Last night, CAA played host to an intimate crowd that ran the gamut from political activists to breast cancer survivors, from doctors to filmmakers, in honor of Nina Montee Karp and Joyce Ostin's film Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness and Healing. Photographers made their way through the group while everyone enjoyed a round table of crudités and an open bar. When the doors closed, the pre-film speeches began and with them a whole host of ohhs, ahhs, and melancholy shakes of the audience's heads. Perhaps Ostin, a co-producer of the film, set the tone best when she said in her speech that as a two-time breast cancer survivor, she feels she owes her three daughters a cure.
And then the special 50-minute preview of the documentary began. First Melissa Etheridge, then a string of widely recognizable faces and their husbands very candidly discussed their experiences with breast cancer. From doctors to therapists (including Deepak Chopra in bedazzled spectacles) and from celebrities to out-of-the-spotlight survivors, the film presents a host of charming interviewees who all echoed the feeling of accomplishment that Olivia Newton John articulated best, saying, "once I got through it, it was surprisingly satisfying because I did it; I actually got through it." Between inspirational stories, some very medicinal language was thrown around; and by medicinal, think "breast tissue," "mastectomy," and anything else that makes grown men revert back to little boys in sex-ed watching the "girlie" video.
Everyone in attendance was thoroughly riveted and for good reason - the filmmakers (and panelists) had accomplished a great feat in bringing to light an issue at the forefront of women's most vexing medical hardships. The film is, at its base, a how-to on surviving breast cancer, but beyond that, it is filled with brave women who understood that by sharing their stories, they help others affected by breast cancer.