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Film to share story of Gladstone woman's cancer battle

Mareika Holmes has recorded her battle with cancer in a short film to be shown at Gladstone Cinemas Thursday October 12.
Mareika Holmes has recorded her battle with cancer in a short film to be shown at Gladstone Cinemas Thursday October 12. Kim Cooke

WHEN Mareika Chauntler, a Gladstone local and mother of two, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, she felt compelled to record her story through photography and film, hoping it would support others facing a similar challenge.

The result, 'Goddess Mareika,' a short film produced by Gladstone-based Film Platter, will premiere next month at Gladstone Cinemas.

Artist Tracey Smith has known Mareika for fifteen years and was instrumental in creating the movie.

"When she was diagnosed, I just said, 'how can I support you?'" she said.

"Really, in my mind, I thought she might say bring a meal around...(but) she said can you photograph my journey and have an exhibition for it and share it?

"When she started telling me about the reasons why she wanted to share it, I said 'I think we can do better, I know a local film maker'.

"So Clifton (Schulke of Film Platter) came on board and I assisted him, I did some of the photography.

"We didn't have a plan, we just recorded things as they moved forward.

"Little did we know that this creative project would be supported by so many people or that the process itself would end up being a major contributor to Mareika's emotional healing.

"I just admire her strength with everything that life throws at her, I think she does that quite gracefully, she's just a beautiful person, ... it's been an absolute gift to be part of it all."

 

Mareika Chauntler getting a plaster cast made of her breasts before a mastectomy.
Mareika Chauntler getting a plaster cast made of her breasts before a mastectomy. Tracey Smith

The film explores the emotional and physical journey of Mareika from cancer diagnosis to mastectomy and beyond.

"I thought to myself, what do I have that someone else can learn from? So I decided to open up and share my story," Mareika said.

Clifton, who donated his time and talent to the project, said: "With 48 women diagnosed with breast cancer in Australia each day, it is vital to get these stories heard".

About five artists donated their time to Mareika's project.

"Eventually we will have an exhibition," said Tracey.

The film will air for the first time at a fund-raising event on Thursday October 12 at 7pm at Gladstone Cinemas with the proceeds going to the McGrath Foundation to provide specialist breast cancer nurses to those in need.

 

IN FOCUS: Mareika Chauntler being photographed by Kim Cooke as part of the process of documenting her experience with cancer.
IN FOCUS: Mareika Chauntler being photographed by Kim Cooke as part of the process of documenting her experience with cancer. Tracey Smith

Mareika will speak on the night.

Tickets are $25 per person at The Healthy Nut on Toolooa Street, Gladstone, or phone Tracey Smith on 0448 748 984.

Tickets include a complimentary drink and nibbles. The film contains mature themes including nudity and surgical results.

Tickets have been selling fast, so book soon.

Film Platter is seeking to have the film played at the Capricorn Film Festival, (if documentaries are included in the categories) among other avenues.

Topics:  breast cancer documentary film premiere


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