Arresting Ana

Anorexia Online

A film by Lucie Schwartz

US/France | 2009 | 25 minutes | Color | DVD | French | English subtitles | Order No. 09994


Sarah, a French college student runs a “pro-Ana” blog, part of a global online community of young women sharing tips on living with anorexia. Valerie Boyer is a passionate French National Assembly legislator proposing a groundbreaking bill to ban these online forums, issuing hefty fines and two-year prison sentences to their members. Eye-opening and extremely timely, ARRESTING ANA is the first film on a burgeoning movement promoting self-starvation.

Pro-Ana websites are in countries around the world, but France is the first to suggest regulating them. Combining in-depth interviews of medical and academic experts with video diaries by Sarah— for whom “Ana”, short for anorexia, is a support system, friend, and motivation to stay alive—ARRESTING ANA offers unprecedented access into anorexia’s hidden underground while seeking effective solutions to ending this serious disease.

This well-made documentary, which features an engrossing soundtrack and pro-Ana sites’ shocking quotes and images, is crucial for students and teachers of media studies. It also provides important insight for psychologists, social workers, sociologists, and educators on who controls women’s body issues, how young people interpret eating disorders today, and how legal and free-speech issues are contested in a new media landscape.


“Informative about how the internet has become a ‘player’ in the eating disorder arena…An effective discussion starter for classroom lectures or educational events.”

Marcia Herrin Herrin Nutrition Services, Dartmouth College

“Offers a thought-provoking firsthand account of the meaning that those with the illness find on Pro-Ana blogs and websites…[Also,] raises the universal question of whether personal well-being can be legislated.”

Rebecca Morrow, Ph.D. Dir., Anderson Gender Resource Center, Idaho State University

“Compellingly presents the struggles that anorexia nervosa embroils people in – from those with the disease, to legislators and parents, and to health care professionals who are concerned for their patients.”

Anna Bardone-Cone, Ph.D. Assoc. Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

“A powerful and creative statement about the universal message regarding body image that is passed on to the young women of the world.”

Kelly Clement Mill Valley Film Festival

“Very timely and relevant…. a must see and much-needed film.”

Scarlett Shepard Women’s Film Institute


  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Margaret and Will Hearst Prize for Documentary Excellence
  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
  • DocuWest
  • Femmes en Resistance
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Newburyport Documentary Film Festival


Lucie Schwartz

Lucie is a journalist and documentary filmmaker with a strong background in television production and international reporting. She has lived in Belgium, France, Italy, and has reported in France and in India.

She directed, produced and edited Arresting Ana, a documentary about the potential criminalization of the Pro-Ana movement in France, for which she received the 2009 Margaret and Will Hearst Prize for Documentary Excellence, an IDA Documentary Award Nomination, and a Student Academy Award Nomination. A short version of the film aired on PBS and the full-length version of the film is currently being distributed by Women Make Movies.

Lucie currently lives in Los Angeles, where she has worked on a variety of different projects for both television and the web. She’s worked on the Emmy-nominated TV shows Recipe Rehab and Judge Judy, as well as TLC’s Something Borrowed, Something New. Documentary projects include A Whisper to a Roar and Yahoo! News Remake America.

Before moving to California, she worked as an associate producer for Court TV (now TruTV) in New York City. In San Francisco, Lucie worked in the documentary unit at Lucasfilm. She also produced segments of two hour-long documentaries for MSNBC, Sex Slaves in the Suburbs about domestic sex trafficking, and Boosting for Billions about organized retail crime.

Lucie holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from New York University and a master’s degree in journalism and documentary filmmaking from UC Berkeley. (8/14)


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