SxSW 2021 Interview – TEN LEAVES DILATED director Kate E. Hinshaw

A documentary that uses the make-believe world crafted by Cabbage Patch Kids to examine discourses surrounding childbirth in the American South. Having its World Premiere in the Doc Shorts Competition package, we spoke with Kate E. Hinshaw from TEN LEAVES DIALATED.

How did you first hear about SxSW and wishing to send your project into the festival?

I’ve followed SXSW for years and as a festival that advocates for weird and abstract storytelling, I knew I wanted to submit Ten Leaves Dilated. When accepted, the SXSW team described my film as “delightfully weird,” which was the highest of compliments.

Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

This film started with exploring my own familial folklore. Growing up my parents used to say that when I was born, I was so small that they had to put me in Cabbage Patch Kids clothes. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned the darker, more candid version of this story. 

I became fascinated by the disconnect between these two stories and as someone who grew up with Cabbage Patch kids and has vivid memories of the Cabbage Patch flagship store where these dolls are plucked from cabbages, I wanted to know more about the connection between the stories we tell about childbirth and the experiential truths about birthing in our society. 

The film uses audio interviews of mothers, doulas, and birth professionals alongside a visual exploration of cabbage birthing myths and fairytales throughout history in order to investigate the modern-day cabbage patch fairy tale and its connection to the lack of candid discussion about birthing in our society.

Ten Leaves Dilated was shot on 16mm film and uses a variety of methods. I used a Bolex and Ektachrome film. At times I printed digital footage to film. It includes archival footage, found footage, stop-motion animation, and text. The film has been hand-processed, painted and reticulated using boiling water and washing soda, which gives it a homemade feel.

Who are some of your creative inspirations? Any particular filmmaking talent or movie that inspired you for the short?

Too many to list here, but I’ll just say that seeing Naomi Uman’s films and everything you could do tacitly with celluloid film changed my life. 

Being all virtual this year, what do you hope to get out of the virtual SxSW experience? And where is your project going next?

The best part about SXSW being virtual is it opens it up to audiences outside of Austin. I’m looking forward to sharing this film widely. 

What would you suggest to film festivals as a way to show more short films or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?

Work with local film communities to host screenings. 

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone to get their start as a creator or filmmaker in the industry, what would you suggest?

Anything I suggest will probably sound cliché, but what helped me was to stop worrying about what’s happening in the industry and just creating what made me happy.

Follow the progress at!


This film and many others like it will be showing at the virtual South By Southwest taking place March 16-20th. For more information and to register for the festival, point your browser to!

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