Nuclear Family

Nuclear Family is a three-part documentary series following filmmaker Ry Russo-Young as she turns the camera on her own past to explore the meaning of family.

2021 | Running Time: 3 Episodes | Rating: TV-MA

In the late 70s/early 80s, when the concept of a LGBTQ+ family was inconceivable to most, Ry and her sister Cade were born to two lesbian mothers through sperm donors. Ry’s idyllic childhood was threatened by an unexpected lawsuit which sent shockwaves through her family’s lives and continues to reverberate today.

The docuseries explores the extraordinary story of a first-generation lesbian family, from its origins in outlaw counterculture, to the mainstream court system’s attack on and ultimate defense of Ry’s and her moms’ rights and existence, ending in a landmark legal decision that would change the way LGBTQ+ families were perceived forever. At its heart, this story of epochal conflict is also a tale about empathy, as Ry investigates the ambitions and desires of her moms, her sperm donor, and all their allies and enemies as she struggles to hear and accept their divergent perspectives. In a world of deeply polarized thinking, the docuseries proposes a way of understanding conflict that resonates with anyone who struggles with issues unresolved within their own families, their own lives, and in our broader world.

Nominated for Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series from the Film Independent Spirit Awards, 2021
Nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary, 2022

“Turbulent and thought-provoking…”

–Peter Debruge, VARIETY

“Only a family would fight this hard to remain one. And only a family could come out the other end of it with such love to show after all that pain.”


“…a therapeutic family excavation that doubles as a gracious act of both forgiveness, and saying I love you.”

–Nick Schager, THE DAILY BEAST



Peabody Award

Nominated for Best Documentary, 2022

Film Independent Spirit Award

Nominated for Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series, 2021

GLAAD Media Award

Nominated for Outstanding Documentary, 2022