P.O.V. Documentary “In the Family”: One Woman’s Journey Through the Unpredictable World of Predictive Genetic Testing

“At the age of 27, filmmaker Joanna Rudnick tested positive for the BRCA mutation. Joanna now faces an impossible decision: remove her healthy breasts and ovaries or risk incredible odds of developing cancer. Armed with a positive test result that leaves her essentially “a ticking time bomb,” she balances dreams of having her own children with the unnerving reality that she is risking her life by holding on to her fertility. IN THE FAMILY follows Joanna as she takes us on a journey through the unpredictable world of predictive genetic testing.

Turning the camera on herself, Joanna bares her conflicting emotions about preventative surgery and the potential consequences. Turning the camera on her new relationship, she and her partner capture a young couple falling in love in the shadow of the mutation. Turning the camera on the company that owns the patents to the BRCA genes, she questions their control over access to the test. Along the way, she looks to other women and families dealing with the same unbelievable information.

Intensely personal and timely, IN THE FAMILY is a groundbreaking investigation that attempts to answer the question: How much do you sacrifice to survive?”


Producer/Director: Joanna Rudnick

Co-production: Kartemquin Films and the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Date of Completion: February 2008

Running Time: 90 Minutes

US Broadcast: PBS/P.O.V. will air the film on Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 10:00 P.M. (to have a reminder sent to you by email, click here, then click on the “Send Me A Reminder” link)

Filmmaker’s Website: http://inthefamily.kartemquin.com


Quoted Source: IN THE FAMILY – How much do you sacrifice to survive? (Synopsis), Press Kit, IN THE FAMILY website, accessed July 16, 2008 (Adobe Reader PDF document).

Comment: Visit the filmmaker’s website for more information about the film and upcoming screenings, by clicking on the link above. A brief video excerpt of IN THE FAMILY is provide below.

POV Website Note: “Want to hold a screening of In the Family in your community? If you are an organizer, a teacher, a young person using media to reach your peers or a PBS station employee interested in planning free local screenings of P.O.V. films, apply through P.O.V.’s Community Network and we’ll loan you a copy of the film (for free!) along with a toolkit including a discussion guide.”

Additional Resources:

P.O.V. – In the Family by Joanna Rudnick | PBS 2008