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Across Generations: A Story of One's Own

Across Generations: Unveiling the Past, Embracing the Present

dateSeptember 21, 2023 timeThursday, 6:30pm–8:30pm EDT location Horace Mann Hall, Cowin Auditorium (Room 147), Teachers College
  • The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities
  • Alliance Program
  • Department of History
  • European Institute
  • Institute of African Studies
  • Knapp Family Foundation
  • Villa Albertine
  • Columbia Maison Française
email address [email protected]
  • Free and open to the public
  • Registration required. See details.
A medium-dark skinned child and a light-skinned child smiling in front of a birthday candle

Documentary film screening followed by a discussion and Q&A with director Amandine Gay and Joyce McMillan, moderated by Shanny Peer.

A Story of One's Own (Une Histoire à soi) (2021) Documentary, 100 min

Film in French with English subtitles.

Their names are Anne-Charlotte, Joohee, Céline, Niyongira, Mathieu. They are between 25 and 52 years old, hailing from Brazil, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, South Korea, and Australia. These five individuals have something in common: they were adopted. Separated from their family and country of origin from childhood, they grew up in French families. Their life stories and home movies tell an intimate, political story about transnational adoption. This archival film approaches transnational adoption from adopted people’s point of view.

Watch the trailer here.


Amandine Gay divides her time between creation and advocacy. Filmmaker-producer (Speak Up, 2017 and A Story of One’s Own, 2021), writer-scholar (A Chocolate Doll, 2021) and afrofeminist activist (founder of Adoptee Awareness Month in the francophone world), she defines herself as a political author working to reclaim the narrative as an act of liberation. In 2022, she moved back to Montreal to fulfill this ambition by creating a Black-owned production company, Caïssa Productions.

Joyce McMillan is a thought leader, advocate, community organizer, educator, and the Founder and Executive Director of Just Making a Change for Families (JMACforFamilies). Her mission is to remove systemic barriers in communities of color by bringing awareness to the racial disparities in systems where people of color are disproportionately affected.

Shanny Peer is Director of the Columbia Maison Française and co-curator of the film festival.

This film is presented as part of the Columbia University Maison Française 2023 Film Festival, Across Generations: Unveiling the Past, Embracing the Present. The festival was curated by Shanny Peer, Fanny Guex, and Ilana Custos-Quatreville. The full festival program can be found HERE.