A double feature saga.
A BRIEF HISTORY
More than five years ago, my Aunt Mary - or the more Italo-affectionately named "Zia Mary" - felt a lump under her breast. After her family doctor dismissed the lump, she sought a second opinion. Surgeries and several grueling chemotherapy doses later, she won her fight against breast cancer. She fell under the category of the then five percent - presently eight percent, or higher - who had never drank, smoked, used drugs, had no history of illness and no family history of breast cancer, or other.
During and after chemotherapy, she not only waged a battle within her own body, but that against those who ridiculed her, who didn't understand - or, sadly, even if they did - the turbulence she was enduring.
Having just completed my fifth short film, God's Acre (see "short films"), my Zia Mary and I had discussed the possibility of a micro-documentary in which she would reveal her personal, secret thoughts and feelings about her fight against not only breast cancer, but those who shunned her.
Five weeks into my own research - a line of work that is incredibly important, especially when investigating foreign subjects - and having met in person and online with doctors, nurses, researchers and patients, my Zia Mary decided that her personal, secret thoughts and feelings were best left as such.
Respecting her wishes, I began to thank my contacts for their valuable time and contributions. It was when I was bidding a farewell to a particular woman, whom I've dubbed and come to know as "Elizabeth," that she offered to have me read a small, private collections of journals detailing the months shared with her and another woman; this second woman whom I've affectionately named "Mary."
After five months of one-on-one and online interviews with "Elizabeth," in addition to reading and studying her and "Mary's" journals, I began writing what evolved into a personal and emotional journey. Two women who I barely knew, if at all, soon graduated from names and thoughts on paper to real people with hopes and dreams, struggles and pains. That we are all connected became the cornerstone of the story.
My Zia Mary once told me that her life was "a fairy tale gone wrong."
Thus, Marytale was born.
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