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A movie about filmmaker Alex Sichel and her fictional alter ego, Anna. Can Anna show Alex how to live joyfully with metastatic cancer?
A movie about filmmaker Alex Sichel and her fictional alter ego, Anna. Can Anna show Alex how to live joyfully with metastatic cancer?
327 backers pledged $50,405 to help bring this project to life.

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$50,405

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Thank you so much for your amazing support so far, both here and elsewhere. I’m incredibly proud that we have already made our goal -- with still a week left to go, no less! In the time we have left, we are going to push hard to make our stretch goal, which is $55,000. We can do it!!

Our stretch goal will help us cover a number of things, including:

1) Hiring professional outreach consultants to research where and how the film might screen in non-traditional settings. It takes time and thought and expertise to identify and create partnerships.

2) We also need to hire experts to help create discussion guides, and we need to find and hire moderators with specific areas of expertise who can attend screenings and facilitate discussions afterward.

3) Also, most to the point, we’d really like to be in a position to donate some of these screenings free of charge to non-profits and their members. The logistics of arranging these screenings do have a price tag, but we really hope to be in a position to waive any operating fees for organizations that are unable to cover the costs of showing the film. 

 It goes back to the ripples in the pond: we’ve started locally, laid a bit of groundwork to move outward from there, and now we want to really broaden the circles in the pond. We want to make it an ocean!

Thank you, fine people.

xoxoxoxo  Liz

Our documentary follows filmmaker Alex Sichel, both subject and director, as she creates a fictional movie that explores what is foremost on her mind while confronting a terminal disease: parenting, marriage, faith, life, and death.

A Woman Like Me is about the triumph of the creative process in an unimaginably dire situation.

You can help us by donating to our outreach campaign here on Kickstarter, by sharing this link with anyone you think might be interested, and by helping to send this film out into the world and building a conversation around it -- about creativity, illness and transformation.

So here is what happened, dear readers: 

In the summer of 2011, my beloved friend Alex, a filmmaker by trade and passion, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. With one blow, the indomitable Alex was confronting her own mortality. 

In the midst of trying to get her mind around what this meant, for herself and for her husband and young daughter, remarkably, Alex also began to wonder if making a movie about her experience could at least help change how she related to it. As a practicing Buddhist, she knew that even if she couldn’t change the terrible facts of her situation, she might be able to change her mind

Alex told me about her idea, the story of “a woman like me, with a diagnosis a lot like mine, only she’s dealing with it much better than I am." Alex could see this woman quite clearly, and her name was Anna. Could the process of making "The Movie About Anna" help transform Alex's experience into something other than terror, anger, and regret?

At first we discussed a straight-ahead fictional approach. But we also considered documentary, because Alex wanted to make sure she was talking directly to people in similar situations. By then she was immersed in the breast cancer community, online and otherwise, and she had made a lot of friends there. By making this movie, she hoped not only to find a way through her experience; she also wanted to create a forum for a shared experience of metastatic breast cancer. Perhaps documentary provided a more direct line....

In the end, though, we realized that this is a movie about making a movie, under life-threatening circumstances, and we needed both fiction and documentary to tell the story of a filmmaker using her imagination to find a way to live gracefully with a ticking time bomb. 

Alex’s fictional self, Anna, showed her a lighter way to navigate something truly dark -- the chaos and fear of terminal illness. 

In other words, when you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, maybe, just maybe, your imagination can get you out.

 We've been to some amazing places so far...

                                    …and more festivals to come -- stay tuned here.

In our movie, Alex is a remarkable tour guide through the emotional waters of terminal illness: compassionate, funny (in spite of the circumstances) and deeply human, she leads us with great generosity on a journey through her creative processes -- and narrowing treatment options -- as she searches for a small measure of peace in a terrible situation. 

It is that small measure of peace that we want to send out into the world with this movie.   

We want to build on our festival momentum in order to create a vibrant life for the film in theatrical and community settings. A Woman Like Me will premiere in New York on October 9th (tickets are available through this campaign!), and we plan to use our New York run as a kick off for a national outreach and screening tour. 

Money raised during this campaign will help support those efforts so that this movie can spark conversations with people across the country about their own experience of illness and the difficult times that come with it. We hope to use this movie to help transform fear and anxiety into something that can be held more lightly – regardless of treatment choices and outcome. No mean feat, of course. 

We are currently seeking to raise $40,000 here on Kickstarter. That will cover initial costs of publicity, marketing and, most critically, outreach. With your financial support, we will be able to screen for support groups -- patients and their families; doctors and nurses and other medical professionals; palliative medicine organizations and medical schools; end-of-life organizations; art-and-healing organizations; art therapists; women in film, media, and the arts; spiritual groups, and academic programs in narrative medicine. 

Anything you can contribute will help us enormously. 

And, in addition, please help us spread the word: forward this to your friends, family, doctors, nurses, colleagues, ministers, rabbis, non-denominational spiritual helpers -- to anyone you think might want to see it. You are our first audience, and we’re really glad to meet you here on Kickstarter, and thank you for helping us share this movie with people you think might be interested. 

