An Abbreviated Life

Sarah is 18, leaving home and has cystic fibrosis.
Dad is in the Army so the family moves around. Mum cares – as mothers do.  First a daughter, then a son. This should be a perfect family, but a genetic inheritance of life threatening cystic fibrosis changes all that.

Following the life of Sarah Hitchings, an attractive and occasionally stormy teenage girl through the window of film is both a privilege and an education. Her life appears normal in so many ways, but the extra (physical) baggage she has to carry everywhere, the medication, feeding tubes and equipment, is a constant reminder that this is no ordinary life.

The emotions that show through many cracks in the fragile veneer of an adolescent leaving home, going to college, meeting a boyfriend, dealing with the death of a friend then her own deteriorating health don’t all come from the story side.

Directors Anna Cottrell and Jan Jeans have crafted a thoughtful and beautiful documentary which does not dwell on matters designed to tug the heart strings. It simply shows life as it is for a well adjusted and functional family and makes it clear there is no such thing as ‘fair’ in matters of health and longevity.

Sarah’s life expectancy is 32 years. On the positive side, this is ten years more the doctors gave her at birth. But medical technology is improving all the time. Hopefully it will advance again in time to make a difference so running against the tide can be done on the beach instead of like this.

"Congratulations on capturing what is a very moving tribute to a very special girl. I strongly believe through this work once again the Arts Community has shown what an important place it has in bringing awareness and providing insights to issues faced within the community."

Dr Faten Zaibak, The Stem Cell Research Laboratory
The Department of Pathology - The University of Melbourne

Finalist DOCNZ Festival "...a thoughtful and beautiful documentary" DOCNZ

NEW ZEALAND 2008 / 45min.

Directors Anna Cottrell, Jan Jeans / Producer Anna Cottrell, AC Productions
Camera: Ivars Berzins, Jan Jeans, David Paul, Mairi Gunn
Sound: Scott George, Ken Saville, Eugene Arts, Tim Brott
Editor: Owen Ferrier-Kerr
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