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Producer and Photographer Release Raw Film About Cancer Battle

Purpose of Allison W. Gryphon's "What The F@#- Is Cancer? And Why Does Everybody Have It?" photo series between artists from Hollywood and Beverly Hills is to put the realities of cancer up front and center in order to inform and inspire.

Allison W. Gryphon. Credit: Isaac Matthew White
Allison W. Gryphon. Credit: Isaac Matthew White
A Hollywood filmmaker who overcame her battle with breast cancer collaborated with some of the industry's top talent, including a Beverly Hills photographer, to release a raw, first-of-its-kind story in January to document her journey.

In her directorial debut Allison W. Gryphon brings in What the F@#- Is Cancer? And Why Does Everybody Have It? on a near-zero budget.

It all started when Gryphon was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer. Like so many, she was pissed and wanted to know exactly what she was about to face. The 38-year-old movie veteran, who's resided in L.A. since 1992, turned to Netflix hoping to find a movie that would help her understand what she was about to go through, both physically and emotionally. The movie didn’t exist and she couldn’t believe it.

Gryphon's film gets to the practical facts about what a cancer diagnosis really means and how to get through it.

She was diagnosed on April 13, 2011. Nearly 11 months to the day she went home having physically recovered from three surgeries, 4.5 months of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of daily radiation. Gryphon said the emotional recovery took another 13 months and now she's in a very good place, yet also a very different place than where she began.

As she was going on her journey, she collaborated with esteemed Beverly Hills photographer Isaac Matthew White to document her process from diagnosis to recovery. The result is a series of raw, powerful, and artistic black and white images, many which are featured in the film.

"One of my immediate reactions to the diagnosis was to do a photo series," Gryphon tells Patch. "I was diagnosed Wednesday and by Sunday my dear friend Elissa had set a meeting between Isaac and I. I wanted to show the process honestly, beautifully, physically and emotionally. We connected immediately. Neither of us knew what was going to happen, but it was clear we were the perfect match."

Between May of 2011 and April of 2013 they did eight shoots that covered every emotion and physical transformation that Gryphon went through. The ultimate plan is to get the still images in an art gallery and get them made into a book to help inspire strength in other cancer patients and survivors.

"This movie is incredibly special on several levels," she said. "I made the film with my caregivers while I was going through treatment and finding my footing as a 'survivor.'"

The movie, her cancer treatment and her Hollywood family are all intertwined on the production.

"This has been going on for two-and-a-half years," she said. "To be sending it out in to the world as a team is both surreal and beautiful."

What The F@#- is Cancer? is the film Gryphon wanted so desperately to see when she was diagnosed with cancer.

"I was scared," she said. "No one should ever be that scared. My hope is that with the information and perspective in this movie we can remove some of the fear for people faced with a cancer fight."

For more information on Gryphon, read her blog on The Huffington Post.

For more information on the film, watch the trailer and to make a purchase, visit The Why? Foundation's website.

For more information on White, visit his website.

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