BARE: A Short Film, Inspired By A True Story
Diagnosed at the age of 25, Ellie was shocked by the news. The thought of cancer had never crossed her mind, that’s something you worry about when you’re “older.” In graduate school, studying to be a veterinarian, there is so much that she hasn’t yet experienced - her career, true love, a family - with chemo therapy beginning the next day, she stands in front of the mirror wondering if she has the strength to face what’s next. In this moment, fixated on the superficial thought of shaving her head, her mind wanders, taking her back to the last time she felt really sexy and to the doctors office when she first recieved her diagnosis.
When her three childhood friends arrive at the bathroom door, she’s brought back to reality. With these women who know her best, she's able to bravely speak her truth, and share her innermost fears, leaving her vulnerable and bare. Though, with these women, who know her best, she's able to find the strength for the fight ahead, and knows she can face it because they stand behind her.
Less than 5% of breast cancer patients in the US are under the age of 40, which means most of the support resources (both emotional and medical) are focused on women 40+. One of the profound things that stands out about getting cancer in your 20's and 30's is the community to turn to is limited, there are few resources that address your concerns, you're still discovering who you are, looking for your soulmate and just beginning your career.
We see this film project as spreading an important voice to this demographic that doesn't have very many resources that are catered to just them and yet, it still speaks to all women. What are we without our hair and breasts? Is that what makes us who we are? Is that what makes us feminine?
Ellie: Aurora Perrineau
Taylor: B.K. Cannon
Michelle: Melissa Cordero
Director: Kerith Lemon
Writers: Rebecca Hall & Kerith Lemon
Cinematographer: Drew Gaynor
Producer: Angela Palmieri
This film is inspired by writer Rebecca Hall's true life experience when she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 25.
I’ve known Rebecca since she was a young teenager. We vaulted together and I coached her from time to time. Ten years ago, through social media I heard she had breast cancer. I remember thinking she was so young to have that happen. Last year, she posted a short story chronicling her experience, detailing the events leading up to her first day of chemo, deciding to shave her head and the importance of having her closest friends to support her. I immediately had a vision of what this story would look like as a film.
What has struck me most is that, the mind in crisis is an incredibly lonely place to be – even when surrounded by well-meaning people – the never-ending thoughts about 'what if’ can shut everyone out. I want to create an emotional visual experience of what happens in our minds, how we can be transported to a different time and place without ever leaving our physical location. And, I want to the celebrate the importance of friendship, how even when you don’t know what to do or say, simply being there is the most important.
I plan to shoot the opening scenes in one long shot and use practical lighting changes to bring to life the various locations she’s recollecting, without her ever leaving the bathroom. In the scene when her friends arrive to support her the night before chemo we will transition to a more traditional style, allowing us to cut between characters and convey a more grounded emotional experience.