"For all those who missed the film, Breathtaking, be sure and see it when you can. It is a beautiful tribute to Kathleen's dad. The film itself is a great combination of KM's personal style, in her use of the super 8 ( a true tribute to her dad), her experimental aesthetics and the documentary form itself." —Melissa Levin, artist

"Filmmaker Mullen’s skill as a storyteller is once again confirmed. In this instance she deftly balances third-person dispassion with first-person experience that speaks to the heart of anyone who has witnessed a bedside passing."—James Wegg Reviews

BEST OF FESTIVAL, Audience Award at CLIFF, Canadian Labour International Film Festival 2011

BREATHTAKING: A personal investigation into the present-day use of asbestos

Director: Kathleen Mullen
Canada, 2010, 43 min. Documentary

Breathtaking produced and directed by Kathleen Mullen, Toronto filmmaker and programmer, takes on the asbestos industry through a moving and personal investigation into her father’s death from an asbestos-related disease and the current present-day use of asbestos in Canada and internationally.

Valued since the beginning of time and commercially mined since the Industrial Revolution, asbestos was coined the 'magic mineral' for its extraordinary capacity to protect against fire, and was used in everything from brake pads to oven mitts. Discovered to be carcinogenic, the use of asbestos was banned in many countries and the use of it limited in others. Canada, along with Russia and several other countries, still mines asbestos and exports it for use in developing nations.

With moving clips of her dying father’s legal testimony, family photos and Super 8 home movies as a narrative springboard, Mullen takes the audience on an investigative journey from her family’s home in British Columbia to Quebec, India and Detroit, painting a global, yet still personal picture of the many lives affected by the continued use of asbestos.

“As I began Breathtaking, everyone to whom I mentioned I was making the film responded with a personal story of their own,” Mullen says. “I soon realized that this story was a lot bigger than just my own family’s grief.”


Filmambiente: International Environmental Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro

August 31–September 6, 2012

Go To


The 9th Annual Green Film Festival in Seoul In competition

May 9 - 15, 2012, Seoul, Korea

Go To

The 15th Annual Festival Cinemambiente Environmental Film Festival

May 31 - June 5, 2012, Turin, Italy

Go To

The 2nd Annual FilmAmbiente – International Environmental Film Festival

August 31 - September 6, 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Go To

29th Festival international du film d'environnement

February 9 and 10, 2012, Paris, France

Go To

Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLIFF)

Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Ave, November 26, 6:00 PM

Go To

Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLIFF)

Wilson room, Kingston Public Library 130 Johnson street, November 24, 6:00 PM

Go To

Screenings as part of CLIFF in Nanaimo, Prince George, Vancouver W2 Media Cafe and Victoria in British Columbia, Fort Smith and Yellowknife in the North West Territories, Halifax Bus Stop Theatre in Nova Scotia, Kugaaruk and Iqualuit in Nunavut, Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island and Peterborough, Ontario, Kinston and more in Ontario

York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies

140 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, 12:30—2:00 PM

Go To

In Sarnia, Sept. 8, VOCV and the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers are hosting a free documentary screening of "Breathtaking" at the Sarnia Public Library, at 6:30 PM.

Join the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) on Sep. 26 at 6:30 pm EST for the global livestreaming premiere of the documentary film "Breathtaking" by Kathleen Mullen

Go To"

Green Screen Enviromental Film Festival & Salon

October 28-31, 2010, Venice, CA

Toronto Premiere at the Royal Ontario Museum

February 24, 2011

co-presented by Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) and Planet in focus

Supported by:
Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), The Canadian Autoworkers (CAW), Toronto Labour Council, Prevent Cancer Now (PCN), Right on Canada and Women's Healthy Environments Network (WHEN)

Ottawa Screening

April 4 at 7 PM

Ottawa Public Library, 120 Metcalfe
OTTAWA Auditorium, Room 1A/1B

This special screening is co-presented by the Ottawa & District Labour Council (ODLC) and the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW).

Screening supported by the Ottawa & District Labour Council (ODLC), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Public Service Association of Canada (PSAC), Building Trades,The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), The Canadian Autoworkers (CAW), Prevent Cancer Now (PCN), Right on Canada, and Women's Healthy Environments Network (WHEN).

Community Sponsor:

Hamilton Screening

May 17, 2011, 7 PM Doors Open at 6PM Discussion with director & special guests to follow Hamilton Spectator Auditorium, 44 Frid St. Hamilton

This special screening is co-presented by the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre (WAHC), the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW), and the Hamilton and District Labour Council (HDLC).

Vancouver Screening

June 16, 2011, 7 PM Fifth Avenue Cinemas, 2110 Burrard Street

Sheila Mullen, widow of Richard Mullen, will open the event. Organized by the the B.C.Federation of Labour and Toxic Free Canada.

Sponsors: BC & Yukon Territory Building and Construction Trades Council (BCYT-BCTC), the International Association of Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers, Local 1118 and the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), Local 891. The expert panel will be facilited by Mae Burrows of Toxic Free Canada and includes: • Kathryn Seely, Canadian Cancer Society • Wayne Peppard, past Executive Director, BCYT-BCTC • Doug Jones, President of United Steel Workers, Local 480 • Tracy Ford, daughter of Dave Ford, died in 2008 from Mesothelioma

Vancouver Screening

July 19 at 7 PM, Van City Cinema, 1181 Seymour Street Vancouver, Special Guests in attendance

Co-presented with DOXA and CANSAV

San Francisco Laborfest FilmWorks United

July 29, 7:45 PM


For Educational Sales, McNabb Connolly


Private home use: $25 (includes shipping and handling)

To order for private home use or to organize a screening Contact

Paypal Account:


Richard Mullen is one of thousands who have been and continue to be similarly affected by exposure to asbestos.

No longer legal to be used in North America, it is exported to other countries with disastrous health impacts to workers and ordinary citizens there.

Canada continues to SUPPORT THE export of Chrysotile asbestos to developing nations. See how you can help....


See the Article about Breathtaking in Samaritan Magazine:

See the Review about Breathtaking in Now Magazine, James Wegg review and Toronto Star:

Image of Kathleens mum and Dad having tea