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Jim Allison: Breakthrough. Jim Allison on beach in San Diego, 1975. | Credit: Malinda Allison
Jim Allison: Breakthrough. Jim Allison on beach in San Diego, 1975. | Credit: Malinda Allison

Jim Allison: Breakthrough is the story of Nobel Prize-winning scientist, Dr. Jim Allison, and his journey to discover how the immune system can cure cancer. Filmed before his Nobel nomination, the documentary paints a richly entertaining portrait of an unconventional, iconoclastic scientist who for decades waged an often-lonely fight to bring his revolutionary cancer therapy to patients.

The documentary, Jim Allison: Breakthrough directed by filmmaker Bill Haney, narrated by Woody Harrelson, and featuring music by Willie Nelson and harmonica player Mickey Raphael will screen at the Independent Film Festival Boston (“IFFBoston”) in Boston, Massachusetts. The film World Premiered last month at South by Southwest Film Festival (“South by Southwest”) and will premiere at IFFBoston on April 28th at the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA.

“I was interested in doing a documentary that united Americans. We live in a polarized time,” said director Bill Haney. “One of the blessings of Jim’s work is there are no Americans – rich, poor, North, South, red, blue – who are pro-cancer.  By watching the amazing work of Jim and his team of inspiring collaborators, we can see how to work together for the common good. The scientific revolution that Jim has sparked in immuno-oncology is changing the lives of millions of patients and their families, worldwide.”

Jim Allison: Breakthrough director Bill Haney is the co-founder of Boston and L.A.-based Uncommon Productions, and has written, directed, or produced 17 films including The Price of Sugar, which won the audience award at South by Southwest in 2007, and The Last Mountain, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival (“Sundance”) in 2011. He is also a tech entrepreneur and inventor, having started his first company as a freshman in college. Bill is the co-founder and CEO of Dragonfly Therapeutics, a biotech company developing NK-cell based therapies to cure cancer, and the co-founder and CEO of Skyhawk Therapeutics, a biotech developing small molecules to correct RNA splicing disease ranging from neurological conditions to major cancers.  Both are based in the Boston area.

Following its World Premiere at South by Southwest, Jim Allison: Breakthrough has screened at the American Association for Cancer Research in Atlanta, GA; Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC; and Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival in Minneapolis, MN. The film will premiere on the West Coast at DocLands and at the Seattle International Film Festival in May 2019.

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