A Simple Piece of Paper


Year: 2014
Country: USA
Run Time: 57 minutes

In 2011 Illinois passed State House Bill 5428. It allowed Adult Adopted Persons to finally have a copy of their original birth certificates, making Illinois the largest state to reverse sealed record laws. While opponents of the Bill managed to include a “firewall,” letting birth parents opt out of revealing their names, the law opened the door for hundreds of people to access much desired and sometimes very important personal details. This deeply emotional documentary follows over a dozen individuals as they apply to the State of Illinois to discover the truth about their origins. Whether from a desire to know their biological family or the need to know genetic medical history, the film charts this pivotal moment in their lives. We are present when they receive their birth certificates and react to what is revealed. We also share the sometimes sad, sometimes wonderful results of these revelations. Thought-provoking and ultimately joyful, this film demonstrates how A SIMPLE PIECE OF PAPER can forever alter the course of a life. —C.R.

Jean Strauss

Jean Strauss

Jean Strauss

Jean Strauss

Jean Strauss

Director Bio
Jean Strauss was adopted as a baby and grew up in California. She studied at the New York Film Academy. A writer, producer, cinematographer, editor, and director, Strauss is also a legislative activist. She founded the California Adoption Reform Effort. In 2009 the American Adoption Congress named her the recipient of the Emma Vilardi Humanitarian Award for her work in legislation reform and in film.

Select Filmography
"For the Life of Me" (2009)—34th CIFF, A SIMPLE PIECE OF PAPER (2014)

Print Source

Silver Tandem Productions



Community Partner

Adoption Network

Tickets On Sale to the General Public Friday, March 6th >

Tickets On Sale to the General Public Friday, March 6th

CIFF39 tickets will go on sale to the general public Friday, March 6th at 11:00 a.m.

Tickets on Sale to Members Friday, February 27th >

Tickets on Sale to Members Friday, February 27th

CIFF39 tickets go on sale to MEMBERS ONLY February 27th at 11:00 a.m. Join or renew today!

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • foursquare
  • iphone
  • android