Burbank residents share their experience with cancer in comedy film

Burbank residents share their experience with cancer in comedy film
Burbank residents Brooke Purdy, left, and Doug Purdy star in their film, “Quality Problems,” which is being screened at the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Monthly Film Fest on Saturday. (Courtesy of Savannah Bloch / Quality Problems LLC)

When most people receive the news that they have cancer, they usually try to figure out what can be done to overcome it.

However, when Burbank resident and screenplay writer Brooke Purdy was told she had breast cancer, she told her husband, Doug Purdy, who is an actor, to start filming it.


That dynamic is what led the couple to direct and star in their film "Quality Problems," which is a fictional comedy based on how they dealt with Brooke Purdy's diagnosis.

The film will be screened at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Monthly Film Fest.

"At the time, it helped make me not be a victim anymore," Brooke Purdy said. "By finding the humor in any situation, I believe, helps anything. Both with our family and the poster family in the film, it's just a family dealing with problems with love and laughter."

Brooke Purdy was diagnosed in 2008 and later that year had a mastectomy. She said she had to take medication for five years after the surgery before being cleared by her doctors.

Though the film is a fictionalization of the actual story, Brooke Purdy said they incorporated into the film home movies that were shot back in 2008 for the flashback scenes.

Because it was also an independent film, the Purdys enlisted the help of their son and daughter, who play characters based off themselves.

"There was no one actually better to tell the story," Brooke Purdy said.

She said she knows the film was an ambitious undertaking for both herself and her husband, but she added she felt compelled to make the film for her husband as a love letter thanking him for the support he gave her during her battle with cancer.

"When you're dealing with cancer, everybody focuses on the patient," she said. "A lot of the time during my diagnosis, my main worry was if my kids will be well taken care of and fed. My husband was a superstar and dealt with that, and no one ever checks in with the spouses to see how they're doing."

The New Filmmakers Los Angeles Monthly Film Fest takes place at 1139 S. Hill St. in Los Angeles on Saturday. Tickets are $15 plus a fee for an all-access pass or $5 plus a fee for just one of the films being shown that day.

Twitter: @acocarpio