In all my years on this journey, I have never come across anything that more viscerally spoke to me than the film we are about to see tonight. My role model in the field of creating healthy athletes, Dr. Ron Thompson said it perfectly: I watched Beauty Mark twice—once as a ‘person’ and once as a psychologist. This is clearly one of the best films, if not the best, that I have seen on the topic. It is both informative and interesting. This film is a true ‘beauty mark’ for this field.  Haven’t you ever wondered why almost every year at the New York Marathon a new runner sets a record, or at each Olympics the athletes seem to be breaking records left and right? Rupert Sheldrake, an innovative British biologist and author, has an answer for this. He posits that when an athlete breaks a record, it opens the door for other athletes to break the record. These are electromagnetic fields that are said to contain knowledge of all the earth’s past. Sheldrake explains that the morphogenic around the world record is changed by the first person who breaks it, thus making it easier for others to equal that performance by tapping into the new morphogenic field. So inthe same way, as Dr. Northrup suggests in her book, when a woman finds the courage to come out of silence on an issue — be it food, sex, money, relationships, health, spirituality, etc., — she too is breaking the collective field of shame, fear and pain. In other words, each time a woman speaks her truth, it makes other women stronger. Being an athlete takes courage. Walking through challenge takes courage. And creating a documentary about your struggles and victories and travelling the country to deliver your message of health and hope….that takes incredible courage. And it also makes other women stronger.

Excerpted with permission from:
Whitney Post
GoGirlGo!  Women’s Sports Foundation
Eating for Life Alliance

View reactions from audience members after the packed-house showing at the Boulder International Film Festival 2008. Watch video >>

“A fresh, honest film about self-image and the disconnect between our minds and our bodies. Beauty Mark exposes the myriad emotional, cultural and psychological influences that compel us to measure ourselves against an elusive standard of physical perfection-sometimes at the price of our own health. Diane Israel’s story is full of wisdom, hope and humor. An enlightening experience for all ages.”

Lois Dino
Jacob Burns Film Center

“Beauty Mark is an inspiring and powerful documentary that reveals how difficult it is for many female athletes to have a genuinely healthy, joyful relationship with their bodies. We applaud Diane Israel for telling her poignant story. The movie beautifully reveals the factors that ended her career as a triathlete and the indomitable passion that has enabled Diane to regain her health and her love of athletics and to become the role model she is today.”

Marjorie Snyder
Women’s Sports Foundation

“Beauty Mark is a real gem. It is a unique, personal, insightful and powerful film. You have created a film which can touch both the mind and the heart. There are so many levels of nuance in it. But most of all, from my perspective as a media executive, it is just a very watchable and interesting film. On a more personal note, my wife, who is a psychiatric nurse practitioner and professor at Columbia University, believes Beauty Mark is a real tool for the teaching and understanding of family systems.”

Bill Baker
Former Chief Executive Officer, Thirteen/WNET New York

“As V-Day celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year, we’re grateful for the support of artists who try to raise awareness about women’s issues. Beauty Mark talks about the pressures young women feel as they attempt to live up to imposed standards of perfection.”

Eve Ensler
Playwright / Activist

“In this honest, thoughtful, courageous film, Diane Israel and Carla Precht speak to the seductiveness of the beauty and thinness culture and the dire consequences experienced by those who are taken in by it. With eloquent voices, we hear women and men speak of their difficult, but rewarding, journeys when they choose authenticity and define their lives and their selves from the inside out.”

Dr. Brenda Alpert Sigall
Clinical Psychologist & Director, Eating Disorders Program at University of MD Counseling Center

“Social critics have long criticized popular culture, particularly the media, for its toxic emphasis on women’s weight and looks—Beauty Mark treats the subject with uncommon breadth and intimacy…. It’s both inspiring and deeply moving. And unlike some of the other recent documentary depictions of eating disorders, it doesn’t glorify or in any way romanticize the affliction. Here we don’t feel like spectators glimpsing the tragic shrunken aftermath of a victim’s life. Instead Israel shines like a beacon, bringing herself and others on a journey of self-discovery and healing.”

Review in Springs Magazine

“BEAT knows how important it is to change the way everyone thinks and talks about eating disorders, and Beauty Mark is a powerful agent to help bring about that change. We congratulate the filmmakers for their insights and the honesty they have brought to the challenging issue.”

