Here’s an appropriate documentary in development to share on Labor Day: Izzy Chan’s The Big Flip is an exploration of a major gender switch increasing in the American family, where women are more and more becoming the breadwinners while men are more and more becoming stay-at-home dads. The film successfully over-reached its Kickstarter goal last Thursday, so now we can be sure that it’ll be completed and reach us at some point (estimated debut: Fall 2014).
It’s not surprising that The Big Flip has so much crowd support. It seems like the kind of doc in which tons of people will be interested in seeing it solely for the fact that it’s about identifiable characters. I would bet a lot of the pledgers and a lot of the eventual audience overall will be people and/or couples who have a similar family situation of the wife/mother earning the income outside of the home and the husband/father taking care of the house and kids — and maybe earning some income from home. It will especially be meaningful to those couples who may feel strange for their dynamic, in that they’ll be able to see many others like them and feel normal.
But while docs like this have an appeal to a certain audience, they still should be something more than just a display of subjects who fit the theme. And The Big Flip indeed promises to be more than just a camera following around sample studies, claiming to be “a research project” at its core, something we’ll learn from. Yet it also aims to be entertaining at the same time. And maybe help to make a difference? Along the idea of making couples feel more normal, there’s a statistic on the film’s Kickstarter page about how divorces are 40% more likely when the woman is the breadwinner, and the filmmakers want to change that.
Sounds like a big task and goal, but if docs can have an effect on how we look at food, fracking, the judicial system and many other subjects focused on in powerful films, why not how we look at marriage and family? There might be a difference between seeing an impact on audience awareness and attitudes towards something more outside our ideas of social normalcy. Even marriage equality is of the other for many viewers, and therefore easier to consider than something that’s so reflexively personal, so relatable. I’m anxious to see how the result, but even if it’s not something that will change the world, I’ll still have subjective interest in the way I did docs like Babies and The Other F Word.
Along with the doc, the filmmakers are working on a companion book of photos and the latest research. There will be a limited pressing of hardcover copies and then a free digital download version.