Pink Ribbons Inc. Sounds Like the ‘Roger & Me’ of Breast Cancer Fundraiser Films

Here is a link to the screening dates & places for Pink Ribbons Inc.

For those who haven’t heard of this documentary, here are a couple of reviews from the movie site.

Praise for Léa Pool’s PINK RIBBONS:

“Indignant and subversive… Resoundingly pops the shiny pink balloon of the breast cancer movement/industry, debunking the “comfortable lies” and corporate double-talk that permeate the massive and thus-far-ineffectual campaign against a disease that claims nearly 60,000 lives each year in North America alone.” – John Anderson, Variety

“Powerful and disturbing.  A no holds barred look at the ‘breast cancer culture’.”
– David-Elijah Nahmod, Bay Area Reporter

“An important film whose message goes beyond the single issue of breast cancer…Pink Ribbons, Inc. challenges us to ask harder questions, to be skeptical.”
– Jocelyne Clarke, Point of View

I haven’t seen the film yet but will try to attend the Chicago screening. I do hope that the film is respectful to all sides. It’s easy to make fun of a big pink target. So I hope it is thoughtful without being mean. Stay tuned!

11 thoughts on “Pink Ribbons Inc. Sounds Like the ‘Roger & Me’ of Breast Cancer Fundraiser Films

  1. Katherine:
    I guess I should start by saying *spoiler alert* and that someone may not want to read this until they’ve seen the documentary themselves.

    I saw the film in Huntington, Long Island this week and it’s quite powerful and thought provoking. I liked the first half of the film best, particularly the metastatic breast cancer support group from Austin Texas, who spoke about what it’s like to live with metastatic disease. The film is wonderful at exposing pink washers and the damage done by the pink ribbon culture defining the breast cancer conversation. There is humor in the film and tears.

    I guess where I was disappointed is that to me not enough emphasis was given to research. Where does all the money go that is raised by Komen and Avon walks? It would have been great if they pointed out that Komen over the last several years has spent only 20-23% of the funds raised on research (and only 15% in 2011). Alot of the money esp for Komen goes back to the local chapter for programs and mammograms, but that’s not researching a cure. (Of course the overhead for maintaining the big pink machine has to be substantial, too–not cheap to be lighting up all those monuments.)

    The film does criticize that research has been ineffective and un=coordinated among orgs and government agencies, which is true and a good message to get out there. All those people in the film doing the marches, said they were helping fund the cure, so you feel bad they’ve been hoodwinked into a cause where very little of the money raised actually goes to research and the results and effect of the research that has been funded by the pinks is not really clear.

    The conclusion of the film and Breast Cancer Action, who is the main spokesperson, is that attention instead should be directed to environmental causes of breast cancer. While this is a worthy cause, we live in a toxic world, and finding a carinogenic chemical or ingredient in a product still doesn’t explain to me why one person gets cancer and another doesnt or why one person’s cancer spreads and another;s doesn’t. The film laments the rise in cancer cases, but isn’t this also attributable to the power of the mammogram diagnosing more cases? ( but not necessarily ones that will lead to death.) The number of people dying from bc has remained stable the last 10 years, which says to me no progress on the important research and not necessarily a boom in environmental causes. Breast cancer has been around since the time of the Pharoahs. It’s not new or due solely to the industrialized world.

    I am a member of MBCN-Metastatic Breast Cancer Network and our platform is to fight for treatments to extend life and make breast cancer a truly chronic disease, so I thought it was ironic that in the film Barbara Brenner of BCA, whom I do admire for all her work, argued against the “medicalization” of the bc population, while Nancy Brinker claimed she would fight for “more pink” until bc was a chronic disease like diabetes and hiv/AIDS. Talk about having the tables turned!

    I also thought that some attention should have been given to the issue of what happens when the pink ribbon is exposed? Where do people turn with their fundraising contributions? How are we really going to “take back the ribbon”, as the film promises? Komen has already seen a drop in race signups and donations, which may have been siphoned off to Planned Parenthood for now, but it is a real concern that many will just say enough with bc, i’ll find another cause or donate to my local organization. Barbara Brenner lamented that Americans love to “throw money” at a problem, but, to me, this is precisely what we need–just that the money needs to go to research that is co-ordinated, effective and targeted on stopping metastases and stopping bc to begin with.

    I would add that my reaction to the film may have been colored by the BCA speakers who introduced the film at our screening and followed up with their comments afterwards and were heavily biased in favor of local action and environmental causes. How fracking affects breast cancer, I’m still not sure, but that was one of the points raised!

  2. I love the premise of the movie and plan to attend in Atlanta this summer. I have though for a long time that “something is broken” with a “pink” system that endorses perfume made with known carcinogens.
    I think it’s disgusting that only a tiny percentage of the money raise goes to finding cures for Stage IV BC. Koem has clearly gotten too big and people (like me!)are sick of the pink and are ready to see results.

    I love and I have chosen to support my local program that gets funds to help actual people that I can see and talk with.

    It’s time for this movie!

  3. Laurie says:

    the producers of the movie were extremely ambitious. they really tried to touch on everything – and still keep the length reasonable. that being said, i really liked it. and i think that it does a good job of educating people who’ve not really thought about these issues before. for what it’s worth, here’s a link to my review (i hope this is OK to do):

  4. This is a “story” that needs to be told. Maybe it’s not entirely perfect, but it’s a step, no several steps, in the right direction. I cannot wait to see it.

  5. Thanks for your comments, Laurie and Nancy. You are right–this is a story that needs to be told and I think it will be an eye-opener for many people. I think in my case, I was so psyched about seeing it that I had unrealistic expectations that it would say everything that I wanted to say. (Hey, make your own movie)
    I’m glad they’ve added play dates and I’ve heard that a DVD/netflix deal may be in the works, which would be great for most people who live outside the metro areas. Sadly, the film I saw in Long Island had only about
    30 attendees.

  6. chemobrainfog says:


    I was one of the two people with a microphone in that theater. There is a DVD which will be available in September….. I would love to have a conversation with you. I have been trying to find someone who was in that audience. My blog link should be attached with my email address….. I also contacted you on Facebook. I DO want to talk…. **For Sure**….. I hope you see this here or get my FB message…..

    Katherine…. MY buddy…. thank you for posting this…. you enabled me to connect with one of the people in the theater where I saw Pink Ribbons Inc.



  7. chemobrainfog says:

    I just left a message on your FB page…. I have been trying to find you since that night in Huntington. I was one of the the two people holding a microphone that evening.

    Your questions were not answered and I felt awful.

    I am glad you commented here and I hope you get one of these messages and contact me, either via my blog or by replying to my FB message….. Don’t want to post any other personal info on Katherine’s blog even though I consider her to be a friend…. and I’ve committed to being her Fearless Friend……

    Hope to hear from you……

    All the best,

    ps-if two comments show up here… it’s a glitch with my sign in thing…..

  8. (CJ) Dian Corneliussen-James says:

    I have not yet seen the film and so cannot comment on it. Is there a reason it has not yet been released on DVD? To have a film of this magnitude showing, but to not be able to view and assess it for such a long time is very disappointing. Is there any way the process can be sped up?

    • CJ….. DVD is coming in September…… screening now… wide release in June…. email me if you want more info….. you may be able to get a copy from the distributor.

  9. if you’re in Chicago, they’re hosting a screening the first week of August

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