“Nothing is as it used to be. Not my dreams, not my hopes. It is like a puzzle that has been scattered. And there is no way to make the pieces fit anymore.” says dancer and choreographer Sharon Marroquin.
While pursuing a graduate degree in Film Production at the University of Texas in Austin, filmmaker Chithra Jeyaram met Sharon Marroquin, a Mexican American dancer who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Sharon was totally devastated by the diagnosis.
Confronted with her mortality, angered and frustrated over her inability to prevent the disintegration of her body, Sharon began to make sense of her journey through dance. And Chithra, filmed her life and the creative process that allowed Sharon to escape to a realm that was not confined to physical limitations, disease or the responsibility of rearing a 6 year old for 18 months. Chithra ended up with 210 hours of beautiful footage and she spent the next two years editing it to a strong 68-minute film called “Foreign Puzzle”
The documentary film, Foreign Puzzle is the story of Sharon Marroquin, a Mexican-American dancer & choreographer living in Austin, Texas, and her roller coaster journey with breast cancer. She begins to explore the uncertainty about life and her fear of death through the creation of a ninety-minute dance titled, “The Materiality of Impermanence.” The dance becomes Sharon’s only outlet and the choreography allows her to escape to another realm that is not confined by the pressure of the disease, child-rearing, teaching, and running a home as a divorced parent. How the creative process shapes Sharon’s perceptions of life and death forms the narrative arc of the film. At its heart, the film is about love, living in the moment and using art to heal the body and mind. https://www.foreignpuzzle.com/
Once completed Foreign Puzzle will be able to elicit empathy and initiate discussions on various topics associated with breast cancer, human relationships and the power of art and healing. The resilience of the central character, Sharon, to push through the insurmountable hurdles and create a beautiful, raw and honest dance that embodies the brutality of the disease and the beauty of the human spirit will move every viewer. Dali, Sharon’s 6 year old son, is a breath of fresh air in the film and their relationship and unconditional love would elicit a strong visceral connection for anyone viewing this film. This film is also inspirational for breast cancer survivors, advocates, caregivers, dancers, artists, art therapists, parents, and Latinos.
Young women with breast cancer are a largely under-recognized demographic, lacking targeted education and services. Also, breast cancer is the most diagnosed and number 1 cancer killer among Latino women. This film serves as an important educational tool for young survivors, particularly in the Latino community.
The filmmaker is crowdfunding on Kickstarter (https://kck.st/1vA5kMW ) to raise much needed funds to complete the film and get it to audience around the world. Today, we live in a world rife with conflicts, disease and despair. From Americans protesting in #Ferguson to the Yazidis fleeing Iraq and West Africans battling Ebola, more and more people on this planet find themselves let down, feel hopeless and depressed. Often commoners find the scope of their problem too large to comprehend and feel no action is adequate to heal their wounds.Occasionally, shocking death of celebrities like Robin Williams highlight the plight of people who suffer in silence. But a simple “Hello, How are you doing?” or a note of encouragement can have a huge positive impact and bring a smile to their face.
Foreign Puzzle, has come up with an inspiring way to reach out to those who are battling physical, mental and socially life altering challenges. Origami cranes used in the film symbolize hope and healing during difficult times. In that spirit, the film’s Kickstarter campaign wants to send 1000 handcrafted Origami cranes with personalized inspiring messages to 1000 people in 30 days. (https://vimeo.com/103615206)
The project intends to deliver a message of hope and resilience, raise awareness about the emotional issues we face and initiate a meaningful dialog on breast cancer and power of art in healing. It is inspirational for breast cancer survivors, advocates, caregivers, dancers, artists, art therapists, parents, Latinos and anyone who has faced a life challenging situation. Raising money to complete the film is not the only priority. The project is equally invested in sending messages of hope and compassion to people in our communities. They hope to reach their goal by the end of the campaign on September 12, 2014.