The Birth House optioned for TV.

the Knopf Canada cover of The Birth House by the fabulous Kelly Hill

I’ve been dying to make this announcement for awhile now, and it looks like today’s the day. The news first went out this morning via Playback Online, (“Canada’s production, broadcasting and interactive media destination”) and this afternoon on TV-Eh? but for those not normally in the TV/Film news stream, (myself included) I’m posting the entire press release below.


Sherry White, Kerri MacDonald and Omnifilm Entertainment adapting Ami McKay’s, THE BIRTH HOUSE.

Vancouver, BC, Friday May 24th 2019

Omnifilm Entertainment has secured the rights to the #1 Canadian and international bestseller, THE BIRTH HOUSE (Penguin Random House Canada)—authored by Ami McKay and inspired by the real-life Scots Bay midwife heroine, Esther Rebecca Steele. Creative team Sherry White (Maudie, Little Dog, Ten Days in the Valley, Frontier) and Kerri MacDonald (Frontier, Little Dog, Republic of Doyle) are on board to develop the television series adaptation.

An arresting portrait of the struggles that women have faced for control of their own bodies, THE BIRTH HOUSE is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter in five generations of Rares. As apprentice to the outspoken Acadian midwife Miss Babineau, Dora learns to assist the women of a rural Nova Scotia community through infertility, difficult labours, breech births, unwanted pregnancies, and unfulfilling sex lives. During the turbulent World War I era, uncertainty and upheaval accompany the arrival of a brash new medical doctor and his promises of progress and fast, painless childbirth. In a clash between tradition and science, Dora finds herself fighting to protect the rights of women as well as the wisdom of the old ways that have been entrusted to her. Filled with compelling historic events and surprising detail— childbirth in the aftermath of the Halifax Explosion; unconventional relief efforts during the Spanish Flu epidemic in Boston; shared activism between the women’s suffrage movements in Canada, the US and the UK—THE BIRTH HOUSE is an unforgettable tale of women banding together to defend their traditions and create change in a world dominated by the politics of men.

“From the beginning of Ami McKay’s debut novel, THE BIRTH HOUSE, we know we’re in for a bit of magic…. THE BIRTH HOUSE is compelling and lively, beautifully conjuring a close-knit community and reminding us, as Dora notes, that the miracle happens not in birth but in the love that follows.” —The Globe and Mail

“Modern medicine clashes with folk remedies in THE BIRTH HOUSE, McKay’s stirring saga of midwifery in Nova Scotia … This is an impressive novel, laced with quirky research and rippling with muscular poetry.” —The Observer (UK)

Ami McKay is the author of three internationally bestselling novels—THE BIRTH HOUSE, The Virgin Cure and The Witches of New York, as well as the recent yuletide novella, Half Spent Was the Night. She began her writing career as a freelance journalist, writing and producing radio documentaries for programs such as CBC Radio’s Maritime Magazine, This Morning, OutFront, and The Sunday Edition, as well as NPR’s Soundprint in the United States.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with Omnifilm and the brilliantly talented writing team of Sherry White and Kerri MacDonald. Their vision for this adaptation is bold and fresh, and it captivated me from the start,” said McKay. “I can’t wait to see them bring the characters and stories of THE BIRTH HOUSE to this vibrant medium and share it with a wider audience. I’m honoured and humbled to have this project come about in a time where we’re seeing women’s voices rise around the world—in art, in media, in politics, in protest, in solidarity and in hope.”

“Ami McKay’s writing is nothing short of remarkable. I am so excited to be part of this extraordinary project that celebrates women and their power to change the world around them—a power that is forever underestimated,” said MacDonald. Omnifilm partner and Executive Producer Brian Hamilton adds, “This project couldn’t be more timely. Audiences are hungry for stories which connect the recent past to the issues of today in such an emotionally powerful way. THE BIRTH HOUSE resonates with women far and wide who are fighting for equal rights to be themselves and control their destinies, just as Dora did. Omnifilm is honoured to be working with Ami, Sherry and Kerri to tell the tale of Dora Rare.”

This project is being pitched to potential buyers in the coming weeks. Read the origin story of THE BIRTH HOUSE, which started out as a CBC Radio Documentary, here.

About Omnifilm Entertainment Ltd.

Omnifilm Entertainment recently completed The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, a spin-off of the hit ITV period mystery series, which can be found on BritBox, ITV, Citytv and coming soon to Netflix. Additionally, in the live-action kids space, the company completed Season 2 of Mech-X4 for Disney XD, the Disney Channel Original Movie Kim Possible, the Disney Channel series Fast Layne, and is currently in post on the Disney Channel series Gabby Duran & the Unsittables.

Omnifilm’s award-winning scripted series include: Arctic Air which garnered the highest premiere for a CBC 1-hour drama in over a decade; Primeval: New World (CTV/Space, SyFy Channel, ProSieben, and UKTV); Defying Gravity (ABC, CTV-Space, ProSieben, and BBC); Dragon Boys (CBC); and long-running dramedy Robson Arms (CTV). One of Omnifilm’s earliest dramas, the Emmy-nominated The Odyssey, featured a young Ryan Reynolds in one of his first acting roles. Omnifilm’s teen drama Edgemont, discovered both Kristin Kreuk (Burden of Truth, Smallville) and Grace Park (A Million Little Things, Hawaii 5-0).

Based in Vancouver, Omnifilm is a vertically-integrated content company handling development, production and post-production, delivery, and distribution of our brands on both traditional television and digital/VOD platforms.

Online Links for Background and Social Media:

The Birth House : a novel
Ami McKay on FaceBook

Ami McKay on Twitter

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