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Virtual Press Page.


This page is dedicated to press and promotional materials for Pro-Ana, the film. For distribution inquiries, please contact Maurice Hall at

Download an electronic press kit.


Production stills.

Director of Photography Joseph Panwitz and Director Ward Roberts create powerful images that deepen the story.

A word with the director.

When Shawn sent along the shooting script for Pro-Ana, I was equal parts fascinated and horrified. The reality of such a community existing in today’s society seemed impossible. How could individuals come together and consciously aid one another in behavior so blatantly destructive to their bodies? The answer was clear... body dysmorphia is a disease. A disease that needs a much greater understanding so those in its grip have the absolute best chance of breaking free. I hope this film will instill in its audience an awareness of pro-ana, leading to a constructive dialogue on how best to help those who are afflicted. And for those who are afflicted, I hope this story gives them strength and encouragement in knowing they are not alone.


Ward Roberts

Iris & #ThePowerWithin.

Pro-Ana, the film was largely inspired by Producer Iris McAlpin's work with #ThePowerWithin social media campaign.


In February 2015, Iris launched Instagram campaign #ThePowerWithin on @irismcalpin. In it, she discusses the daily issues faced by those recovering from eating disorders and other mental illnesses, and shares the tools and tips she's picked up on her road to happiness.

Iris first began struggling with depression at the age of 9, developed disordered eating behaviors at age 12 and, by the time she was 16, she had a full-fledged eating disorder.

Her self-destructive behaviors went almost completely unchecked for years, and she kept her struggles largely to herself. As Iris progressed through recovery in her 20s, she began to see her unwillingness to speak out about her experiences as part of a larger problem.


Her intent with #ThePowerWithin is to spark a global movement toward awareness, acceptance and support for everyone affected by psychological disorders.


Pro-Ana, the film is now another aspect of Iris’s work to increase global awareness and bring attention to a significant challenge faced by sufferers of body dysmorphia and disordered eating: the twisting of the language of support into “pro-ana.”

The writer's wrinkle.

I'm In the spring of 2015, my friend and colleague Iris McAlpin and I were once again discussing her work with #ThePowerWithin social media campaign, the mission of which is, in part, to create a forum of acceptance and sharing for recovering sufferers of body dysmorphia and eating disorders. On this day, however, my questions to her were more probing than usual. At a certain point, I couldn’t proceed without confessing I’d started conceiving a short film sparked by our discussions.


I wanted to write about a young woman who, if she was similar to me, would go about her disorder in a very focused, logical goal-oriented way.I was surprised - yet not surprised - when Iris then told

me about an entire subculture in the body dysmorphia (BDD) community called “pro-ana” whose adherents do just that.


The information I uncovered while researching pro-ana was disturbing. This subculture’s tenets are formalized and passionately espoused across regularly updated websites, Tumblrs, social media pages, and web journals. It is a codified denigration of self to elevate an impossible ideal. Yet, the most disconcerting discovery was that the credos resonate: they’re couched in twisted and appealing logic; they borrow familiar language from motivational, spiritual and religious teachings; and they utilize powerful, affecting imagery – an iconography.


Pro-Ana struck me very clearly as a religion, a cult more specifcally, and that’s how it’s treated in our flm.Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder. Logic doesn’t enter into it. Similarly, disordered eating is an addiction. Logic doesn’t enter into it. Pro-ana is a cult. Logic – you know. It takes tremendous strength to decide to free yourself from any one of these things. Only then can you begin to recover. Tat is the story we wanted to tell.


Shawn Kathryn Kane

Deleted scenes.


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What About Brian
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