Following the success of David Downs’ book of the same name, NZ director Annie Goldson (Brother Number One NZIFF 2011, Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web NZIFF 2017) brings his story to the big screen.
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Tackling boredom, fear and hospital food, David blends honesty, humour and information to chronicle his experience with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. That same transparency shines on camera, charting the long months that changed the Downs family’s lives.
Terminally ill, David makes it to Boston where he enters a clinical trial in cancer immunotherapy called CAR T-cell therapy. For those left with few options, CAR T is the last lifesaver thrown, and for David, the treatment is a resounding success. On his return to Aotearoa, he discovers that the Malaghan Institute in Wellington has started their own CAR T trials, and so begins David’s next great adventure: helping other New Zealanders negotiate their own cancer journeys.
A story of generosity, family connections and courage, A Mild Touch of Cancer explores the science and history of immunotherapy, providing an exciting glimpse into what may very well be the cure for cancer. — Rachael Rands