Return to tiff.’s home page

Film Description

Film Description


Pink Ribbons, Inc.

Premiering at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival®, Léa Pool’s incendiary and profoundly trou¬bling Pink Ribbons, Inc. begins on a sunny day in San Francisco as thousands of people, primarily women, prepare for a grueling two-day run to raise money for a cure for breast cancer. Those involved are in extremely high spirits, both from the sense of community and the devout belief that they’re engaged in a righteous activity. As the film proceeds and Pool explores the history of breast cancer treatment, corporate fundraising, the rise of some key fundraising bodies and the presen¬tation of breast cancer campaigns in media, each return to the run makes the effort seem more problematic. Pink Ribbons, Inc. focuses primarily on the increased involvement of corporations in fundraising campaigns — which goes as far as outright ownership in some cases — and the impact it’s had on the charities. According to the film, the undue emphasis on awareness and the search for a cure has skewed the types of research being done. A doctor explains how there’s little data on the cause of breast cancer. Which raises the question: how do you cure something if you don’t know what causes it? One of the central issues in the film is the disease’s status as the poster child for what activist Barbara Brenner deems “cause mar¬keting,” a kind of microcosmic variation on disaster capitalism, rife with hypocrisy and awash in money. From car manufacturers to fast food companies to professional sports leagues, corporations have wholeheartedly embraced the effort — but many of the campaigns to raise money have done more for the companies than for the cause. Fuelled by informative and often chilling interviews with activists, patients, former patients and writers (including authors Barbara Ehrenreich and Samantha King, who wrote one of the first studies of the “industry”), Pink Ribbons, Inc. is a ferocious and infuriating exposé, bound to incite discussions about a subject particular to our times.


“Veteran helmer Lea Pool, working from Samantha King's book, won't be making any friends with her full-frontal attack on the corporate co-option of the breast cancer cause. But there are plenty of women who'll want to see it. And they'll be seeing red, not pink.” – Jason Anderson, Variety

Director: Léa Pool
With: Barbara Brenner, Barbara Ehreneich, Samantha King
Year: 2011
Runtime: 98 minutes
Country: Canada
Language: English
Distributor: National Film Board of Canada

Ratings: ON NR / BC NR / AB NR / SK NR / MB NR / QC NR / Maritmes NR


Date Circuit Centre Location
This film has no active screening dates.
Programmers Login