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Blogadillo January 20th, 2022
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Paula Mozen, Director of LIFE INTERRUPTED, Shares Her Filmmaking Journey

Posted by on March 4th, 2021

This week’s guest blog post comes from Paula Mozen, Director of the film LIFE INTERRUPTED. In this post, Paula shares a bit of her story and her journey with this film about the trials of breast cancer survivors. Please note that portions of the original post have been edited for clarity.

I was a documentary filmmaker long before I became a breast cancer survivor. When I was first diagnosed, I wanted to take care of my situation and move on. The last thing I wanted to do was to make a film about it, a project that I knew would take several years to fundraise and complete. As time passed and I gained perspective on my own situation, I realized I was NOT alone; there are hundreds of thousands of us out here. In the United States, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2021, an estimated 330,000 new cases will be diagnosed. 

Breast Cancer is indeed an epidemic. It can be found across all age, gender, socio-economic, ethnic, and geographic groups. It does not discriminate; however, as we know, access to quality healthcare can be very discriminatory.

MSU photo by Kelly Gorham

Holding these truths together plus having the inside track to my own experience, I decided to make the film I wish I could have seen when I was diagnosed – both times. I wanted LIFE INTERRUPTED to put a face to the statistics and tell meaningful stories in order to inspire change. 

Breast cancer patients are often asked to make their own choices in terms of treatments available. The moment the diagnosis is received, each person must gather information and make life-altering decisions under extreme emotional duress, all in a relatively short period of time. While individual circumstances are unique, hearing about the personal journeys from articulate women who have traveled this road before is invaluable for navigating treatments and keeping hope alive. Knowledge is power; the successful prevention and treatment of breast cancer depends on this. 

Persistence is a common theme for indie filmmakers and breast cancer survivors alike. Just when you think you are finished, there is usually another mountain to climb.

From Berkeley to Berlin to Beirut and back to Bozeman, MY LIFE INTERRUPTED was screened, was reviewed, and won several awards at festivals. After these events, I wanted to connect directly with audiences who cared about the themes and issues the film covered, including Healthcare Advocates, Providers, and survivors. My hope was to provide empowerment for survivors to be self-advocates  and to share with family members, advocates and healthcare providers what it truly means to survive breast cancer.

I learned about the All of Us Research Program (http://joinallofus.org/nlm) and partnership with NNLM through Julie Sherwood, the Partnership & Community Engagement Manager for the Wichita Public Library. After a series of emails, a partnership was formed that would involve collaborations with NNLM staff from throughout the organization, including Brittany Thomas, Brian Leaf, Linda Loi, Darlene Kaskie, Michelle Spatz, George Strawley, Asih Asikin-Garmager, Richard McLean, Helen Spielbauer, Rachel Maller, Holly Stevenson, Laura Bartlett, and Frost Keaton. 

Beginning March 3rd through April 15th, NNLM and I look forward to presenting the LIFE INTERRUPTED Virtual Screening Series which includes live interactive panel discussions in partnership with The Black Women’s Health Imperative, The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), Asian Health Coalition, Henry Ford Health System, Greensboro AHEC and Nashville Public Library.

During the panel discussions, hear from medical or research professionals who specialize in breast cancer, breast cancer survivors, and advocates who represent populations historically underrepresented in medical research. Panelists will share their experiences and knowledge on diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer, living with breast cancer, advancing treatments and cures for breast cancer, and advocating for precision medicine and diversity of medical research through programs like All of Us.

It has been an absolute honor and pleasure to work with the entire team so far, a group of talented, motivated and detail-oriented individuals who are dedicated to creating the best possible audience user experience. Everyone is focused on making each event engaging, interactive, relevant and accessible. To work with a team like this is – well – a filmmaker’s dream come true; we are all on the same page, doing the right thing for the right reasons, all to empower patients and share meaningful stories. 

Thank you to Paula Mozen for the work she is doing and for contributing to this blog post! We look forward to seeing the great things that come from this project.

For more information or to attend any of these upcoming free events, visit watch.eventive.org/lifeinterrupted

For more Information on the film LIFE INTERRUPTED, click here: www.lifeinterruptedfilm.com

Remember to like NNLM SCR on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Image of the author ABOUT E. Bailey Sterling
E. Bailey Sterling is a Digital Communications Specialist with the NNLM SCR and presently a graduate student pursuing an MS in Information Science specializing in Health Informatics from the University of North Texas (GMG!). She's also a Graduate Student Council Senator, Teaching Assistant, analog gamer, writer, and lifelong learner living in DFW. If you have anything you'd like to see featured on the NNLM SCR blog or social channels, please email Bailey.Sterling@unthsc.edu. We would love to hear more about what's happening at your library!

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Funded under cooperative agreement number UG4LM012345 with the University of North Texas Health Science Center - Gibson D. Lewis Library, and awarded by the DHHS, NIH, National Library of Medicine.

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