Sun, Sand and Cancer Free

by Andrea Acosta-Duarte



I was living in Orlando, Florida when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on August 22nd, 2017. My life’s number one regret up until then was not pursuing my dream of becoming a professional artist. That year, I was enrolled online in a Masters degree program for Digital Media at Concordia College – New York and I wanted to focus more on the artistic side of it. One of the classes was Documentary Production, and by having just finished my radiation treatments, I wanted to focus the class’ main project on my Breast Cancer journey. It was these events that led to the creation of this mini-documentary.
During the process of creating the film, I wanted to portray not only my emotions and the various ways I dealt with my treatment, but also understand the randomness of the disease. Just like at the beginning of a frightening diagnosis, we want to get our hands on as much information as we can. Later, there are moments where breaks are needed; times to take a step back to let go of certain things, and be open to change; times to heal, and times to look at the experience through a lens of positivity. I had to go through many shots for the film, and assemble them in a way that still made sense. As I struggled to have the film make sense to a wide and diverse audience, I found parallels to my struggle to make sense of my breast cancer journey. Making art and finding visuals to represent the journey for the film was challenging because it forced me to relive some of the hardest aspects of having breast cancer, the battle to overcome it, and those stirrings of fear that never truly leave you.
At the end, making a mini-documentary made me recognize art in a different form through this film, even if it was only 5 minute long. I wanted to create a message of hope, especially to myself every time I watch it.
– Andrea Acosta-Duarte

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