(LOS ANGELES) — Helmed by a female director and tackling the “Big C,” the intimate vérité cancer documentary, "Sunshine, Noodles and Me," has been selected as official selections in three upcoming film festivals -- that is, the Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF) in Austin, Texas (August 13-15, 2015); the 4th Annual Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival (GCUFF, September 17-14, 2015) and the 8th Annual Kingdomwood Christian Film Festival (KCFF, October 1-4, 2015) in Atlanta, Ga. (Buckhead), respectively. Earlier this year, the film made its world premiere during Black History Month at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles.
Co-directed by Joyce Fitzpatrick and Brian Shackelford, “Sunshine, Noodles and Me” tell the heartwarming story of breast cancer survivor Cheryl Ash-Simpson, 52. It gives an honest portrait of her battle with breast cancer and her determination to beat the disease. In 2009, the Indianapolis native was diagnosed with Stage IIA breast cancer just three days before her wedding. And not only was she preparing for her nuptials, but she was also planning a big move to Southeast Asia to begin her new life with her husband, Richard, who re-located to Malaysia for a new job.
“Sunshine, Noodles and Me” chronicles Ash-Simpson’s treatment, loss of her hair, and her new lease on life in a country, far, far away. The documentary was shot on location in Malaysia, Singapore, Indianapolis and Dallas. Interestingly, Ash-Simpson’s mother, now 78, was diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer at the age of 69; but today, both women are surviving and thriving.
Blessed, bald and beautiful, Ash Simpson took her story to a national platform with an appearance on the “Today Show,” as part of its October 2014 #PinkPower campaign in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Based in Malaysia, the international trade compliance executive, traveled halfway around the world to be a part of the sisterhood of women in pink -- which also included television personality Joan Lunden -- all fighting the good fight, against breast cancer.
“Every breast cancer survivor has a story,” said Ash-Simpson. “I wanted to document my battle with this disease, and show that you can go through adversity and still have a wonderful life, filled with joy and happiness. The diagnosis of breast cancer is serious and challenging; but it’s a wakeup call to embrace life to the fullest, every single day.”
"Sunshine, Noodles and Me" also premiered on KLCS-TV, an LA affiliate of PBS on June 23, 2015, recognized as National Pink Day. The color pink is associated globally with breast cancer awareness.
To view the trailer of “Sunshine, Noodles and Me” on Vimeo, visit http://vimeo.com/108857924
To view Ash-Simpson’s segment on the “Today Show,” visit http://www.today.com/video/today/56162431#56162431
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Ash-Simpson served as executive producer on the documentary. “Sunshine, Noodle and Me” is co-directed and co-produced by Joyce Fitzpatrick of FlatCat Productions and Brian Shackelford of TunnelVizion Entertainment. The producing and directing duo have collaborated on a variety projects, including several TV pilots, web series, and documentaries. Their web series, “Identity Confirmed,” won third place in the Indi.com mobile challenge of producing a three-minute film shot with a mobile device. It was also an official selection in the 2014 SoCal Film Festival. Also, their mockumentary, “Animal Control,” nabbed the Golden Kahuna Award from the 2012 Honolulu Film Festival, and showcased as a Programmer's Choice selection at the 2012 Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF).
About FlatCat Productions | Joyce Fitzpatrick, producer, director, writer
Joyce Fitzpatrick founded FlatCat Productions as a music video director, before moving onto writing and producing short films and telling her own stories. Her credits include the screenplay "Feeding Time," a science-fiction/thriller, represented by The Gersh Agency (TGA); as well as the short films "Waiting For Supermen?!" "Kill Me!," and “Go With the Fro.” She also produced the documentary, “Discovering Mary,” a labor-of-love project that highlights the life and times of Mary Fields, nicknamed “Stagecoach Mary,” the second woman and first African American female mail carrier/stagecoach driver in the West for the United States Postal Service (USPS). Fitzpatrick has worked for various networks and cable television, including E! Entertainment, Black Entertainment Television (BET), the Discovery Channel, ABC, NBC and the former UPN (now the CW).
About TunnelVizion Entertainment | Brian Shackelford, producer, director, writer, editor
Filmmaker Brian Shackelford is a veteran of television and film. His credits include “The Bad News Ballers,” “Getting’ Da Munchies,” and “Watch What You Prey For.” Being a huge fan of animation, Shackelford created and wrote the animated project “Porn Editor.” The project became an official selection in the 2008 American Black Film Festival (ABFF), and was later signed to a two-year option with HBO. He returned to the film festival circuit the next year, screening in the Hollywood Black Film Festival (HBFF) with the dramatic short film “Ungrateful” and the documentary “The Latin Rap Conference.” The documentary went on to win honorable mention in the 2009 SoCal Film Festival. This year, Shackelford was selected as one of three finalist to compete in the McDonald’s Lovin’ Video Competition, launched at ABFF.
Both FlatCat Productions and TunnelVizion Entertainment have several scripts in development with a few represented by The Gersh Agency in the genres of comedy, thriller and horror.
Photo credit: Group shot of women in pink on the “Today Show.” Photo courtesy of the “Today Show”/ Facebook.