now. Not when they tell me how much it means to them that this story be told. They are the ones who
keep me going.”
When Mike first set out to write FACE THE SUN in the summer of 2006, he wasn’t thinking about a
feature film that could provide a voice to millions of individuals and families who have faced down acancer diagnosis. Nor was he thinking about the opportunity to raise money and awareness for thefrontline cancer organizations working around the clock to help families cope financially and emotionallywith the devastating illness. He wrote it to pay tribute to Diane, a close family friend who had just losther battle to breast cancer at the age of thirty-four.Five years earlier, Diane had detected what she thought were symptoms of the disease and hadimmediately headed to her family doctor to get checked out
only to be told that she was too young to
concern herself with breast cancer. It wasn’t until a couple years later, when she was pregnant with her
second child, that her breast cancer was finally diagnosed. But by then, it had already spreadthroughout her body and despite all the conventional and alternative treatments that Diane and herfamily desperately sought out, it was too late.As he watched from the sidelines, Mike was struck b
y the enormity of Diane’s loss, by how much her
entire circle of family and friends was impacted by the disease, and by the huge financial toll thataccompanied the emotional devastation. But he was also taken back by the strength that emerged inDiane and her husband during her cancer battle, and was amazed by their newfound focus onembracing life and experiencing each moment to the fullest. He knew he had to write something to
celebrate Diane’s life, and to try to make sense of it all for her family.
“I was teaching filmmaking and had been an actor for a long time but had never sat down to put pen topaper on a project of my own,” says Mike. “I wrote every day and finished it in six weeks. It’s hard to
describe. I felt like Diane was there with me
almost like she was channeling it. It was an astonishing
feeling to complete some of these scenes and say, `I’m done. I don’t have to write that again.’ At nopoint did I worry about rewrites. It just came.”
Mike finished the screenplay in June of 2006. The power of what he had written surprised him, andrecognizing that it was a story that might resonate with people who had experienced cancer, he decidedto show the screenplay to a couple of friends in the Vancouver film industry. They, in turn, put him intouch with investors who agreed it was a film worth funding. A top director and cast signed on to theproject soon after.