Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD
WETA, the Washington, DC, public television station, has launched a new website as part of a national outreach for the documentary The Story of Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies
, which will be produced by Ken Burns. The documentary is based on the Pulitzer-prize winning book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
, written by Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD. Award-winning filmmaker Barak Goodman will direct the six-hour documentary, which will air on PBS in spring 2015.
The new website for the documentary, www.TheStoryofCancer.org
, is the first step in a national outreach to help engage the public in topics surrounding cancer that will be raised in the film.
Cancer survivors, patients, caregivers, family and friends, healthcare professionals, and research communities will be able to use a wide range of digital and grassroots platforms on the website to discuss cancer issues that the documentary will address.
The first film, available on the website now, is a profile of cancer survivor Pamela Cromwell, a business analyst and cancer advocate who reveals how kickboxing transformed the way she fights the disease.
WETA will continue to release more than 20 additional films leading up to the documentary’s broadcast.
The outreach program is a collaboration of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation; the American Association for Cancer Research; and the American Cancer Society, along with project funders Genentech, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Siemens, David H. Koch, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and the Kovler Fund.
The Story of Cancer
website will also feature exclusive digital short films showcasing cancer patients, caregivers, researchers and celebrity survivors as well as a behind-the-scenes producers’ blog, launching later this month that will provide insights on the making of the documentary. The producers’ blog will showcase filmmaker Barak Goodman, executive producer Ken Burns, and others.
New features will be added to the website leading up to the premiere, including an interactive timeline, which will allow users to explore medical advances and profiles of people who have been instrumental in shaping the fight against cancer over time.
Website visitors will also be able to contribute their own stories about cancer via an interactive story-sharing wall, which will create one of the largest collections of cancer-related stories in the country.The Story of Cancer
will provide a “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the attempts to cure, control, and conquer cancer in the 20th century.
“The series matches the epic scale of cancer, reshaping the way the public sees cancer and stripping away some of the fear and misunderstanding that has long surrounded it,” according to a statement released by WETA.
The 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago served as one venue for the documentary team’s education, as well as a location for filming.
“I am of course honored to have an opportunity to work with such accomplished filmmakers and with such inspiring partners,” Mukherjee said when the documentary was announced. “Emperor
very much grew out of my experience as a cancer physician trying to navigate and to understand this historic disease. Treating cancer is one of the most significant human challenges we’ve ever faced. But now, for the first time, we are at an extraordinary moment in the history of cancer research because we finally are beginning to understand what causes cancer at a cellular, or molecular, or a genetic level in a way we just did not know 10 years ago or even 5 years ago. This project will provide the public with a clearer vision of where we are in this extraordinary journey.”