CALLIOPE is a character-driven drama about fear, abandonment, finding one’s strength, and the power of forgiveness against a backdrop of hope. As a child, Calliope’s protective mother always told her what she ‘should do’ and then later in life her preoccupied husband relied on her to do everything. And to both, she never said a word. Living life as a people-pleaser seemed easier than living life as a warrior. But once she’s diagnosed with breast cancer, the world as she knows it falls apart. Desperate to put the pieces back together as they once were, she soon realizes they will never fit like before. Fighting for her life means fighting for herself everywhere. With her eyes now open, her most authentic voice is found. And with that gift, she finds her own way to move forward.
This story is for those of us who struggle to value ourselves. Calliope listens to the voices in her head telling her she’s not enough. In the end, her battle with breast cancer is the wake-up call to the rest of her life. My hope is that this film resonates with women who identify with Calliope and perhaps, inspires them to go get that mammogram, use their voice to speak up, and find the strength to fight for their lives when necessary.
I am also passionate about telling this story as a breast cancer awareness campaign because of the unacceptable (and horrifying) statistic that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. As of 2020, there were 7.8 million women living with breast cancer, making it the world’s most prevalent cancer. It gives me chills every time I say those words. But they say that early diagnosis will lead to 19% more lives saved over the coming years. All the while, 30% of women are behind in getting their annual mammogram screenings. In my film, Calliope almost doesn’t bother getting her first-ever screening. Like many women, she thinks breast cancer awareness doesn’t apply to her because she’s only 40, doesn’t have a family history or any symptoms. This story sheds light on that fallacy and serves as a narrative example of how an early diagnosis saved her life. My biggest hope is that we value, protect and advocate for our bodies, our health and overall well-being.
Director/Producer: Marisa Camplin
A visual storyteller at heart, Marisa loves to share stories that challenge us to the core, delight every bone in our body, and help define who we are today. This work continues to humble and inspire her every day.
Marisa recently received a master’s degree in writing and directing for film from the Academy of Art University (AAU). At AAU, she directed a 30-minute thesis dramedy film called KNOCK OUT and a narrative short film called OFF TO CARE which each achieved two film festival wins and several nominations.
Currently, Marisa produces and directs mini-documentaries for the Women in Data Science Initiative at Stanford University that feature stories about women around the globe and their contributions to the field of data science – one that is very underrepresented by women. Last year, she was assistant to film director/actor Fiona Robert on her feature A VIEW OF THE WORLD FROM FIFTH AVENUE. Months before that, she was assistant to film director Annette Haywood-Carter on a feature DAUGHTER OF THE BRIDE. Marisa is a member of NYWIFT and the NYWIFT Writers Group.
Writer: Alicia Slimmer
Alicia (Lee) Slimmer is an award-winning filmmaker. Her debut feature film, CREEDMORIA, screened at 12 festivals and won 12 awards, including the Jury Prize for Best Feature Comedy at Cinequest, Audience Favorite at the Brooklyn Film Festival, and the Industry Choice Award at Los Angeles’ Dances With Films Festival. The Hollywood Reporter said Creedmoria “boasts an exuberant comic vitality that keeps the viewer engaged” and The Village Voice called it “a timeless lark: a rollicking, touching family yarn.” Lee is currently in development for her next feature, IT’S ALL RELATIVE, starring Karen Allen. Her indie approach has been highlighted in multiple publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The Hollywood Reporter. She was a featured panelist at Cucalorus for “Ceiling Busters: Women in Film” and has led workshops at Montclair State University and the School of Creative and Performing Arts in Brooklyn. Lee is a contributing writer to Thrive Global, a member of NYWIFT, WIFVNE, and Film Fatales, where she also runs a monthly writing group.