Edinburgh Biomedical Ethics Film Festival


I'll be part of 2 panels on Eugenics, the first movie is GATTACA. Here's the full programme"

Eugenics: Science Fiction or Future Reality?

Biomedical Ethics Film Festival on the topic of Eugenics 20-22 November 2009 – Edinburgh Filmhouse - 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 9BZ Box Office Tel: 0131 228 2688

Should society create the perfect human race? Is this already happening? Why should parents not seek to have the perfect child? These are some of the questions which will be asked in a three-day biomedical ethics film festival taking place in Edinburgh between the 20th – 22nd of November 2009. At the end of each film, a discussion will be taking place with a panel of 3-4 invited experts in bioethics, science, law, medicine and politics who will support, but not take over, a debate lasting 30-45 min with the general public attending the film.

Friday the 20th of November 2009 – 17.45 hrs

Homo Sapiens 1900 - Swedish Documentary in English Directed by Peter Cohen (1998) - 88 min

This documentary reflects the birth and rise of the eugenics movement in the early 20th century. At this time, it was generally accepted in a number of countries including Germany and Russia to justify ‘weeding out’ those individuals who were considered as an undesirable burden to society. Saturday the 21st of November 2009 – 13.00 hrs

My Sister’s Keeper - Drama, USA (2009) - 109 min

Sara (Cameron Diaz) and Brian Fitzgerald (Jason Patric) have just been informed that their young daughter Kate will die of leukaemia. Because of this, the doctor suggests that the parents try an unorthodox medical procedure to create a new child in a test-tube who would be a perfect match, as a cell and tissue donor, for Kate. However, at age 11, and when this new child is asked to also give a kidney to her older sister, she decides to sue her parents for the right to decide how her body will be used.

Sunday the 22nd of November 2009 - 13.00 hrs

Gattaca - Drama, USA, Director: Andrew Niccol (1997) - 112 min

In a future society, the wealthy can choose the genetic makeup of their children and people are designed to fit into whatever role is decided before birth. But one of the natural non-improved young men, Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), who has several serious defects, develops a different outlook on life with his pre-ordained fate.

Sunday the 22nd of November 2009 - 15.45 hrs (Three short films)

Eugenic Questions – Documentary Directed by Angel-benito Garcia-Anta (2009) - 15 min.

What are some of the questions being asked by members of the general public in Scotland about eugenics? This short documentary, made specially for the film festival, will seek to understand some of the issues raised.

Who's afraid of designer babies? - BBC Horizon Documentary (2005) – 50 min

What is a 'designer baby' and can we really make one today? This edition of Horizon aims to cut through the hype and distortions to get to the truth. The film looks at three techniques often linked to alarmist headlines about designer babies: preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), gene therapy and cloning. The documentary asks if any of these technologies will really give us the ability to hand-pick the genes of our children.

The Gift - BBC adaptation of the play of the same name (1995) - 38 min

Ryan is a carrier for a genetic condition that will kill his big sister. When he grows up to become a geneticist, he finds that both he and his wife are at risk of having a child with a severe genetic disorder. Thus, they decide to choose which embryo will develop into their child. However, when Ryan selects an embryo free from the debilitating gene, he also secretly opts for a child with special athletic abilities. Once discovered, Ryan’s actions prompt conflict and anger.

The film festival is organised in partnership with: (1) the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics,

(2) the Edinburgh Filmhouse (venue for the event), (3) the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland Branch of the British Science Association and (4) the ESRC Genomics Forum at