Elizabeth Hurley Calls Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign Doc "A Call to Arms"

Andy Kropa/Invision/AP
Elizabeth Hurley

Said one "Hear Our Stories. Share Yours." subject: "It really helped solidify, even more, the love and respect that we have for each other"

Twenty years ago, senior corporate vice president of Estee Lauder, Evelyn Lauder, approached Elizabeth Hurley to be a spokeswoman for a new organization called the Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.

"She said, ‘Women all over the world are dying of breast cancer and people aren't talking about it, and I want to change that,'" Hurley told to a packed theater at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on Wednesday night. "I lost my grandmother to breast cancer just before I spoke to Evelyn, and I felt so awful because at that time, she was exactly the sort of person that Evelyn was talking about when she said, ‘We don't talk about breast cancer.'"

Two decades later, the BCA Campaign premiered its first documentary, Hear Our Stories. Share Yours, which spotlights breast cancer survivors and their loved ones in frank and open conversation about the disease.

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"We're all saying, 'Don’t let me be the one in eight women that gets breast cancer," Hurley told The Hollywood Reporter before the screening. "Then, when you really think about it, it's just as destroying to us if our sister got it, or our daughter. But of course, it's just a reality. I think it is really a call to arms. It inspires us even more to raise more money, improve research and get results, which will improve."

Several of the families shown onscreen also attended the Estee Lauder Company and Cinema Society-hosted event — with seats of honor in the front two rows — and took part in a moving panel after showing the 27-minute documentary. "The fact that you guys can share your most personal feelings with us, with strangers, is exactly the sort of thing that Evelyn must have just dreamed about," said Hurley to the families in attendance.

The doc features conversations that are particularly shot. "It's borrowed from Errol Morris," director Jonathan Yi explained. "Basically, you're looking at the lens, but you don't feel like you're into the lens because you're talking to somebody. But no one has ever filmed both sides of that. I wanted to make a way to film both sides so the viewer can be in the middle of that conversation."

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For women and their families who are affected by breast cancer, Hurley offered this advice: "I think the people who took part in this documentary feel a real sense of release from having had things out in the open and talked about. That might not suit everyone, but I can certainly say that for the people who took part in this [film], and who bared their souls, and to family members who went through uncomfortable paths that they might not have gone down, they’re all very grateful."

"I think being part of this campaign really helped both of us process our emotions of how it was to get that diagnosis, go through the treatment and the aftermath," survivor Jeanette Cueva said of she and her husband, David Krakow. "It really helped solidify, even more, the love and respect that we have for each other."

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