A Story Beyond Survival

Story of the Film

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In May of 2004, Liz Oakley was looking for the subject of her next documentary. It had to be interesting, visual and have the potential to change lives. No short order. “I heard about this program for cancer survivors that sounded a little bizarre. Apparently, cancer survivors were paddling boats of ancient chinese ancestry on a river banked by old southern plantations in my home of Charleston, SC. That certainly got my attention”. The day Oakley attended a team practice was transformative. “It wasn’t about cancer. It was about people coming together to move this boat up the river. And at the same time it was all about the same shared experience of cancer.
They were creating a space where it was ok to talk about it…laugh about it.” Oakley and her crew discovered the team was preparing for their first international competition in Victoria, BC. “We bought cameras and jumped on a plane.” Seven dragon boat festivals later (competitions) the fledgling team from the south is heading for the US National Dragon Boat Championships. The film follows the story of seven team members as they navigate the waters of survivorship. Nail-biting competition, intimate revelations and a sport that is a feast for the senses propel this life-affirming film.