update: Samantha Morton won Best Actress at the Seattle Film Festival for her role in Decoding Annie Parker. The Seattle Film Festival is the 2nd largest in North America, andthe film was also elected one of the top five in the festival.
update: online article about the film
Transcription:Dr. Chris Anjema recently had an interesting Hollywood experience in New York City. The Chatham ophthalmologist moderated a discussion in the Big Apple last month after the premiere of Decoding Annie Parker, a critically acclaimed film about the Toronto area woman’s battle with breast cancer. Parker is played by Samantha Morton. The movie also focuses on the drive by Mary-Claire King, portrayed by Helen Hunt, to pursue research on the genetic link to cancer, which was rejected by her peers. Anjema said he and his wife Michelle were invited to attend the premiere by the film’s director Steve Bernstein, who has been in Chatham filming a documentary called The Magic Doctor that examines the life of Dr. Lalit Chawla, a local family physician. “We resonated regarding our love for film, the power of the cancer story in Decoding, and he invited us to attend the premiere,” Anjema said. He said the day before the premiere, they were discussing the protocols for the red carpet event and the post film discussion. Anjema said Bernstein told him he thought “I would be an engaging moderator who could invite all viewpoints during the discussion.” Although he has moderated panel discussions at many conferences, Anjema said this was his first moderator role at a Hollywood film premiere. “It is a thrill to be involved with a Hollywood film”, he said. “This is becoming quite a passion and we are working on some future projects at this time.”
He added, “it works a different part of my brain. It is a very creative and rewarding process.” The fact the film deals with cancer is something Anjema found to be a “very powerful and engaging experience as a moderator. “Professionally, I respect and reconstruct hundreds of facial and eyelid cancers per year” he said. “Personally, this has been very empowering to see how people respond to the film making experience of a story such as Ann’s”. Anjema said when he and Michelle met Parker after watching her story “we were overwhelmed by her will to beat the odds at a time in history when the BRCA l gene did not exist.” The post movie discussion took place at The Directors Guild Theatre with 400 invited guests including Parker, the film’s investors, representatives from American Cancer Association and the American Civil Liberties Union. Anjema said the movie has premiered at the Dallas International Film Festival and is premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend. It is also slated to be screened in Paris, the LA Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and then in London, England. Anjema said he will be moderating the post movie discussion at some of these premieres. To learn more about the movie and watch the discussion moderated by Anjema, go to www.decodingannieparker.com. This has also been a great experience for the Anjemas, because they love movies. “We watch a couple of movies per week,” Anjema said. “I love a romantic story with Michelle. We both love suspense and thrillers as well as very good comedy:’