This pilot of the Wee Wagon, a mobile childcare unit which will provide childcare to the film community on set as well as at festivals, will launch the service which will be available from Moms-in-Film later this year. In addition to providing free childcare in the Wee Wagon from March 13 to 17, Moms-in-Film is presenting a panel on Parenthood and Filmmaking, to address the challenges facing parents of both sexes working in various fields within film.
The Wee Wagon is an advocacy initiative as well as a practical service, in an “industry which is not currently structured to support parents; a reality that disproportionately affects women and accounts for much of the industry’s gender imbalance,” says Mathilde Dratwa, founder of Moms-in-Film. “The lack of provisions for childcare keeps women off set as well as away from festivals, where they miss out on networking opportunities and meetings that could lead to funding, distribution, collaboration, and future projects.”
To efficiently support the parent filmmakers presenting at SXSW, Moms-in-Film is constructing a temporary “Wee Wagon” in a film trailer from Austin-based Film Fleet. Much like the plans for the future Wee Wagon, the unit will be decorated and furnished to meet the needs and wants of young children, and using it to showcase the potential of a mobile unit for childcare. For use on set, the Wee Wagon offers unique benefits including proximity to your children when working long and often inflexible hours, especially for parents who travel out-of-state. Dratwa says, “It’s so exciting to think of a bespoke, imaginative, play-based space created for the children themselves.”
The SXSW “Wee Wagon” will be stationed outside the ZACH theatre and will always be staffed by two early childhood professionals from Collab&Play. The Wee Wagon can accommodate up to 5 children at a time (between the ages of 3 months and 4 years). Chirsty Lamb, director of Strategy & Development for Moms-in-Film, says “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Collab&Play for this initiative. As a new mom living in Los Angeles, I use Collab&Play all the time: it’s a fantastic solution for creative professionals with young children. We are thrilled to bring their concept to SXSW and adapt it for the film industry.”