College of Science and Visiting Filmmakers Series: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Monday, February 26, 2024 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST
Johnson Center, Cinema

Join us for a free screening and discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2017). 

Based on Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed 2010 nonfiction best-seller of the same title, George C. Wolfe's film tells the true story of Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line, known as HeLa. Told primarily through the eyes of Lacks’ daughter Deborah (Oprah Winfrey) and journalist Rebecca Skloot (Rose Byrne), the film investigates how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, treatments for cancer and polio, and advances in radiation and AIDS therapies, changing countless lives and the trajectory of medicine. 

With a supporting cast that includes Renée Elise Goldsberry, Reg E. Cathey, Courtney B. Vance, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Leslie Uggams, Reed Birney, Rocky Carroll and John Douglas Thompson, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a story of medical arrogance and triumph, race, poverty, and deep friendship between the unlikeliest of people.

Nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and another 20 awards. Winner of a Black Reel Award for Television, 2017. 

See the film's HBO website

Caution: This film contains a few strong swear words and brief but disturbing depictions of childhood physical and sexual abuse.

Mary CroweOur post-screening discussion will be moderated by Mary Crowe, Director, STEM Accelerator in the College of Science. An experienced STEM educator interested in improving the learning experiences of students, she has held leadership roles at Florida Southern College, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Xavier University of Louisiana. 

Laina Lockett, Educational Developer: STEM Education Specialist, Stearns Center. Laina has a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University and a M.S. in Environmental science from Towson University. Before coming to Mason, she worked as a Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and a Teaching Assistant at Rutgers. 


A special thank you also to Rebecca Jones, Chemistry Professor in the College of Science, for her remarkable vision and transformational energy. 

This event is presented by Visiting Filmmakers Series; College of Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Visual and Performing Arts; Film at Mason; CVPA's Office of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; African and African American Studies, English Department; Global AffairsHistory and Art History; University Life; and Women and Gender Studies. 

#CollegeofScience #VisitingFilmmakersSeries #FilmAtMason 


For more information: 

Rebecca Jones, College of Science 

Anjuli Singh,, Exhibitions and Office Coordinator, Film at Mason

Cynthia Fuchs, Director, Visiting Filmmakers Series at Mason; Director, Film at Mason

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