The film that follows four infants from around the world from birth until their first steps, Babies, has technically violated child labor laws. California law requires certain things such as infants need a doctor’s note and legal permits before they can be stars. They’re only allowed on camera for 20 minutes a day. They must be accompanied by both a nurse and studio teacher — both paid for by the producers. The babies also need to be at least 15 days old. California really protects the kids!
The documentary seemed to be a hit with audiences who helped it make the top ten this week in the box office bringing in over 1.5 million in its opening weekend. People seem to enjoy watching the different experiences the children from Namibia, Mongolia, Tokyo and San Francisco go through as a little baby. French director Thomas Balmes said he wanted to show the universality of parental love and children’s development, despite geographical and cultural differences.
It was recently discovered that while filming one of the babies, Hattie from San Franciso, the children’s laws apply but were not provided through the documentary. According to James Schamus, CEO of “Babies” distributor Focus Features, no laws here violated during the filming of Babies. He said:
“Although Focus was not involved in the actual filming of Babies, we have spoken at length with the filmmakers and with Hattie’s family, as well as with labor law experts, and we can state categorically the filmmakers more than adhered to both the letter and spirit of the law”
Some people are up in arms and debating a lawsuit. But does this law apply to documentaries? And how about the babies in other countries that aren’t protected by any laws, is this okay? Until someone complains and a full investigation is put into place, no one knows if the makers of Babies were breaking any laws. Audiences don’t seem to mind, do you?
Have you seen the documentary? What do you think, were the children’s rights violated?