Jessica Yu’s New Documentary, “Misconception” Puts a Lens on Three Real Life Stories to tackle Global Population By Vivian Meade


Photo: Nathan Golon

Gladys Kalibbala (left) featured in MISCONCEPTION Photo: Nathan Golon

We sat down with Academy Award Winning Director Jessica Yu to talk about her new documentary Misconception, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival for 2014.

Misconception tackles the multifaceted issue of global population by telling the story through three different people on 3 different continents.

The film starts out with Hans Rosling, a health professor, statistician and popular TED talks speaker who breaks down the global population numbers, while acting as the guide throughout the film.  Along with his witty and unique methods of discussing numbers, he also breaks the  misconceptions regarding the fear of over population.

Photo: Nathan Golon

Photo: Nathan Golon

Yu’s film starts out in China and addresses the one-child policy while depicting how it has caused a shortage in eligible single females.

Yu says her Researchers scoured the dating sites and streets of Beijing for young single Chinese Men and found Bao Jianxian,  six months before approaching his fateful 30th birthday as he seeks love and a woman to marry.

Bao is a romantic at heart, but also understands the cultural importance of the male’s responsibility to marry and care for his parents in the near future.

Yu’s second story follows Denise Mountenay, a Canadian, anti-abortion activist, headed to the U.N. for a conference on Population and Development to convince world leaders to lobby against expanding legal abortion laws.  Yu says, “Whether  you agree with her or not,  and if you care about these issues, she’s involved, she’s pushing her opinions relentlessly.”

Yu takes us to East Africa to illustrate the 3rd largest birth rate in the world through the eyes of Journalist, Gladys Kalibbala, who writes a Lost and Found column about the abandoned and lost children of Uganda.  Gladys states in the movie, “Come down to the ground. See the people themselves.”

Misconception is a powerful film that shows us how we’ve  been asking the wrong questions about global population,  and gets us to look at the issues from a different perspective.  Yu does a wonderful job of creating a film that provides hope for our future through the eyes of her subjects,  and her ability to tell a compelling story.

Watch our video interview with Yu below.  Yu also encourages us to continue the conversation about this film at