesale consumption; Season 2 will follow someone else's 'first day back' story.
Gateway episodes: #1 Getting back out there (11 Jan 2015) / #4 Fear and insecurity in Las Vegas (22 Mar 2015) / Special: On Death and Space Clouds (8 May 2016)
The second season of First Day Back, an indie darling in 2015, has been a long time coming. Season 1 followed host Tally Abecassis, a documentary filmmaker, as she made tentative moves back into the workforce after a long maternity hiatus. Gently expressed, but with a dead-eye for revealing detail, the series asked questions about the work of making art, of being married, and of motherhood.
At the conclusion of that series, Tally told us Season 2 would feature someone else's first day back. We weren't expecting what she has now produced, but on reflection, it bears the hallmarks of Season 1: on its surface, mild-mannered and domestic, but containing a muddled darkness at its heart. In this first episode, we are introduced to Lucie, a middle-aged woman who shot and killed her common-law husband in 2010. Lucie has no memory of the shooting and no notion of what might have moved her to commit it. Now, she's getting out of prison, and ready to start her life again - but how can she truly start over when she doesn't remember the event that reset her life? This series is one to watch, like a hawk. New episodes weekly.
From: Independent / Stitcher / The Heard