By Barbara Masry and Adam Nadler
For Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Anyone who’s been touched by breast cancer through a family member, friend, business acquaintance, or one’s own self, knows that though scientists continue to promise that the cure is down the pike, it is still frustrating, and too often, heartbreaking waiting for the eradication of this killer disease.
During her bone marrow treatment for breast cancer 21 years ago, educator/writer/activist, Barbara Masry met a young African-American woman, Angela, whose cancer had metastasized because she didn’t have the health insurance that would permit an early diagnosis.
Researching the subject, she learned that:
-Uninsured breast cancer patients are more than twice as likely to have their cancer diagnosed in late stages as those with private insurance.
- A woman without insurance who gets breast cancer is 40 percent more likely to die than someone with health insurance.
- African-American women have a higher incidence rate before 40 and higher mortality rate at every age.
The haunting memory of Angela stirred Masry to write a feature film, A Wake-up Call with co-writer/director, Adam Nadler, also a bone marrow transplant survivor.
The story dramatizes two Brooklyn families, Syrian-Jewish and African-American, touched by breast cancer, one with insurance, one without.
This not only became a passion project for Masry and Nadler, but drew talented actors, Mira Sorvino, Dan Hedaya, Peter Jacobson, Ashanti and Amanda Setton to attach themselves to the project.
Financing an independent film without a “name” or “angels” with deep pockets is a formidable challenge. But Masry fervently believes that A Wake-up Call, deserves to be seen on the big screen by audiences who appreciate a good story, colorful characters, and who care about the disparity in health care. She’s already raised development funds through private donations, an art fest, and a rollicking benefit last autumn, with performers Robert Klein, Susie Essman, and Melissa Errico performing.
A recently completed short film of the opening sequence of the full-length feature will be entered into short film festivals to attract attention in the model of the shorts that led to financing Frozen River, Half Nelson, Pariah, and Fatal Attraction.