Camila Alves McConaughey and Artist Prune Nourry Bring Powerful Film About Art and Breast Cancer to Austin

“Serendipity” follows an artist’s exploration of her own work after being diagnosed with breast cancer

By Vanessa Blankenship
Photographs by Alex Penrose
Serendipity
Prune Nourry and Camila Alves McConaughey at Austin's Stateside Theatre for a screening of "Serendipity"

When Camila Alves McConaughey gets an idea, she makes it happen.

The model and designer recently spent a weekend celebrating husband Matthew McConaughey’s 50th birthday with friends, including French artist Prune Nourry, when the two women decided to host a screening in Austin of Nourry’s self-directed documentary “Serendipity.”

“This was not planned,” Alves McConaughey says in an invitation for the screening that went out to readers of her lifestyle site Women of Today. “Just two women who looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

More than 150 people showed up on short notice to the screening Wednesday at the Stateside Theatre in Austin to watch “Serendipity” and hear Alves McConaughey and the artist discuss the emotional and intimate film about parallels between Nourry’s work and the events that occurred after she received her breast cancer diagnosis in 2016 at the age of 31.

“This word serendipity kept coming back to me,” Nourry told Tribeza before the screening of the film, which was executive produced by Angelina Jolie, Sol Guy and Darren Aronofsky. “This word for me carries the idea of art and science. And while I was going through the treatments and the illness, I could see all these crazy relations with all the projects I had done.”

Nuorry’s diagnoses came while she was working on a different film about her ongoing art project “Terracotta Daughters,” which addresses gender bias in China and was inspired by the Terracotta Army of Xi’an. Nourry’s mix of sculptures and multimedia tends to explore the female anatomy and the role of women in cultures around the world. “Serendipity” follows the challenges she faces in her own body while showing the connections between her past, current and future art projects.

“You’re talking about dealing with a disease,” McConaughey told Tribeza. “And we’ve seen different movies that show that. But the idea of seeing a movie that shows how to do that through the lens of an artist, which has a completely different perspective on the illness and what’s around it and what caused it and what could have caused it … it’s just such a different experience. So, I think that was something interesting to share.”

“Serendipity” has been featured at The Berlin Film Festival and The Tribeca Film Festival. Special screenings of the film took place in cities around the world, including Austin, New York City, Los Angeles and Paris. Nourry says the film will be available for streaming next year.

“At the end of the day,” Alves McConaughey said, “the most important things are health, love and art.”


Read More From the Arts Issue | November 2019


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