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Big Belli Brings Groundbreaking Pregnancy Documentary, 40 Weeks to Life

New film partners with March of Dimes and illuminates pregnancy journey with glimpse into the lives of families who share their pregnancy milestones and important health information

New York, New York — Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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When expecting their first child, Director Christopher Henze and his wife couldn’t find a film addressing the entire process of pregnancy in one place. This discovery was both surprising and disappointing in the light of the nearly 4 million births American women experience each year. But it also presented a great opportunity to fill this huge void in the market. As Henze recalls: “I felt since this is such a profound change in a couple’s life, there should be a movie about it – so I decided to make one.”

And the journey of 40 Weeks began. Big Belli’s mission is to empower, educate and create a sense of community amongst expectant moms to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. When approached to partner with Big Belli, the March of Dimes saw an opportunity to bring its own mission to help moms have healthy full-term pregnancies to even more women.

By being part of the film and its ancillary projects, March of Dimes can support providing moms-to-be and their families with educational resources in an easily digestible, visual format while making sure that the medical information is accurate and vetted.

For more than 75 years, the March of Dimes has been a trusted organization at the forefront of saving babies. Founded in 1938 by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was originally intended to combat polio. After funding the development of the polio vaccines, the March of Dimes turned its focus to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects.

Its mission to help moms have full-term pregnancies and research problems that threaten a baby’s health has manifested itself in quite a few programs over the years. The March of Dimes led efforts to get women immunized against rubella (German measles), once a cause of birth defects, after the development of that vaccine. It supported research that identified fetal alcohol syndrome. For 20 years, It has educated women about the importance of a folic acid multivitamin and spearheaded a campaign to expand and standardize newborn screening for all babies in every state of the U.S. Recently, has rasied awareness of epidemics of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Its annual March for Babies, which takes place every spring, raises funds to support this work. This event, the oldest national charitable walking event, is held in more than 700 communities across the nation with about a million participants.

40 Weeks is made for both moms and dads — presenting a beautiful palette of families’ experiences on their journey into parenthood. In the film, universal milestones of pregnancy are presented hand-in-hand with the personal experiences of the film’s generous and amazing expectant couples. Their diverse backgrounds will resonate with audiences, reassuring a mom-to-be she is part of a community larger than herself and can turn to them for support.

Working closely with expert partners such as the March of Dimes, and employing a multi-platform strategy, 40 Weeks is engineered to provide a world of information to expectant moms and their families.

The talented and respected professionals score, edit and craft the movie in an intimate and personal manner. Among them are Executive Producer Kurt Engfehr (“Bowling for Columbine”, “Fahrenheit 9/11”, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”), Casting Director Lisa Singer (“The Bachelorette”, “Queer Eye”), and Editor April Merl (“2012: A Time for change,” “The Yes Men Fix the World”) join Henze in telling this story.

The film’s November premiere will be preceded by a series of topic-specific web videos to introduce the film’s families and provide a sneak-peek into the film itself. The March of Dimes will be involved with these videos to continue its great work of educating women to go the full 40 weeks for the healthiest pregnancy and baby possible.

40 Weeks invites audiences to sign up to be in the know about premiers and opportunities to meet the families featured in the film. To learn more and watch the videos, please visit www.40weeksthemovie.com.

About the March of Dimes
The March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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