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235: Women in Film: Beth Aala and Made In Boise


Hi, I’m Alex!

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Today’s show highlights a fascinating PBS documentary, which premieres just a few days from now. It’s made by a dear friend of mine and covers an intriguing phenomenon taking place in Boise, Idaho.

Beth Aala is a three-time Emmy Award-winning producer and Peabody Award winner for her documentary work at HBO. Her most recent documentary is Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman, which she co-directed and produced. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017. Beth is here to discuss her new documentary that will air on PBS on October 28, so check your local listings for more information. The film is called Made In Boise, and it highlights the incredible, booming surrogacy industry that has emerged in Boise, Idaho. Beth shares her approach to the film, the relationships she witnesses, the politics of surrogacy, and the number of strong feelings and opinions brought on by this topic. I believe it’s important for women to see and hear stories about women that are made by women. Beth has built her successful career around the creation of these stories.

Music Credit: My good friend Lindsay Katt –

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Show Highlights:

  • The surprising topic of Made In Boise: the booming surrogacy program
  • How Beth stumbled upon this story
  • Why Boise has become a hotbed for the surrogacy community
  • How overseas surrogacy options have become exploitative and very limited
  • How surrogates in Boise get paid $23K and up for their services 
  • Why the idea of paid surrogacy makes people uncomfortable
  • The surprising challenges Beth faced in making the film
  • How gay rights factored into the story
  • Why commercial surrogacy is still illegal in MI and NY—and how people are working to change the laws
  • How Beth deals with others’ biases in telling the story of surrogacy
  • How the film brings up personal feelings and opinions
  • What might happen next with the surrogacy industry in Boise
  • How race factors into the decision to use a surrogate or become a surrogate
  • How families have bonded over the surrogacy arrangement
  • Why Boise has become a booming community of immigrants from all over the world
  • What’s next in promoting the film
  • Beth’s upcoming projects, one of which is a film about a young Olympic hopeful skateboarder in CA