Check out our rewards.  They're not all pictured here, but that's where your creative visualization skills come in -- if we learned anything making this movie, it's to play with our imagination!

Making this movie was a profoundly joyful experience, despite the circumstances. We found some amazing, generous, intrepid and deeply talented collaborators along the way.

See this link for more on these awesome folks: http://www.awomanlikemefilm.com/bios/

We also had incredible support from friends, family, and small foundations that had an interest in our project, and we had grants and other production support from some amazing institutions.

Truly, we felt blessed by our circle during the production of this movie, and it’s very exciting to be widening that circle here and now, on Kickstarter.

Seriously, your support means everything to us. And sure, we want to shower you with rewards we’ve thought about carefully and hope you’ll enjoy, but most of all it’s just really, really, really amazing that you’re willing to get on this crazy, difficult, beautiful ride with us. Thank you. And thank you again. 

Also, just a note: October is around the corner, and it’s Breast Cancer awareness month. Spread the word!

Risks and challenges

Our biggest challenge is, as you might imagine: how do we find and connect to our community? We're starting here, and we hope you can help us widen the ripples in the pond. Thank you!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 5 or more About US$ 5

    OUR ETERNAL GRATITUDE!!!

    Seriously. And special thanks on our website. We're creating a Kickstarter supporters page where we can blow loud trumpets and throw confetti….If we can actually animate that image, we will!

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    Pledge US$ 15 or more About US$ 15

    LET'S BUILD A FORUM!

    Send us a photo and tell us your story. Have you transformed your approach to something challenging? Are you trying to? Tell us about it, and we'll post it on our website. This is where the community we build around this movie begins. We want you!

    No word limit, but if the forum gets big we may have to edit for space. A good problem to have!

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    Pledge US$ 20 or more About US$ 20

    Most of us know someone who has struggled with illness. Let's honor them here. Send us a name and a few words about how their journey has inspired you, and we'll post it on our website.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    A SCREENING IN NEW YORK

    Invitation to a matinee screening in New York during our theatrical run, October 10th or 11th, your choice! Q&A with Co-Director/Producer Liz Giamatti to follow -- ask me anything, in front of an audience of your peers. Transportation to NY not included.

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    Pledge US$ 25 or more About US$ 25

    THE MOVIE, IN YOUR LIVING ROOM

    A download of our movie, sent with love from headquarters….

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    Pledge US$ 35 or more About US$ 35

    HOW TO WRITE YOUR OWN STORY

    We share our guidelines (poetic, ersatz, and hopefully inspiring) for writing your own story. Documentary, fiction, you name it.

    Also includes a download of our movie, sent with love from headquarters.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    GET INSIDE OUR PROCESS, Version 1.0

    A PDF copy of our script for "The Movie About Anna," our movie within the movie, and a download of our movie, sent with love from headquarters.

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    Pledge US$ 50 or more About US$ 50

    GET INSIDE OUR PROCESS, Version 2.0

    A PDF copy of the "bible" we created in pre-production to find our way between fiction and doc….Because we had to find some way to convey to our collaborators and funders what the heck we were talking about. Also, of course, a download of our movie.

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    Pledge US$ 75 or more About US$ 75

    A SMALL MEASURE OF INNER PEACE

    Download a meditation video we create specifically for this project. This reward is here because Alex had a strong Buddhist practice, and nothing would have made her happier than to find a way to share the peace she found there. Also, of course, a download of our movie.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    MEDITATION BEADS, OR, A SMALL MEASURE OF OUTER PEACE

    A meditation bracelet made specially for this campaign to honor Alex. She often wore traditional meditation beads -- ours will be a twist on that with some charms involved. Also, a download of our movie, sent with love from headquarters.

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    Pledge US$ 100 or more About US$ 100

    OUR THEATRICAL PREMIERE!

    Two tickets to the theatrical premiere of our movie in New York, October 9, 2015. Need we say more? It would be amazing and awesome to have our Kickstarter supporters there to celebrate with us. Transportation to NY not included.

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    Pledge US$ 125 or more About US$ 125

    MEMBERSHIP AT THE NEW YORK OPEN CENTER

    A one-year Seeker level membership ($150 value) at the New York Open Center, the premier urban center for holistic learning, personal transformation and professional development. For more information on membership benefits visit www.opencenter.org

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    Pledge US$ 150 or more About US$ 150

    OUR THEATRICAL PREMIERE AND PARTY!!

    Two, yes, two tickets -- bring a date, bring your grandmother -- to the theatrical premiere of our movie in New York, October 9, 2015, AND two invitations to our party after the screening (transportation to NY not included), because we hope to be able to thank you in person and shake your hand. And buy you a drink or a soda or a hot dog (venue TBD!)

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    GET INSIDE OUR PROCESS, Version 1.5

    A signed copy (yes, an old-school, hard copy, delivered to your door) of our script for "The Movie About Anna," our movie within the movie. We might even doodle on it for you! Also includes a download of our movie.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    GET INSIDE OUR PROCESS, Version 2.5

    A signed copy (yes, an old-school, hard copy, just like a script, delivered to your door) of the "bible" we created in pre-production to find our way between fiction and doc…. Doodles in the margins possible on this reward as well. Also includes a download of our movie, sent with love from HQ.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge US$ 250 or more About US$ 250

    SCENES FROM THE MOVIE ABOUT ANNA

    A download of three fictional scenes from "The Movie About Anna" that aren't in the final cut! In fact, we're putting them together just for this campaign. Also, a download of our movie, sent with love from headquarters.

