Brendan Fahy Bequette Film Series: The Letters

In April 2018, Ireland was rocked by a health scandal that ultimately had catastrophic consequences for the people involved. It was revealed that 206 women had developed cervical cancer as a result of misdiagnosed cervical smear tests. 162 women were not informed of the newly amended results and did not know that the initial ‘normal’ outcome of the tests had been an error. Women from every walk of life - single, married, widowed, with or without children, sisters, mothers, cousins, daughters – were affected, along with their wider circle of friends and family condemning them to a painful, drawn-out, debilitating illness before their demise. And the worst part was that it could so easily have been avoided. 

The film is based on the lives of three fictitious characters, Sam, Cliona, and Mary, from different walks of life who have been caught up in the scandal. Mary is a woman in her 50's who is the sole carer of her elderly mum with late stage Alzheimer's. Sam is a single mother in debt and struggling to raise her four kids and Cliona a single career driven woman who rates low on the autism spectrum that results in anxiety and social awkwardness. Director Robbie Walsh has courageously addressed one of the most serious crises of confidence in the Irish healthcare system encountered in living memory. We will have a live Q&A with Robbie after the screening. This film recently debuted in New York to resounding praise from critics and audiences.

This is the fifth film in The Brendan Fahy Bequette Filmmakers Series, whose family are endowing this series to help showcase young or emerging artists, as was Brendan before Covid and then cancer ended his career. Brendan graduated from Ithaca College in 2018, where he majored in Cinema and Photography, so we will be showcasing work that he would have loved and been inspired by.

The film will be screened in our Michael Flanagan Irish Music Heritage Theater. Admission is $10 for museum members and $15 for nonmembers.