|2004, 22 mins. (AFI)
Director: Seth Manheimer
Writer: Bill Balas
Producer: Christopher Aagaard
Editor: Andrea Trillo
Director of Photography: Christopher Ekstein
Production Designer: Brandi Hugo
Cast: Dylan Purcell, Coby Ryan McLaughlin, Tino Sutras, John Laughlin, Marshall R. Teague
|Noir meets science in Bill Balas's The Pros and Cons of Breathing, in which a young cystic fibrosis sufferer awaiting a transplant decides to roll the dice by executing a robbery that may kill him faster than the disease ravaging his lungs.
Born and raised in Cleveland and currently living in Los Angeles, writer-director Balas began writing screenplays a few years ago, enrolled in the American Film Institute "to sharpen my skills as a storyteller," he says, and has directed several short films and a documentary.
Balas knew people with cystic fibrosis when he was growing up and says there was little need for research on this film. What Balas wanted "was to tell a story that depicted a person with cystic fibrosis as a strong, willful human being. Every other depiction I have ever seen has painted people with CF to be weak, sad individuals who should be pitied. I find that portrayal offensive, especially considering what it takes just to endure an illness as destructive as cystic fibrosis."
To counter that, Balas hit on the idea of making his main character the central figure in a gritty noir tale. This is a man with a terminal disease who, says Balas, "has truly conquered his fear of death. What better showcase for that than a gunfight where he can display his unflinching ambivalence toward his own mortality?"
|Lung Transplants, American Lung Association|
General Information, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
The Pros and Cons of Breathing on imdb.com