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Fight to Live
Directed by
Barbara Kopple

USA / 2011 / 82

World Premiere

Screening Times and Venues:

Fight To Live, a documentary by Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple, explores the seemingly archaic drug approval process of the Food and Drug Administration. The film follows people suffering from different forms of debilitating, incurable diseases, and the fight they are in to gain access to drugs that may prolong their lives. The drugs they need are not yet FDA approved, and although there is evidence that the medicine is helping those who take it, the FDA makes it nearly impossible for people to obtain drugs that are not approved. Kopple asks the question: Should a person who is dying have the option to take whatever medicine they want, as long as their physician agrees with the decision? Fight To Live shows that when dealing with life-threatening illnesses, gaining access to the best treatments available is half the battle. —Heather Olin
Barbara Kopple is the two-time Academy Award winning director and producer of Harlan County, USA and American Dream. Her most recent projects are Fight to Live, a documentary about the United States’ drug approval and development system, and A Force of Nature, a film about journalist and philanthropist Ellen Ratner, which screened at last year's Woodstock Film Festival. She is currently in post production on a documentary about actress Mariel Hemingway.

Carla Mann Woods began her career at Pacesetter Systems in Business Development and Marketing to research and plan new technology applications and product needs for pacemakers. Later, she joined Advanced Bionics, a cochlear implant company acquired by Boston Scientific. During her tenure at Advanced Bionics/Boston Scientific, she was involved in the business development, product development, and marketing for the BION® microstimulator and the Precision Spinal Cord Stimulator and was the Vice President of Marketing for the Auditory Division. For these products she holds over 40 U.S. patents. In 2007, she became the Vice President of Program Development and Strategic Planning for the Alfred Mann Foundation for Biomedical Engineering to establish the model for creating and operating Alfred Mann Institutes (AMI) at universities.

Hilary Birmingham spent several years working as an associate producer, field producer and director of development for Academy Award winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple at Cabin Creek Films. She also co-wrote, co-produced, and directed the feature film Tully (2000). Tully was nominated for several Independent Spirit awards, including Best Film and Best Screenplay.

Executive Producer(s): Glenn Rigberg
Producer(s): Hilary Birmingham, Barbara Kopple, Carla Woods
Director(s): Barbara Kopple
Cinematographer(s): John Hazard
Editor(s): William Davis
Sound Designer(s): Genevieve Faust

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