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Winner of best int'l documentary award hailed as 2020's 'most cheering film'

BOSTON (PRNewswire) -- Director Bill Haney's acclaimed documentary, Jim Allison: Breakthrough, winner of The Washington Post's Top 10 Films of the Year and PBS Independent Lens #1 Rated Documentary of the Year, announced that it has been chosen as Winner of the 2020 Best International Documentary Award at the SILBERSALZ Science and Media Festival.

Praised as "the most cheering film of the year," by The Washington Post, Breakthrough tells the endearing story of Jim Allison, a native of south Texas and an avid blues harmonica player, whose creativity and perseverance landed him a Nobel Prize in 2018 for his revolutionary cure for cancer.

"This is a really cool doc about an extraordinary man by a phenomenal director... I was lucky to get to lend my voice to this," said actor Woody Harrelson, who narrated the film. Caryn James of the Hollywood Reporter adds, "Breakthrough demonstrates that the treatment is not a miracle, but the result of some wild but meticulous thinking by a true medical hero."

"We are honored the SILBERSALZ has chosen Breakthrough as 2020's Best International Documentary" said Director Bill Haney.

"In the age of Covid-19, when we are facing global health challenges that know no boundaries of race or religion, the urgent necessity of inventing novel life-saving drugs makes Jim's story especially powerful.

The FDA, global research universities and major pharmaceutical companies all helped Jim on this path and will also play critical roles in solving Covid-19, but Jim's advances were also built on a culture of truth-telling, fact-based work, selfless leadership and a commitment to purposes above the narrow, the greedy and the personal.

Jim didn't care about how he looked, whether he made any money or what people thought of him. He cared about doing the right thing in the right way. Jim and the unrelenting scientists like him are my heroes – and I'll bet they become yours."

"We're delighted to champion films that celebrate the perseverance of trailblazers and world changers like Jim Allison," said PBS Independent Lens Executive Producer Lois Vossen.

"Jim Allison: Breakthrough reminds us all to keep pushing and fighting if we believe in something, despite adversity. It is a vivid reminder that the path to greatness is seldom easy, but always worthwhile."

About Jim Allison: Breakthrough

Praised for its heartfelt and accessible storytelling of one warm-hearted scientist's quest to find a cure for cancer, Jim Allison: Breakthrough presents a new kind of hero —Dr. Jim Allison, who waged a decades-long struggle to bring a novel cancer treatment to patients worldwide.

The latest documentary from Uncommon Productions and acclaimed filmmaker, Bill Haney, paints a richly entertaining portrait of Allison, a native of south Texas and an avid blues harmonica player, whose creativity and boundless curiosity about the human immune system set him on a trail-blazing path to change the face of cancer treatment.

Among other awards, the film received The Golden Owl from the Bergen International Film Festival, awarded to best research and science documentary.


SILBERSALZ is the first international Science & Media festival of its kind, now in its third year. As a combination of festival and conference, SILBERSALZ makes science accessible in a clear and vivid fashion while simultaneously serving as a platform for the exchange of ideas and mutual inspiration.

The aim of SILBERSALZ is to provide the general public with access to scientific topics and to allow them to ask questions, thereby promoting a lively and active engagement with science in general.

About Bill Haney

Bill is a filmmaker, inventor and entrepreneur. As a writer, director and producer of both narrative and documentary films, he has won The Gabriel Prize, a Silver Hugo, and IDA's Pare Lorentz Award.

Additional awards include a Marine Conservation Award, Genesis Award and awards from Amnesty International and Earthwatch. Bill's portfolio as a filmmaker includes award-winning documentaries on socially important subjects such as coal mining (The Last Mountain, 2011) and worker exploitation (The Price of Sugar, 2007) and his work as writer/producer on Tim Disney's civil rights drama, American Violet.

About Uncommon Productions

Founded in 2000 by Tim Disney and Bill Haney, Uncommon Productions produces documentary and feature films that inspire, enlighten, and engage.

SOURCES: Dragonfly Therapeutics, Inc.; Uncommon Productions, PRNewswire

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