Making Babies

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The Film

Close-up of a middle-aged Caucasian man wearing headphones speaking into a radio microphone and gesturing with his hand

Sunset silhouette of a jet plane making a landing; small horizontal lights light up crisscrossed power lines and poles

At a gas station: a close-up of a Caucasian woman, with dark shoulder-length hair and bangs, sunglasses on her head, standing next to her car pumping gas

No one really has the guts to say it, but if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn’t we?... We have begun to play God in so many intimate realms of life that we could not turn back if we tried.
 —Dr. Gregory Stock, UCLA School of Medicine

FROZEN ANGELS investigates the future as it exists today in Los Angeles. Following a cast of bigger-than-life, often funny, characters, the viewer encounters wealthy sperm bank presidents, expectant surrogate mothers, gene researchers, radio talk show hosts, NASA scientists, infertile suburban couples, just-born and now-adult designer babies, blonde, blue-eyed egg donors and feminist lawyers. The film warns of the coming dangers this brave new world poses to race relations, dividing society into genetic haves and have-nots.

Two scientists at work in a laboratory, wearing lab coats and facing each other, amidst a table filled with test tubes and machines

The Sundance Film Festival describes FROZEN ANGELS as “a mesmerizing work that is not so much a science film as a startling conduit into the future of the American Dream, where ‘perfect children’ can be added to the shopping list.” The film makes the connection between individual desire and a society that would seek to design its children. It takes a rollercoaster ride through Los Angeles, a city better known for freeways, film sets of epic proportions, silicone implants, Governor Schwarzenegger, Muscle Beach and Disneyland ...for elevating the superficial to an art. But in the Mecca of the “Body Perfect,” one in six couples are now infertile and Angelinos lead the world in the number of fertility clinics per capita. With no government regulation to restrict them, L.A. is home to the world’s largest egg donor agency, largest sperm bank and largest surrogate mother agency. Nearly all these businesses' customers are wealthy, and almost all are white.

With the potential to screen for over 2,000 genetic diseases coming on line in the very near future, who would risk having imperfect children the old-fashioned way? And what corporation would insure them?

FROZEN ANGELS is a highly visual and stylized film, often more reminiscent of fiction or a science fiction film than documentary: the fluid camera is almost always in motion on a steadicam, in automobiles or helicopters. With no narration, the characters tell their own conflicting stories; viewers are asked to contemplate their own thoughts about the coming of the new eugenics and the world we will leave for the children being created. No one’s moral code is left unchallenged.

Find out more about reproductive technology options >>

Read the filmmaker Q&A >>

Top photos (L-R):
Bill Handel, radio talk show host and director of the Center for Surrogate Parenting
The sun sets on Los Angeles International Airport
Surrogate mother Kim Brewer

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