NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — A documentary about two Arkansas women who died from metastatic breast cancer is expected to premiere in 2024.
Danielle Keller is the director and producer of the documentary “So Much More.”
The film follows the lives of Kelli Davis and Lisa Cooper Quinn as they not only advocate for metastatic breast cancer research but also live with it.
“There’s not a lot of money going into research for metastatic breast cancer. And so, it just became an important cause for me. And these women became good friends and people that I love and will forever cherish,” Keller said.
Metastatic breast cancer, also known as stage 4, is when the cancer spreads to other parts of your body.
Keller started filming in 2017 after she met Quinn and Davis.
“It’s pretty heavy to watch people in chemo and going through treatment,” she said.
She said her and her crew had to take a break because it became too much for them.
They wrapped up filming in 2019, but Keller said she had to find an editor to finish the film, one who didn’t have a personal connection to the women.
To fund this film, pay their editor, camera operators, and travel expenses, they had to fundraise.
They also received money from some partnerships and used their own money.
Quinn was a teacher at Springdale High School in Arkansas.
Keller describes Quinn as outgoing, loving, and the life of the party.
Davis worked at Walmart in Arkansas and informed people about metastatic breast cancer through social media and traveling.
Keller describes Davis as passionate, intelligent, and savvy.
She had the chance to film Davis in West Virginia while she was in hospice.
“I put down my camera phone and my camera and I just sat by her bed and I picked up her phone and I read text messages to her. I read messages to her from social media of just people telling her how much they love her,” Keller said.
Keller described this moment as one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do and filming this documentary, overall, was heartbreaking.
“We met a lot of people beyond just northwest Arkansas who have metastatic stage four breast cancer. And we fell in love with these people. I mean, they became friends of ours and we watched them die,” Keller said.
Quinn was 41 years old when she passed away from metastatic breast cancer. Keller says it was heart-wrenching for her and the film crew.
She traveled to other parts of the United States for this documentary.
During her travels, she met someone who was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer when they were in high school.
“She had a double mastectomy on the day of what would have been her prom, her senior prom. And we met her when she was about 22 or 23 years old on our travels. And I remember we just walked away. It hits you in spots in your gut and in your heart, and you’re just like, ‘What can I do?”” Keller said.
As a result of filming, Keller developed depression, anxiety, and had to go to counseling, but she says it made her see the world in a different way.
“It’s made me appreciate life more. It’s made me understand cancer more. It has also helped me to realize that life is really short and we need to live life to the fullest, whether it’s spending more time with our family,” Keller said.
She will enter the film into multiple film festivals, both local and regional, and will do a premiere in Northwest Arkansas.
Keller’s goal for this film is to make money for metastatic breast cancer research and have people watch it on a streaming platform.
“I’m ready for people to meet these beautiful, vibrant, wonderful women who made an impact in so many lives of people,” Keller said.
Keller says viewers will be entertained, informed and heart broken.
“Honestly, this can be really hard to watch, a film about two women who, you know, have already passed away. But we want people to learn. We want people to understand what this disease is, and we want people to move to action,” Keller said.