Susan Ringwood
Chief Executive, BEAT (Beating Eating Disorders, The UK’s leading charity supporting people with eating disorders and campaigning on their behalf )

“Beauty Mark is a vulnerable and complex journey story—not just about one woman, but about us all. She has the courage and determination to ask the tough questions—how do our families influence our relationships with our own bodies? How does the culture get inside of our hearts and heads? In what ways do sports serve to make us sicker instead of healthier? How can we possibly get back to self-love? Soul-baring interviews with inspiring change-makers, innovative shoots at a mannequin factory and a spinning class, and great music round out this highly original documentary. Beauty Mark has the power to make you slow down in a life of unconscious racing.”

Courtney E. Martin
Author, Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: The Frightening New Normalcy of Hating Your Body

“It is seldom, if ever, that I send out a mass email to recommend something, but I just previewed the upcoming documentary Beauty Mark, by local triathlete-turned-psychotherapist-turned filmmaker Diane Israel and it blew my mind. It is an incredibly powerful look at how beauty is defined in our culture, with a not-terribly-flattering portrayal of the body-obsessed Boulder fitness culture. It also includes some really inspiring insights from feminist writers (Naomi Wolf, Eve Ensler, etc.) who see beauty in a very different light. I highly recommend it to anyone, but if you are an athlete, or a woman with young daughters (like me) you must go see this movie.”

Lisa Marshall

“Diane Israel’s Beauty Mark really leaves its own mark on the viewer as it reveals the intricacies, complexities and often anguish of living through an eating disorder. She has opened her heart and mind to us in a very thoughtful, inviting and provocative way that humanizes the story of the journey toward recovery as she warmly touches the soul.”

Lynn Grefe
Chief Executive Officer, National Eating Disorders Association

“Thanks for sharing your excellent and moving film Beauty Mark. This is very much an honest, sensitive and balanced production. The insight into Diane’s personal journey is particularly strong. What I really like is that the film does not jump to a trite “here are 10 things to do” type solution. Instead it communicates that this is not an easy issue to resolve. This is a thoughtful, responsible film with a clear message delivered via a powerful personal testimony.”

Martin Staniforth
Dove Self-Esteem Fund

“Beauty Mark tells Diane Israel’s compelling story honestly and openly, and acts as a powerful medium for bringing an important social issue to the public forum. This film is not only moving, but is an immensely effective tool for generating discussion and understanding the underlying issues that can contribute to the development of an eating disorder. No teenager-or their parents, teachers, coaches, and anyone else who loves or works with them-should miss it.”

Natalie Peck
Co-Chair, Jewish Women’s Foundation of New Jersey

“I watched Beauty Mark twice—once as a ‘person’ and once as a psychologist. As I watched the first part (sports/exercise focus), I was saying to myself, ‘My athlete-patients need to see this.’ As I finished the film, I was saying to myself, ‘All my patients need to see this.’ It was painfully, yet beautifully, personal. This is clearly one of the best films, if not the best, that I have seen on the topic. It is both informative and interesting…. This film is a true ‘beauty mark’ for this field.”

Ron A. Thompson
Psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders
Author of Helping Athletes with Eating Disorders

“I really appreciated the balance of women and men defining the problem as a human American cultural issue rather than just a women’s issue…[T] his film will appeal to very broad audiences. It will challenge many people but will provoke conversation, education, and healing. Really beautiful [film]….”

Eva Darrington
Director/Producer, On Bodies documentary

“This courageous movie describes how apparent the eating disorder can be to both the person with the eating disorder and family members, and yet, so eloquently shows the overwhelming complexity for all concerned to address. Diane’s unending belief in the power of love and the possibility for change is palpable.”

Libby Neal
MA, LPC, Therapist, Eating Disorder Center of Denver

“Beauty Mark is a touching and deeply felt film. A personal story at its heart, it becomes an eye-opening experience about the meaning of love—both love for ourselves and the love of family. Few of us know the pain that so many girls go through in order to fit into a definition of beauty that rarely, if ever, exists in the day-to-day world. Who gets to define ‘beauty’ and why? The film answers these questions so well, along with how we push ourselves to achieve the sometimes unachievable. It’s a remarkable story told from one who has been through it all.”

Jeff Rona

“… incredible, powerful, poignant, inspiring, and really well done. I cannot relate to the issues around not eating and obsessive exercise but I could relate to so many of the other issues and the way the movie simply implores a person to look at their unhealthy patterns of behavior and perceptions about ourselves. The movie made me cry, it made me laugh, and it really made me think.

