April 29, 2011

Tribeca Film Review: DONOR UNKNOWN

Out of the hundreds of films featured at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, SR's Chante opted to see "The Donor Unknown" which she describes as a social experiment in the truest form - what happens when a sperm meets a few eggs...the answer is a redefinition of what a family really is.

This documentary directed by Jerry Rothwell is an incredible emotional roller coaster that, at times during the film, makes you forget that this is not some Hollywood production but a real time, real talk experience that opens the still secretive sperm donor world and the afterlife of the sperm when new life is created.

The film delves immediately into the donor process from the "rooms" of inspiration at the clinic to the cryno system freezing the little guys until they are selected out of thousands for fertilization to the detailed donor criteria that the perspective mother (or, in the case of same sex parents, mothers) can select from to narrow down the father of their child and so forth.

The central character of this film is not the donor but one of his offspring (JoEllen) who wanted to know if she had any half siblings from this donor so she signed up at a donor sibling registry website with very little information about her father - a very generic profile and his donor ID number. That's how the story began and as many know in the donor world the ability for offspring to connect with their donor fathers and/or siblings is either virtually impossible or doesn't exist in many states.

After last night's final showing at the festival, the film's production team did the usual Q&A updating the eager audience - for instance,  at least 15 siblings have connected, the siblings are still in touch with Jeffrey the donor and some siblings have even met family members of Jeffrey's.

Be sure to check http://donorunknown.com/film-home for this film's upcoming show dates in your area! Congrats to the film for winning the Tribeca Online Film Festival Best Feature award!

>> Check our previous blog on the Film Festival which ends this Sunday!