Park City Film is showing a special screening of the Utah documentary “However Long” on Thursday.
The film’s director Jenny MacKenzie says the documentary is about a support group for women with stage four breast cancer. The Huntsman Cancer Center group is led by a social worker and an oncologist.
“So, it’s really, I think, a film about facing adversity and how you live with an incurable disease,” MacKenzie said. It becomes a circle of truth for these women really and their experience and their truth is tender and funny and sad and incredibly honest. It's often hard to be honest about end of life issues because we are sometimes protecting our loved ones. It's something that's going to happen for all of us at some point in our lives. So, the life lessons that I think these women bring forward in their journey are quite transformative for the audience.”
The film came to be when MacKenzie’s friend was diagnosed with stage four cancer.
“She told me about this group,” MacKenzie continued. “It was really a unique experience for her despite having a very supportive loving family. I started asking her more about it and she introduced me to the social worker and the oncologist and with the women's permission we started filming the support group.”
MacKenzie says telling the story was difficult but important.
“Everyone thinks it's fantastic and easy to tell your story but actually when cameras are there and they're in your lives and especially when they're in your lives during a very vulnerable time it can prove to be very challenging,” MacKenzie explained. “We had to be very tuned in to their emotional experience and really make sure that they felt in charge of saying yes or no to the cameras at different times. Each of these women felt as though this was part of their legacy. We share success stories all the time, especially about breast cancer and we're certainly thrilled to know about the medical progress that happens in the world of cancer research, but I think what we don't know is the reality of living with stage four cancer. We don't share those stories enough.”
The free film screening takes place at 7:00 pm on Thursday at the Jim Santy Auditorium at the Park City Library. After the screening there will be question and answer session with subjects of the film.
“We have one of the subjects and then we have the social worker and the oncologist who are going to join us,” MacKenzie said. “Talk about the filmmaking process, talk about support groups for the cancer patients that they treat, and also talk about cancer research and where we are with progress.”
You can find a link to “However Long”’s webpage here.