Film Based on Queen’s University Professor’s Book to Show at TIFF

Published on: 2011/09/02 - in Releases

A Queen’s School of Kinesiology and Health Studies professor’s book has been turned into a National Film Board of Canada documentary that will make its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Pink Ribbons Inc. is based on Samantha King’s book of the same name which takes a critical look at fundraising and breast cancer research.

“It’s a bit bizarre,” says Dr. King about her book being turned into a documentary. “I still can’t quite believe it’s happening.”

Dr. King, who plans to attend the Toronto festival, is one of several experts interviewed in the documentary. The film explores how breast cancer has become the poster child of corporate cause-related marketing campaigns as women and men walk, bike, climb and shop for the cure and millions of dollars are raised.

But where does this money go and what does it actually achieve? Marketers would have people believe we are successfully fighting the battle against breast cancer. But Dr. King’s book and the documentary show that mortality rates have not significantly changed in 60 years and women diagnosed with breast cancer today face the same treatment options they did 40 years ago.

“The main point of the book and the documentary is why we think buying products with pink ribbons or doing charity walks will bring about social change,” says Dr. King.

There are many horror stories from writers who say directors completely changed the message of their book, but Dr. King enjoyed the filmmaking experience.

“I was so honoured they were making this documentary, I don’t think I’d really care if they changed the message as long as the politics of my book weren’t lost. I really trusted the filmmakers and it was a positive experience,” says Dr. King.

A Toronto Star series of brief reviews for 43 films appearing at TIFF describes this documentary, in part, as  “destined to be a talked-about title at TIFF, director Léa Pool goes beyond the territory covered in Samantha King’s book Pink Ribbons, Inc: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy to explore how breast-cancer fundraising has left the early activists behind in a cloud of pink dust.”

During the Toronto International Film Festival, Pink Ribbons Inc. will be shown to the public three times (Sept. 11, 13, and 18) and two times to press and film industry officials.

Further Reading: Pink Ribbons Inc. book | TIFF’s movie page | National Film Board’s movie page

Release source: Queen’s University News Centre