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    Pledge US$ 350 or more About US$ 350

    A SCREENPLAY ABOUT YOU!

    We use our transformation powers to write a script for a short movie about you (approximately three to five pages, but you never know -- we might get carried away). You give us the specs -- or just enough detail for a slight resemblance.

    Also, of course, a download of our movie, sent with love from headquarters.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    LET'S START OUR OUTREACH
    SCREENINGS HERE AND NOW!

    We send you a DVD or Blu-Ray so you can screen the movie for the support organization of your choice. Includes a discussion guide. Let's start this conversation right now, in your backyard.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    THE SUPER DUPER GORGEOUS PRODUCTION BOOK

    Our incredibly talented production designer made us a visual reference guide to share with other collaborators. We want to make you a beautifully printed copy, and we'll include our script, bible, costume sketches, and stills.

    Also a download of our movie, sent with love.

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    Pledge US$ 750 or more About US$ 750

    LET'S HAVE LUNCH TOGETHER

    We'll send you a DVD of the sequence (not in the final cut of the movie) in which Alex and Liz head to meet their potential lead actress, the amazing Lili Taylor (and in which -- spoiler alert -- Lili says yes)! Also, Liz takes you to lunch at the same spot, Frankie's Spuntino in Brooklyn, NY.

    (Transportation not included, scheduled at our mutual convenience -- get out your datebook).

    Also, a download of our movie....

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    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    OUR OUTREACH SCREENINGS CONTINUE, AND THE CO-DIRECTOR SHOWS UP AFTERWARD TO SKYPE

    We send you a DVD or Blu-Ray so you can screen the movie for the support organization of your choice. Includes a discussion guide and post-screening Skype Q&A with Co-Director Liz Giamatti, scheduled at our mutual convenience.

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    Pledge US$ 1,000 or more About US$ 1,000

    "THE MOVIE ABOUT ANNA"

    A DVD of the fictional film, "The Movie About Anna," created specifically for this Kickstarter campaign….We'll probably include Co-Director's commentary on it, but since this movie doesn't exist yet, and since we're making it specifically for you, we're going to have to see what works best….

    Also, a download of our movie, the one we already made, sent with love from headquarters.

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    Pledge US$ 1,500 or more About US$ 1,500

    LET'S HAVE LUNCH TOGETHER: WITH THE AMAZING LILI TAYLOR!!

    Truly, she is a goddess. Little known fact: Alex and I took Lili to lunch to ask her to read our script and consider playing Anna. Our daunting task was to try to explain the documentary-fiction combo and what we were trying to do. Halfway through lunch, Lili said yes, because she is an incredible and generous collaborator and was totally down with the whole endeavor.

    So, let's all have lunch together, at Frankies', in Brooklyn, NY.

    Also includes a DVD of the sequence (not in the final cut of the movie) in which Alex and Liz head to meet Lili in the first place, and a download of our movie.

    (Transportation not included, scheduled at our mutual convenience.)

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500

    OUR OUTREACH SCREENINGS CONTINUE, AND THE CO-DIRECTOR SHOWS UP AFTERWARD -- IN PERSON!

    Co-Director Liz Giamatti comes to your town or city and screens the movie for the organization of your choice, Q&A to follow.

    Liz's transportation and accommodation to your town or city not included. Scheduled at our mutual convenience.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    OUR OUTREACH SCREENINGS CONTINUE, ON US!

    Co-Director comes to your town or city and screens the movie for the organization of your choice, Q&A to follow. At this reward lever, we'll pay for Liz's airline ticket and hotel.

    Scheduled at our mutual convenience.

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    Pledge US$ 3,000 or more About US$ 3,000

    A WOMAN -- OR MAN -- LIKE YOU

    We make a short documentary about you -- and hopefully we help you transform your relationship to a difficult situation -- big, small, or in-between. We're really, really eager to share our process and have you as our subject! Let us help tell your story!

    NYC or Tri-State area only. Scheduled at our mutual convenience. Also includes a download of our movie.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    THE IMAGINATION PACK!

    Choose any five of the rewards above! Seriously! We might even lose money on this one, but the idea that you get to make your own reward it too appealing to pass up, because, really, that's what this movie is all about.

    Subject to availability and restrictions on the various rewards chosen....

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    Pledge US$ 7,500 or more About US$ 7,500

    A WOMAN -- OR MAN -- LIKE YOU, ANYWHERE U.S.A.

    We make a short documentary about you -- and hopefully we help you transform your relationship to a difficult situation -- big, small, or in-between. We're really, really eager to share our process and have you as our subject! Let us help tell your story!

    Scheduled at our mutual convenience. Also includes a download of our movie, sent from headquarters with love, of course.

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Funding period

- (29 days)