Busting Out

design element

Stir it up

A Film That Will Challenge How You Think About Breasts

WINNER 2005 CINE Golden Eagle Award
WINNER 2006 American Library Association, Notable Videos for Adults
WINNER 2006 HUGO, Chicago International Television Festival, Award of Merit
WINNER 2006 Women In Film Seattle, Nell Shipman Awards - Best Documentary

BUSTING OUT wittily, poignantly balances the political and the personal.
-The Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minnesota

...informative, entertaining and, at times, touching look at what it means to have breasts in a culture that values them as sex objects above all else.
-The Seattle Post Intelligencer

In a country where a flash of breast on television can incur a crackdown of puritanical proportions, Busting Out may be the proper antidote.
-International Documentary Magazine

...delves into the American obsession with breasts through a mix of cheeky humor, historical detail and striking intimacy...
-City Pages, Minneapolis

Entertaining and thoughtful...it touches on a number of topics on the general subject of breasts...with wit and candor.
-The Seattle Times

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Busting Out, a new documentary by filmmakers Francine Strickwerda and Laurel Spellman Smith, explores the history and politics of breast obsession in America. The film is a disarmingly honest and intimate exploration of our society's attitudes towards breasts and how they affect women’s health and happiness. Busting Out's great strength is that it manages to combine personal story-telling with devastating analysis, sad case histories with humor, and frank talk of sexual subjects with sweet innocence.

Busting Out challenges both women and men to think about breasts in new ways, question what the culture tells us about breasts, and understand who’s profiting from our attitudes and who is being harmed.

When the film was conceived, breastfeeding rates in the U.S. were extremely low, breast cancer rates were increasing and, despite safety concerns, more women were getting breast implants. Around the country breastfeeding mothers have continued to be harassed or asked to leave public places, and few workplaces accommodate nursing workers. In the midst of production, a half-second flash of Janet Jackson’s breast caused shockwaves across the country further confirming the need for Busting Out to be made.

Co-director Francine Strickwerda was seven years old when she lost her mother to breast cancer. It was the '70s, a time when leaving the house without a bra was considered radical and "breast" was a dirty word, so Francine suffered her grief in silence, confused and ashamed of the disease that took her mother away. First in her fourth grade class to "develop," Francine began a life-long habit of slouching in an attempt to hide the breasts she regarded as the enemy.

"The way I saw it," Francine says, "the boobs of doom had taken my mother. Now they were after me."

The filmmakers unflinchingly examine the good, the bad and the ugly sides of this American icon. From breast-obsessed men shouting "flash those racks!" to the fears of breast cancer and the differences in attitudes among cultures worldwide, Busting Out leaves no stone unturned in its quest to demystify the American breast.

In addition to airing repeatedly on Showtime since October 2005, Busting Out has been shown on television stations around the world. The show had numerous sold-out screenings at film festivals and has been extremely popular at health conferences. It is being used as a teaching tool in university classrooms across the nation. Busting Out has recently been honored with a CINE Golden Eagle and won a spot on the 2006 American Library Association Notable Videos for Adults list. The documentary screened at the 2006 United Nations Association Film Festival at Stanford University.