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Update on “Five Feet Apart”

In November, we shared opposing viewpoints concerning the upcoming movie Five Feet Apart. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) has been receiving comments and inquiries reflecting the variations in reactions to the story line. In response, CFF has added resources to their web site to help people learn the realities of life with CF as compared to the representations for dramatic purposes.

Paula Lomas, MAS, RN, CCRP, Director, Clinical Communications for CFF provided the following information regarding the movie and the resources available through CFF.

As we first shared last October, Five Feet Apart, a film about two teens with CF starring Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson, will be in theaters nationwide on March 22. A book based on the film was published in November. The film and the book have generated significant discussion within the CF community, and we have heard from some care teams and others in the CF community that they are concerned about the accuracy of the story. Themes in the movie include cross infection, lung transplant, emotional wellness, and mortality. One of the main characters in the movie is waiting for a transplant; the other is on a clinical trial for a drug to treat a B. cepacia infection.

The film is a work of fiction and it has been significantly dramatized for the sake of the story. Still, we anticipate that teens in particular may identify with the emotion behind the story, even if it is not medically accurate, or reflect their particular experience.

The CF Foundation was not involved in the production of Five Feet Apart, but we are hopeful that the film will be a positive opportunity to increase awareness of CF among the general public, and to further understanding of our community and the challenges they face in living with their disease. Our goals are to ensure that accurate information about CF is available and to support the CF community – including care centers and people with CF – with resources that relate to key themes in the film.

To that end, CBS Films shared with us that the next version of the trailer will be released Wednesday, January 16 during the much-watched season premiere of Riverdale, the CW series featuring the film’s lead actor, Cole Sprouse. In response, we have created as an informational resource to those unfamiliar with CF. Currently, it contains some facts and basic information on CF, cross-infection, and lung transplant. We will continue to expand these sections in the coming months as we receive questions and once the film is released. We also plan to update the page to include resources for individuals with CF. CBS Films is linking to this page from the Five Feet Apart website.

We anticipate CBS will be promoting the film in cities across the country. We have referred them to the list of accredited care centers to ensure they know where to go for accurate local information. You may want to be prepared for local inquiries regarding your take on the film, its accuracy, and media outlets wanting to be put in touch with people with CF for their perspective. We will continue to update you as more information is shared with us. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.

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