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Frozen Angels

Frozen Angels
Bill Handel in "Frozen Angels"

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 01/2004

“It’s easier to open a sperm-bank than a pizzeria,” says Bill Handel, owner of the world’s biggest agency for surrogate mothers located in Los Angeles.

No holds are barred in California’s reproduction dream world, the perfect child comes with the promise of college degree, manners, healthy genes, athletic body, correct gender and skin color, all chosen from a catalog. It’s a designer’s creation. Man plays God. There are egg-brokers always looking for attractive female co-eds, willing to sell their eggs. You can order sperm from Nobel Prize laureates, eggs from Mensa-Club-members and/or rent a womb from a young, healthy surrogate mother. This child could have as many as five “parents”. One sperm donor could father hundreds of children in the same city: what if two were to fall in love?

In California there are more procedures possible and allowed than anywhere else in the world: free market rules and little control. Lori Andrews, prominent lawyer and author of The Clone Age calls it the “Wild West of medicine”.

Following a cast of characters involved in the wonderland of human making, Frozen Angels examines the personal history of several Los Angelinos and their city’s role in this brave new world.

“As filmmakers we are concerned,” says Frauke 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 - in the state of California.”

Frozen Angels is the second collaboration between Sandig and Black. Their first film, After the Fall, documented the mysterious, disturbing and almost complete disappearance of the Berlin Wall ten years after its fall. The film was broadcast on television worldwide including Germany, Brazil, Israel, Switzerland, Japan, Spain, Austria, Sweden and PBS in the United States. The 35 mm film version was released in Germany and selected for more than 40 international film festivals, including Berlin, Amsterdam, Karlovy Vary and Tel Aviv, and was awarded a German Camera Prize and a Golden Spire at the San Francisco International Film Festival.

Genre Society
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2005
Directors Frauke Sandig, Eric Black
Screenplay Frauke Sandig, Eric Black
Cinematography Eric Black
Silke Botsch
Producer Frauke Sandig
Production Company Umbrella Films/Berlin, in co-production with ZDF Das kleine Fernsehspiel, ITVS/San Francisco, France 2/Paris, YLE
Shooting Dates Los Angeles, Chicago, Mexico, March 2003 - March 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festivals Sundance 2005 (Documentary Competition), HotDocs Toronto 2005, Sydney 2005, Nyon 2005 (In Competition), IDA DocuWeek Los Angeles 2005, Leipzig 2005, Vancouver 2005, Mill Valley 2005, Sheffield 2005, Mexico City 2006
Awards Prix du public de la ville de Nyon 2005, Special Jury Mention Mexico City 2006
German Distributor Piffl Medien

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