When Mindy McKoin's mother, Gloria, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Mindy recalls the desperation they felt, having to deal with the devastating news while having no comforting informational outlets to turn to.
When Mindy McKoin's mother, Gloria, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Mindy recalls the desperation they felt, having to deal with the devastating news while having no comforting informational outlets to turn to. With only factual pamphlets given to them by the doctors, McKoin researched to see if there was “anything else out there for us to look at to learn more about this horrible disease. There was nothing.” McKoin, a Bastrop native, said the crushing news came at time when her family was trying to overcome another devastating occurrence. “My grandmother [Virginia] died in October 2010,” she said. “My mother was diagnosed in November 2010.” McKoin said her mother's illness inspired her to create something that other's could look to for more than just basic information, but rather inspirational information. With a bachelor of arts degree in communications – T.V. and video from Centenary College of Louisiana in Shreveport, and pursuing her master of fine arts degree in film and T.V. productions from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, McKoin was very familiar with making films. “I've done six or seven short films as assignments when I was an undergrad,” she said. “I've also done a 48-hours film for the Apple Insomnia Film Festival.” McKoin said in order to receive her masters, she had to make another film. “Fight Like a Lady” is the 28-minute short film she made, documenting the lives of three women who've battled breast cancer, one of whom is her mother, Gloria. “You don't write papers or take tests to get your degree, this film was my thesis,” she said. “Once it was done, the thesis committee, which is professors, decided if it was good enough to pass.” McKoin graduated in May. Wanting the film to be more than a grade, McKoin has been taking other avenues to get it seen. “I want women with breast cancer to know they're not alone,” she said. “I want them to see that they have the support of other women.” She recently entered the film in the Arclight Cinemas Documentary Film Festival. “Out of 250 entries, mine was picked to be in the top 20,” she said. “I need to be in the top five to win. In order to do that, people have to go online and vote for it.” McKoin is hoping to receive the support of her hometown, Bastrop. “Living in a big city like Los Angeles, I don't get the support like I would from my hometown,” she said. “I love Bastrop and the people there. Much of my family lives there.” McKoin said her grandmother, Virginia, worked at Bastrop Feed and Seed for many years. “My mother is currently the treasurer for the [Bastrop] Police Jury,” she said. Gloria McKoin is currently in remission from breast cancer. Mindy said after filming her mother's experience, along with the other two women, she wants others to witness the battle they fought, and learn from their stories. “I hope people watch my film and vote on it for two reasons,” she said. “One, is because it's breast cancer awareness month and if they haven't had breast cancer, they know someone who has. The other reason is so women can see that they shouldn't let this disease get the best of them. We're all in this together.” In order to vote for McKoin's film, “Fight Like a Lady,” you must like it on Facebook and Youtube. The film has not been released let, but the film's trailer, which is a little over two minutes, is what will be viewed and voted on. To “like it” on Youtube, visit www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxlbvpDM9TmOwiYhhTLEmBz0xbfCuHLEX&feature=plcp. To “like it” on Facebook, visit www.facebook.com/ArclightCinemas/app173990205980784. Voting ends Oct. 14.