Directed by Steven Bernstein
91 min | 2013 | USA | Rated R
*Post-film discussion with Eric Bogenschutz.
Based on true events, Decoding Annie Parker is the hopeful and touching story of two remarkable women and their 15-year battle against a cruel and insidious illness, breast cancer. Waged on both scientific and emotional fronts, they are drawn together not just by the disease but by their shared determination and unconventional approaches to their research and to their lives.
Annie Parker (played by Samantha Morton) has a personal relationship with breast cancer. Her mother and her sister died of the disease and ultimately she is diagnosed with it too. Naturally affable with an offbeat sense of humor even in the face of her own mortality, she struggles to hold her family and life together, as her body betrays her.
Meanwhile, geneticist Mary-Claire King (played by Helen Hunt) is convinced there is a link between DNA and cancer even if no one in her profession shares her belief. Against the advice of nearly all of her colleagues, she persists in her research and her dogged pursuit for funding that will lead to the groundbreaking study that will join the two women together. Decoding Annie Parker follows the incredible, irreverent, and heartwarming story of how the paths of cancer survivor Annie Parker and geneticist Mary-Claire King intersect. With grace and humor the film chronicles how these remarkable women work to make one of the most important genetic discoveries of the 20th century.
Winner: The Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize—2013 Hamptons International Film Festival, Samantha Morton—Best Actress Golden Space Needle Award—2013 Seattle International Film Festival, Helen Hunt—Best Supporting Actress award—2014 Milan International Film Festival, Aaron Paul—Best Supporting Actor Award—2014 Milan International Film Festival
Eric is a second year graduate student working towards his PhD in the Human Genetics department of the University of Utah. Eric earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioengineering at Montana State University, where he studied hydrogen peroxide consumption of archaea (ancient microorganisms) isolated from Yellowstone National Park hot springs. Currently Eric is in Gabrielle Kardon’s lab in the Human Genetics department working on his PhD thesis project understanding the complex genetics of the common birth defect Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernias (CDH). Eric is interested in how mistakes in genome arise and the consequences of these mistakes in the form of defects and diseases.