Filmmaker Barry’s new work inspires hope

SKETCHES: The life of Charlene Maslamoney is celebrated on film.

SKETCHES: The life of Charlene Maslamoney is celebrated on film.

Published May 21, 2015


Arts writer

AWARD-WINNING documentary filmmaker Shelley Barry’s latest offering is something of a ‘labour of love’. It’s a tribute to her friend - artist, activist and writer, Charlene Maslamoney – who succumbed to cancer in 2013. I’m Not Done Yet! is a 48-minute documentary that celebrates Charlene’s work in the community, while laying bare the project she worked on from her hospital bed.

The collaboration involved Muizenberg artist Gabrielle Le Roux, who sketched Maslamoney in the last few months of her life. Each painting includes text from Charlene written by her mother, Noreen Maslamoney.

More than 100 000 South Africans are diagnosed with cancer each year, and some (like Charlene) are looking at alternative methods to complement (or in some cases, to replace) their prescribed treatment options, like using Vitamin C drips.

Barry says, “It all started a month before Charlene passed. She called me and simply said, ‘Bring your camera and come and make a film about me.’ I obliged and the initial filming started, but sadly we had to stop just a few weeks later when Charlene passed.”

With the film, Barry will also promote the book Maslamoney wrote after she was diagnosed and living with cancer, to help fulfil her dream of helping cancer patients gain access to costly Vitamin C drips.

Maslamoney’s book, I’m Not Done Yet – Allowing Possibilities is a simple, insightful journal.

The book is an account of living with cancer and also a guide to good nutrition – which Maslamoney directly attributed to prolonging her life.

The film will screen in the Isibaya Room at Artscape on Saturday at noon, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm.

Maslamoney, who grew up in Rylands and lived in Observatory, dedicated much of her life to improving the lives of marginalised people, particularly abused women and children. She worked with the Big Issue, the Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women, Grassroots and Place of Hope where she used art therapy as a catalyst for healing. She was diagnosed in 2010 with a duodenal ulcer and treated for one year. A subsequent check-up revealed that she had stage four cancer, and was given four to six months to live. However, she defied the odds, exploring all alternative health options and lived for two more years.

Barry has become known for eloquently telling the stories of artists who use their craft to uplift their communities, and has already documented James Matthews and DJ Mr Shakes.

Her work has been screened at The Tribeca Film Festival and Encounters International Film Festival. Barry explains, “I have had no funding to make this film. It has been a pure labour of love, which I hope will inspire people to always reach for hope, even in the most difficult circumstances. Through her process of dying, Charlene taught many of us how to live. She really wanted her book (and her experience) to help others.”

l Tickets: R50, 079 781 9563. To buy the book, 021 692 2797.

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