A drawing of a young boy with an oversized head, a character from BLA BLA, an interactive website produced by Vincent Morisset in 2011.

Press Releases & Media Kits

Pink Ribbons, Inc. opens theatrically across Canada, starting February 3

Press release

2012/01/11


“Indignant and subversive, Pink Ribbons, Inc. resoundingly pops the shiny pink balloon of the breast cancer movement/industry, debunking the ‘comfortable lies’ and corporate double-talk that permeate the massive and thus-far-ineffectual campaign against a disease that claims nearly 60,000 lives each year in North America alone.”
–John Anderson, Variety, September 15, 2011


Montreal, January 11, 2012 – Pink ribbons are everywhere, reminding us to walk, run, swim, and yes, shop, all in the name of fighting breast cancer.

But what does it all really do for women with this disease?

In the National Film Board of Canada feature documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc. ( nfb.ca/playlist/pink_ribbons_inc/), director Léa Pool talks to women with breast cancer, experts, authors, activists and medical researchers, as well as the leading players in breast cancer fundraising and cause-related marketing, to paint a shocking portrait of how the pink ribbon campaign benefits businesses more than women with breast cancer.

The film opens in Canadian cities on over 30 screens beginning February 3. See it, and you’ll never look at a pink ribbon the same way again.

Inspired by the book Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy by Samantha King, Pink Ribbons, Inc. shows how some companies use breast cancer cause-marketing to boost sales, while often contributing only a tiny fraction of proceeds to the cause. It also explores how companies that pollute or sell products containing dangerous chemicals are in on the action, too, using “pink washing” to polish their images, and even shaping the direction of cancer research. The end result is that the environmental causes of breast cancer have been largely ignored, with only a minuscule fraction of the funds going to prevention research.

Pink Ribbons, Inc. also takes us back to the questionable origins of the ubiquitous ribbon. Charlotte Haley was a 68-year-old American woman using peach-coloured ribbons to specifically call attention to the lack of funding for breast cancer prevention. When a cosmetics giant wanted in, Haley refused, because she believed that the company was out to boost profits rather than help women. But she couldn’t stop them when they changed the colour of the ribbon to pink.

Most heartbreaking are the sick and dying women who’ve been pushed to the margins because they don’t suit the triumphal upbeat image of the pink ribbon narrative, what author Samantha King calls “the tyranny of cheerfulness.”

Pink Ribbons, Inc. makes a powerful case that the pink ribbon campaign is failing to achieve the most crucial goal of all: it isn’t helping women live longer, healthier lives. Breast cancer rates are rising. We’ve only seen incremental improvements in chemotherapy and surgery treatments, over decades. Prevention is being vastly underfunded. Something has to change.

But as Pink Ribbons, Inc. argues, until we force a change in the business model for cancer research, that’s not going to happen.

Most of us have had our lives affected by breast cancer, in one way or another. If you have, you owe it to yourself to see this film.

Release

Pink Ribbons, Inc. opens theatrically on over 30 screens in cities across Canada, beginning February 3, 2012.
The film had its world premiere in September 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival and its European premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

Filmmakers

Originally from Switzerland, Léa Pool began a filmmaking career shortly after emigrating to Quebec in 1975. She made an astonishing feature debut in 1984 with La Femme de l’hôtel (A Woman in Transit), which won several international awards. In 1986, Anne Trister, which Pool wrote and directed, was selected for Official Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival. In 1990, Pool shot her first feature documentary, Hotel Chronicles, and in 1994, Pool was distinguished with the title “Chevalier” by the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Pool’s Emporte-moi (Set Me Free) was awarded the Special Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 1999 Berlin International Film Festival.

Ravida Din is the producer of Pink Ribbons, Inc. Executive producer of the NFB’s Quebec and Atlantic Centres, Din was chosen by Playback magazine as one of their “10 to Watch” in September 2010. Her producing credits include the 2011 documentary Payback (based on Margaret Atwood’s CBC Massey Lectures) which has been selected for the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

Official credits

The National Film Board of Canada presents Pink Ribbons, Inc. Directed by Léa Pool. Produced by Ravida Din. Written by Patricia Kearns & Nancy Guerin and Léa Pool. Directors of Photography: Daniel Jobin, Sylvaine Dufaux, Nathalie Moliavko-Visotzky. Edited by Oana Suteu Khintirian. Animation: Francis Gélinas. Associate Producer: Nancy Guerin. Executive Producer: Ravida Din. Based on the book Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy by Samantha King.  nfb.ca/playlist/pink_ribbons_inc/

About the NFB

Canada’s public producer and distributor, the National Film Board of Canada creates interactive works, social-issue documentaries, auteur animation and alternative dramas that provide the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The NFB is developing the entertainment forms of the future in groundbreaking interactive productions, while pioneering new directions in 3D stereoscopic film, community-based media, and more. It works in collaboration with emerging and established filmmakers, digital media creators and co-producers in every region of Canada, with Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities, as well as partners around the world. Since the NFB’s founding in 1939, it has created over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 4 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. Over 2,000 NFB productions can be streamed online, at the NFB.ca Screening Room as well as via partnerships with the world’s leading video portals, while the NFB’s growing family of apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV delivers the experience of cinema to Canadians everywhere.

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Information:

Pat Dillon, NFB Publicist
Telephone: 514-283-9411
Cell: 514 206-1750
E-mail: p.a.dillon@nfb.ca

Lily Robert, Director, Corporate Communications, NFB
Telephone: 514-283-3838
Cell: 514-296-8261
E-mail: l.robert@nfb.ca