Leslie Ann Epperson
United States, 2016, 11 min.
This film is family friendly.
High above the desert in Tucson, against a backdrop of the Santa Catalina mountains, a young woman stretches upside down to the ground far below. She is smiling, seemingly unaware of the danger of dangling from a crane. Celebrate Now is an emotional documentary about acrobatic performer Jennifer Coughlan. Her fierce determination to soar, stilt, or samba with courage and grace is impressive. Her day job as a nurse never seems to get in the way. She seems immune to risk. In truth, Jen uses the lessons learned on high to help face a more constant threat, for Jen is coping with terminal breast cancer.
I first met Jen Coughlan while recording a performance for another documentary. Jen was dancing on stilts, which takes great strength as well as talent. Over the years, I came to know Jen not only as a disciplined and powerful dancer but as a warm and gentle soul. I was shocked when she recently disclosed a diagnosis of terminal breast cancer, for she still performs. I asked to film her story. With typical bravery, Jen reveals her pain and her joy inspiring me and others to try to celebrate each moment of life we are offered.
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