About the project
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Brest Friends is a local Emirati foundation created by breast surgeon Dr. Houriya Kazim in order to raise awareness for breast cancer in the region. Dr. Houriya always found that breast cancer was a very taboo topic in the UAE and MENA region and as a result not discussed at home which meant that girls often were not aware of what to look out for or the importance of screening tests. In 2008 the Brest Friends foundation commissioned Ti22 Films to produce a couple of videos to help educate women in the region – the first was to be a video explaining what to look out for and how to check yourself and the second to support women who may have found a lump. A TV commercial was also commissioned to raise awareness for the videos during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was important that these videos were authentic and real and spoke to different women. We decided to feature the stories of real life breast cancer survivors who had been treated by Dr. Houriya herself. We featured five women, four of whom were survivors – one from the UAE, Pakistan, Iran and India and our fifth lady was from Lebanon. We filmed each lady in her natural setting telling her story and also recreated scenes and created a ‘home’ for each of them by building a set in our studio – filming all studio scenes over two full days. We also filmed five different language versions of the films, with each woman speaking in her mother tongue. The TV commercials took a more mainstream approach featuring a wide cross section of women of different ages and nationalities emphasizing the importance of women and in turn the importance for women to check themselves. The two main films won Ti22 Films our very first World Medals at the New York Festivals International Television and Film Awards in 2008, winning two Gold World Medals in the categories of ‘Public Information’ and ‘Sociaety and Social Issues’ and two Silver World Medals in the categories of ‘Directing’ and ‘Cinematography’.