Joining FORCES is the FORCE newsletter with news, views and supportive information for individuals concerned about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
by Karen Kramer
It is rare when a Hollywood film both entertains and starts a serious conversation that can save lives. For producers Stuart Ross and Johnathan Brownlee, making Decoding Annie Parker was more than just a film. It was a mission.
Decoding Annie Parker is the story of a sharp-witted, irrepressible young woman who watches her mother and her sister diagnosed with breast cancer. When Annie is also diagnosed, she resolves to fight back against immeasurable odds. The film is also the story of Dr. Mary-Claire King, the geneticist whose discovery of the BRCA1 gene and its link to breast cancer was one of the most important scientific discoveries of the 20th century.
Like many of us, Stuart Ross has a personal connection to breast cancer. He took a year off from his job to care for his mother after her diagnosis with stage IV disease. During this time, the script for Decoding Annie Parker arrived. Ross' mother ultimately lost her cancer battle, but not before she shared her support for the film. "This movie shows how cancer affects an entire family, both physically and mentally," said Ross. "Originally, I was saddened by its theme. But in meeting Annie Parker and becoming her friend, I now fully understand the optimism in her story. The movie is truly a testament to hope and opportunity."
While the quality of the script and skill of the cast ensure its entertainment value, the producers want the movie to energize viewers with curiosity about their own family histories and cancer risk. "We believe the film evokes a myriad of emotions. We hope the audience will laugh and cry with us," said co-producer Brownlee. "We want a movie-goer to call their mom or sister and ask the important health questions. Then we've done our job."
FORCE is proud to be a partner in promoting Decoding Annie Parker. The film, which stars Samantha Morton as Anne Parker and Helen Hunt as Dr. Mary-Claire King, will be released later this year.