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Making The Film

Sadobabies: Runaways in San Francisco

Film by Nancy Kalow
Produced by Nancy Kalow, May Petersen
Cinematographer: Nancy Kalow
Sound: Nancy Kalow
Editing: Nancy Kalow
Copyright: 1988 Nancy Kalow
30 minutes, Color
Original format: 8mm: Hi8 Video, 1988
Distributor: Nancy Kalow
More Film Facts
Home streaming only. For other permissions apply to Nancy Kalow or to the distributor.


Preview one minute trailer - Comment on film


Sadobabies shows the lives and orally transmitted folk culture of a group of homeless teens in San Francisco. Aged 14 to 17, they formed a supportive community on the streets after running away from physical and sexual abuse at home. "Sadobabies" captures the narratives, songs, and appearance of this cohesive group. Interviews, observational footage, and scenes in the vacant Polytech High School and other gathering places in the city were shot by Nancy Kalow using an 8mm camcorder over a two year period, 1986 to 1988. The documentary also shows the "sadobaby" dolls crafted by the teens. The runaways' abuse of their lookalike dolls mirrors the way they were treated by their parents.

This documentary defines the subculture of streetlife for young runaways -- punks, skinheads and hippies -- and shows how these children in most cases have no homes to return to except those of physical and sexual abuse. "Sadobabies" reveals that runaways find life on the street safer than at home and embrace their alienation with defiance toward society, which has abandoned them. It is a moving, touching and shocking real-life drama played out in every major city.
--- Hatcher Hurd on the 1989 Atlanta Film and Video Festival

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