Cara Scharf is no ordinary 25-year-old, as film producer Brandon Bray learned quickly after meeting her. She lost her mother to breast cancer when she was three; then she herself was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma just three years after graduating from college.
“Cara is amazing,” Bray says. “She had to literally fight for her life while most of her peers were thinking about their first job out of college—which, by the way, she was doing in between chemo sessions.”
Camera crew in tow, Bray followed Scharf for one month and documented her life through the ups and downs—draining chemotherapy sessions, reconstructive surgery, and consultations with surgeons at GW Medical Faculty Associates.
“I learned you’re never too young to make an impact,” Bray says. “She’s a relatively young cancer patient and I’m a relatively young filmmaker, and I think together we were able to create a much bigger message that will hopefully inspire more patients.”
Bray distilled his month of coverage into a documentary that runs just under six minutes, which recently won the CINE Golden Eagle Award in the science and technology category. Past Golden Eagle winners have included Ken Burns, Steven Spielberg, and Ron Howard. The documentary is also up for a Webby Award and a Telly Award.
Scharf is now in remission, and continues to write about her experiences here.