Opening 20 Oct 2005
Directed by Frauke Sandig and Eric Black, this documentary reveals the size and worldwide influence of southern California’s human reproduction industry. The sale of frozen sperm and eggs has become California’s fourth largest export industry as highly desirable beach-blond sperm and blond “valley girl” eggs are Federal Expressed worldwide without much oversight or regulation. “As filmmakers we are concerned,” states Ms. Sandig, “because we see a minimally informed public, little critical media coverage and only a small window of time remaining for informed democratic discussion before it is slammed shut by the ever-increasing weight and interest of the biotech industry who would like to have us believe the transition was inevitable.”
“Everyone’s moral code is challenged,” says Sandig’s filmmaking partner, Eric Black. “Our purpose is to show the human and ethical implications of the biotech age. We propose to present these issues through a simple strategy: looking at the future already here.”
We listen to radio talk show host Bill Handel, who is also the owner of a large surrogate mother business, interview Lori Andrews, prominent attorney and author of The Clone Age, who considers L.A. to be the “Wild West of medicine.”
As the issues of infertility can become abstract and technical, we are introduced to a few Californians who are playing their distinctive roles in this new industry: a surrogate mother, the adopting couple which includes the sperm donor, an egg donor, a mother and son whose sperm came from an elite sperm bank, and the owner of a sperm bank.
The film also refers to the fact that it is now possible to patent human genes and therefore there is a possibility to sell the technology to block undesired genes or to promote desirable genes, just a hint of the complexity of where reproductive technology is racing.
Frozen Angels puts an important subject under the microscope as would-be parents are more often choosing genetic donors with beauty over those with intelligence. We have to really think about whether we want a world with lots of surfer guys and Valley girls – like, y’know? India and China are already struggling with a bachelor boom from sexual selection.
The first film produced by this pair was After The Fall that told the story about the rapid disappearance of all remains of the Berlin wall. It was shown on television worldwide and won several film awards, including the German Camera Prize and the Golden Spire from San Francisco’s International Film Fest. (Patricia Ritz)