Extended 65_RedRoses tells more of Eva Markvoort's cystic fibrosis story
British Columbian Eva Markvoort would have been 28 years old on Saturday (March 31).
Sadly, she lost her valiant battle with cystic fibrosis on March 27, 2010. But not before she shared her poignant story and starting a global campaign for CF awareness.
The documentary 65_RedRoses, directed by Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji, captured Markvoort (23 years old at the time) as she waited for a lung transplant to save her life. Her story garnered an international audience, including support from Robert Redford's son James and followers around the world from Australia to Poland.
It was originally filmed (as well as screened and broadcast) before she died while waiting for a second transplant. A new extended version is being released that continues the story beyond the original version.
When the Oprah Winfrey Network picked up the film, Lyall and Mukerji used the opportunity to add 20 more minutes to the film.
"One of the things we wanted to do when OWN picked up the film for the U.S. is we said we'd really like a chance to go back and...make sure we finish the film properly so that people understand Eva's full story, and what happened since 2009," Mukerji said by phone. "What was kind of incredible was that she had continued blogging and continued to upload videos of herself at key moments. So she essentially left behind all the material we needed to be able to finish telling her story and where she could no longer speak for herself, her parents were interviewed and they kind of take us to the final few moments of her life because they were with her."
Mukerji said the film includes "intimate moments of her life post-transplant" and "her reactions to her declining health".
It'll be screened on Saturday (March 31) at 7 p.m. at UBC's Norm Theatre (6138 Student Union Boulevard) in Vancouver, on Markvoort's birthday. (Mukerji will also be in attendance.) It'll also screen in Victoria at UVic's Cinecenta Theatre (3800 Finnerty Road) on April 17. These screening mark the start of a cross-country tour that will also raise awareness for the CF and organ donor awareness campaign.
A new DVD will also be released on April 15 that will include commentary and interviews with Lyall and Mukerji; footage from Markvoort's Celebration of Life memorial; "A Wish Where The Wind Once Blew", a short film inspired by Eva, directed by Stuart Gillies; and an interview with photographer Cyrus McEachern who shot the photo series for the #4Eva Campaign for Organ Donation and CF Awareness.
The OWN broadcast, scheduled for May 3, will also coincide with the release of the 65_RedRoses #4Eva mobile app (to be available in Canada and the U.S.).
Working on the film has been a literal labour of love for Mukerji.
"The biggest thing for me is that this isn't just a film," Mukerji said. "It feels like a way to connect with our friend Eva and continue to let people be moved by her and the incredible legacy she left behind…. I feel like, in so many ways, every time the film screens, more and more people meet Eva for the first time, become aware of the importance of organ donation for the first time…. It's never felt like a job, I guess. "
For information about screenings, the film, campaign, and more, visit the 65_RedRoses website.
You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at twitter.com/cinecraig.