Outside In – The Film
In the year 2000, during the recovery of Dr. Katherine “Kasia” Clark from her second ovarian cancer surgery at age 42, her artist mother Liz Clark was so emotional about her daughter’s illness that she brought a video camera into the hospital to offer Kasia a less loaded outlet to talk about her experience. The camera loved Kasia and Kasia, the camera, so when she left the hospital, she and Liz set out to make a series of short films together. A trilogy of studies, “Marking Time: 3 Haikus” explores Kasia’s passion for music, art, and the human body in the context of her post-surgical rage, fear of dying, and determination to beat the odds. “Steppin’” sets Kasia’s frenetic athletic response to her illness against the equally frenetic and terrifying backdrop of 9/11. Excited by filmmaking, Kasia bought her first digital video camera and began documenting her ovarian cancer journey. In her chaotic emotional world, being behind the lens gave her a sense of control and order. But she also liked being in front of the lens, having a platform for her evolving thoughts and insights about cancer, survival, identity, and life choices.
The more Kasia filmed, the more she saw educational possibilities, a way to turn her terrible situation into something useful to others. In 2002, she partnered with film professionals to create The Kasia Project, a feature documentary that would marry her interests in art and science and serve to enlighten a wide audience about living with a life-threatening illness. Over the next two years, as Kasia filmed her own physical exams and medical consultations, the professional group filmed interviews and sports footage, and in 2004 won a Telly Award for their Kasia Project Trailer. But like many independent documentaries, the project experienced increasing setbacks and began to drag. When seasoned filmmaker, Katherine Deutch Tatlock was brought in to “keep it moving,” she co-produced and directed several shoots, but eventually production ground to a halt. And in 2006 when Kasia suffered a recurrence, fearing she might not see the completion of her film, Kat Tatlock took the creative helm as producer/director, bringing in her trusted colleague Julia Dixon Eddy to edit and co-produce and Sabre Imagery to create their marketing materials and website. With renewed energy, the filmmakers collaborated with Kasia to reshape the project, and began shooting and editing their vision. Filmmakers Collaborative, a non-profit organization that sponsors and supports independent media projects, became their fiscal sponsor and key supporter.
Having learned that a documentary featuring one of their star patients was being produced, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute invited The Kasia Project to create a tailored version of the film as the centerpiece of their Women in History Month. Eager to reach the medical community, the filmmakers created Choosing Your Life: An Ovarian Cancer Journey, an 18-minute cut of the film that was screened on March 25, 2009 in the Jimmy Fund Auditorium for a highly enthusiastic audience of medical professionals, patients, and general viewers. Joining Kasia in a panel discussion and Q & A were her key oncologist, Dr. Ursula Matulonis; Director of the Lance Armstrong Adult Survivorship Clinic, Dr. Kenneth Miller; and Director of the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, Dr. David Rosenthal (see “Inspired to Live” Program), who became the film’s medical advisors and champions.
Energized by both the medical experts’ kudos and general viewer comments, such as – “this is such an inspiring film – EVERYBODY should see it!” – Kat, Julia and Kasia were convinced they could reach multiple audiences. The result is a one-hour film that integrates Kasia’s carefully-drawn medical experience with her personal paths to recovery and healing – filmmaking, music making, extreme physical training and nutritional regimens, mind/body work, and immersion in nature and friendship. Nine years in the making and enhanced by Cyrus Sink’s dynamic score and live recordings by the Manhattan String Quartet, Outside In was completed in October, 2009 and a search for a wide audience was launched.