“Thank you so much for sharing Beauty Mark with us and for sharing so much of your life through the movie. You are a remarkable woman and aside from the excitement over working with your Mom, I am so grateful to have met such an inspirational woman. You go girl!!”

Senior Wellness Consultants, Inc.

“All I can say is: YOU ARE AMAZING! I cannot imagine the healing properties this movie must have served for you and what it will do for so many others! I absolutely LOVED IT and can hardly wait to see it out in the public! Please let me know how I can help and I will be checking your website for all the cool things you are involved with! THANK YOU so much for putting yourself out there and taking this risk! The Universe and I LOVED IT and love you!”

Colleen Cooke
Nutritionist and Eating Disorders Therapist

“First, let me say a resounding ‘THANK YOU’ to you and everyone involved in Beauty Mark. As a technically overweight middle-aged woman I am an invisible non-person in a world where the standards of beauty have no relevance to my reality or any of the women I now. Beauty Mark gives us a voice. As someone who has also practiced starvations and purging to lose weight and know MANY other seemingly ‘normal’ women who have done so, Beauty Mark tells a story that is not uncommon.

“…Diane is very courageous to show so baldly how she is NOT cured, NOT perfect and will always be pushing against these diseases that plague most of woman-kind in America. I appreciate this so much more than self-help books and programs that push a ‘cure’ if you just do everything ‘right.’”

Laura K. Murray
Library Implementation Specialist, State University of New York

“Beauty Mark is a wonderfully made film about that line women straddle between excellence and unhealthy obsession…in other words that delicate concept of balance; in this case dealing with athleticism. I loved how the story was grounded in one very interesting woman and her family dynamics but felt the interviews with so many others touched all kind of nuances about this issue I’d never even considered. This film touches on so many issues in this culture, in this time. It’s a powerhouse.”

Jere Martin
Co-Founder, Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival

“Beauty Mark is a poignant and emotional documentary, challenging society’s conceptions about beauty. In a world where our children are growing up with distorted body images, it is refreshing to encounter a filmmaker who is willing to contend with the perceptions of what, and whom, our society considers to be beautiful. Diane Israel’s journey provides a unique perspective about the passage to find self-acceptance within a society that is not currently equipped to recognize beauty in someone who does not fit the mold. Her story is truly remarkable.”

Stephanie Glasgall, 24
Psychology graduate, New York University

“Beauty Mark is a moving and thoughtful film. It weaves the personal story of one woman’s fight to ‘become herself’ with the stories of other men and women who struggle for varying reasons with their own images. The film speaks about each person’s personal experiences and the impact of society. Ms. Israel’s story recounts the role her immediate family and upbringing played in the development of her need to be ‘perfect’ in body and mind. It also highlights how the beauty industry plays a crucial role in such and is dramatically illustrated in the scenes of rows of ‘perfect body’ mannequins. This clearly reinforces the message we as consumers receive, ‘ONE size for all, and all for ONE size.’ The film reminds us, however, how one can ‘fight back.’ I’d recommend it.”

Ilana Gruebel

“I didn’t expect such depth and thoroughness and honesty. I don’t know how you found athletes to speak openly. The people and professionals who offered their perspective were all different and made it very interesting…from the mannequin maker to the woman from the Museum of Television and Radio. Of course the family stuff was crucial. Most life-altering situations affect every aspect of one’s life and it’s not just what is seen at any given moment. I appreciate the human condition and the psychology behind it and I’m always reinforced in my belief that everyone has stuff…no one is unscathed. That’s what binds us.”

Elaine Pardalos
Real Estate Broker

“I really liked Beauty Mark. I think it’s terrific and very uplifting. The story was told well, fleshed out well with anecdotes from likable and knowledgeable ‘experts’ who add very good insights time and again. Diane’s own personal story is very powerful, her family history and present-day interpretations by her and her family were compelling, as were their interactions. The film spoke to me on many levels. Beauty Mark is terrific and really nicely done.”

Susan Price
Director of Alumni, Brooklyn Friends School

“I think the topic is extremely important and very relevant. I think you have found a way in to some very important issues, which will make them accessible and relevant to the average college student. Diane has a very compelling presence in the film, and her life-story certainly contributes to the discussion of the topics presented.”

Eleanor A. Hubbard
Senior Instructor Emerita, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *