Faced with an unexpected cancer diagnosis, NYC fitness guru and health ambassador Ilaria Montagnani must embody her philosophy in the most challenging way.

The Story

Hot steam clouds the mirrors, and the floor is slick with water, as if it has just rained. This is what typically remains at the end of Ilaria Montagnani’s class. For the past twenty years, her workshop has reigned as the most popular offering at New York’s Equinox Fitness Club.

“Exercise is my life.” That is Ilaria Montagnani’s motto, and it is a passion which she has shared and pioneered within New York City’s fitness world. She is the first to bring martial arts into fitness classes – an innovation which has propelled Montagnani to the top of her field. Avid exercisers line up around the block each day for the chance to participate in one of Montagnani’s unique workshops.

Montangnani devotes her entire life to being healthy, and to teaching others how to do the same. Her classes enjoy a meteoric rise to success, until she is a highly sought-after instructor with a loyal following. Local and national media alike flock to the Italian-born New Yorker, eager to learn about her creative teaching process.

But everything changes in the summer of 2016, when a shocking turn of events brings her whole world crashing down around her.

She has breast cancer.

Two lumps. Stage 2. First comes shock; then anger; then intense grief.

And then, not long after her own diagnosis, Ilaria receives more bad news: her father has Stage 4 lung cancer, with mere months left to live.

This film explores how fitness training helps Ilaria overcome the seemingly insurmountable challenges in her life.

Her inspirational and emotional journey will motivate others to rise up and face their own battles.


Support Us

We were honored to obtain non-profit status through our fiscal sponsor, Creative Visions Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

We are looking for investors who can support our film. Please contact us for more information.
Please help us to complete the film! Your name will be in the "Special Thanks" section of the film credits.


We are extremely proud that many of us involved in this project are female. One of the
goals in making this film is to celebrate and empower women. Women will not only be
featured in front of the camera, but behind the lens and in the editing room. All members
of our female crew have diverse backgrounds; for example, our protagonist is a native
Italian, our director is from Japan, and the co-producer and editor is American with
Irish and Polish heritage and a production coordinator is french. Because we are
based in New York City our production team is naturally very much representing the
diversity of the city.

Connect with us

Load More
Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.