She’s the self-proclaimed queen of semi-homemade, having become a household name thanks to her popular and long-running Food Network show, “Semi-Homemade Cooking With Sandra Lee.”
Lee’s cheerful and festive attitude radiated through the TV as she easily decorated for any occasion, and she always made room for cocktail time.
Then, everything changed in March 2015 when Lee, now 52, was diagnosed with breast cancer following a routine mammogram.
A couple of months later she started filming her doctors’ visits as she decided how to proceed with treatment, eventually capturing on camera her double mastectomy, the grueling days that followed in the hospital, her recovery, reconstructive surgery, and subsequent efforts to start raising awareness for early detection.
Those seven months of filming have resulted in “Rx: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee,” available now on HBO.
Intimate, emotional, and important viewing, Lee was filming so she could go back to watch for herself, not knowing while filming what would come of it.
After spearheading an epic, 18-hour documentary on the Vietnam War, acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns has turned to more personal subject matter — one that knows him very intimately, too.
Burns tackles the famed Mayo Clinic in his next film, exploring the history of the innovative Rochester, Minnesota-based hospital that has been dubbed “The Miracle in a Cornfield.” It has treated luminaries such as the Dalai Lama — and Burns.
The first time Burns went, he was immediately impressed by the level and detail of his medical care, like the patient was at the center, not the doctor.
“I began to get curious about why this was so different from any other health care experience I’d had,” Burns said.
The result is the two-hour documentary “The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science,” which starts with the hospital’s birth during a tornado in 1883 and ends with the modern-day Mayo, state-of-the-art facilities over several campuses that treat up to 14,000 patients in 24 hours.
“The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science” premieres tonight on PBS.
Experimental documentary “Cielo,” directed by Canadian Alison McAlpine with cinematography by “A Fantastic Woman’s” Benjamin Echazarreta, humbly marvels at the vastness of the night sky over the Atacama Desert in Chile.
The region is so remote, so removed from city lights, it makes Borrego Springs look like Las Vegas, revealing a multitude of stars very few people ever see with the naked eye.
Balancing science, folklore and spirituality, the film blends kaleidoscopic night shots, time-lapses, and organic effects with observational portraits of desert residents, algae collectors, miners, and cowboys alongside scientists and “planet hunters” working the giant telescopes at Las Campanas, La Silla and Paranal observatories.
The best way to experience Tim Wardle’s documentary, “Three Identical Strangers,” is to do so without knowing a single thing about it.
So before proceeding any further, let’s just get this out of the way: It’s an excellent movie, and you should see it.
For those still here, I’ll try to steer clear of the film’s most shocking revelations. But there’s no getting around the central premise, which itself is fun to discover.
The movie opens in 1980, with 19-year-old Robert Shafran of Westchester County, New York arriving at Sullivan County Community College in the Catskills. It’s his first day at that school, and yet everybody on campus appears to know him and call him “Eddy.”
A fellow student, starting to realize what’s going on, grabs Robert and drives him to the Long Island home of 19-year-old Eddy Galland — and Robert comes face to face with himself. Or rather, his exact doppelganger. Eddy and Robert, it turns out, are identical twins, separated at birth, now brought together by an amazing coincidence.
So, they get newspaper stories written about their startling reunion whereupon a third person shows up: David Kellman of New York City. Now there are three identical young men — triplets.
Each of them was apparently sent to a different home by the same adoption agency, without any information given to their new families about the existence of the others.
From there the story goes absolutely bonkers, taking twists that send things spinning not just in another direction, but practically into another dimension — one far more paranoid and tragic.
Ken Burns has checked into Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic plenty of times as a patient when he gets his annual checkup, but last Wednesday he was strictly in the delivery business, offering a sneak preview of his upcoming documentary, “The Mayo Clinic: Faith, Hope, Science.”
The two-hour film won’t debut on PBS until Sept. 25, but roughly 500 Mayo Clinic staffers, selected by lottery, watched more than ten minutes of footage with live commentary from Burns, the Emmy-winning auteur behind “The Civil War,” “Jazz” and “Baseball.”
“This is the quintessential American story,” said Burns, who received a standing ovation after Mayo’s version of an afternoon at the movies. “The principle at work here was both males and females working together with Midwestern ethos. That’s something special here.”
Prolific documentary filmmaker Liz Garbus just debuted her new New York Times docuseries “The Fourth Estate” at this month’s Tribeca Film Festival, but she’s already got another brand-new feature ready to go.
Her latest film, “A Dangerous Son,” which premieres May 7 on HBO, chronicles the stories of three young children with mental illness, and the struggles their families endure to get them help even when resources are limited and support is in short supply.
The film follows its three subjects — ranging in age from ten to 15, all with different mental health issues — as they cycle through counselor visits, medications, hospitalizations, and even encounters with law enforcement as they attempt to find some peace and normalcy.
The film is making its debut during Mental Health Month, and it looks like the kind of personal endeavor that could shed some serious light on a subject in need of more understanding.