The life-changing process of filming a face transplant

The life-changing process of filming a face transplant

The team behind The Face of a Stranger talks about how their lives were changed by filming a face transplant. 

Winner of SCINEMA’s best film award, The Face of a Stranger presents a tale of risk and triumph. The film follows the story of two men: Maurice Desjardins who is missing half his face, and surgeon Daniel Borsuk.

The surgery was life-changing for not only the two men, but also the film crew that was following Maurice’s journey, every step of the way.

face of a stranger_SCINEMA

Film director Geneviève Turcotte, says the process of creating the film changed her life, not only professionally, but on a deep, personal level as well.

“Having privilege access not only to the operating room, but to the patient’s hope and struggles as his identity is being transformed, is a truly unique experience.”

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, as a director but also a forgettable experience on a personal and human level.”

For the team, the most humbling part of Maurice’s story were the odds that he was up against.

The surgery was risky, with only a fifty percent chance Maurice would survive.

For the film’s writer Danny Lemieux, these odds changed the way he looked at writing – he was telling the story without knowing if the main character would survive.

If things went right, then Danny would have a story of a medical triumph for the ages. If things went wrong, it would be a story of tragedy, of emotional heartache, and perhaps a question of medical morality.

“When we first embarked on this journey, we had no clue how it would end. The only thing we knew for sure as that Maurice was taking a big risk,” says Danny.

“He had a fifty percent chance of not making it through the surgery. That statistic alone is enough to give you the chills.”

Thankfully Maurice pulled through the surgery just fine.

Now, a little over a year later, Maurice’s recovery is full of highs and lows, but his body hasn’t rejected his new face.

In an interview with CBC news, Maurice said that despite the low points in his recovery, he doesn’t regret the surgery at all.

“It was worth it,” he says simply.

You can catch Face of a Stranger and a compilation of the award-winning films and festival entries in an amazing two-hour viewing experience, celebrating science on the big screen. SCINEMA premiere screenings will take place at cinemas around Australia from 28 May to 13 June. Tickets on sale now!