Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eron Sheean's Errors of the Human Body: A New Genetic Thriller

In 2007 Australian filmwriter and director Eron Sheean became an artist-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) in Dresden, Germany.  

In his more than two years at the Institute, Sheean got a first hand look at real-life science.  As he explains, the experience changed his outlook on genetics:
Like most of those unfamiliar with the mechanisms of science and scientists, I had a lot of naive assumptions about the reality of research and an overly active imagination as influenced by the mass media, with its undertones of modern Frankenstein and Promethean stories. Obviously, all technology can be exploited for both negative and positive purposes, and genetic research more than most evokes wondrous fear. I was struck by the knee-jerk reaction of artists to this form of research; artists who are supposed to enquire beyond the potential horror or destruction of our exploration into new frontiers, but to also celebrate the possible beauty and humanity.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute study the development of the nervous system and heart, the genetics behind cancer, and flatworm regeneration, which I imagine provide plenty of science fodder for an active imagination.

Sheean's experience inspired his creation of a new film Errors of the Human Body. It's the story of a scientist (played by Geoffry Burton) whose son is born with severe and rare genetic disease.  That drives his research into a "human regeneration gene"  with the goal to "ensure a future line of people free from disease and deformity."

He talks a bit about his inspiration:

Set in Dresden, and filmed in part at MPI-CBG in early 2011, it looks like the bits of the film showing science taking place will be more realistic than depicted in most psychological thrillers.  There are more images from the film on the official web site.

The first teaser-trailer has been posted at Twitch Film:

The release date has not yet been announced. If you are interested in contributing to the movie making process, donations are being accepted through Interactor.

I look forward to seeing the finished film!

(via io9)

1 comment:

  1. I tend to think that genetic engineering will be an overall positive development. Sure, we might develop supermen and super soldiers and such, but a much more likely outcome will be the elimination of all of the genetic disorders that plague our species. I also believe that it is a science that will not stopped by anyone or anything. It doesn't take the resources of an atomic bomb or space program, and can be accomplished by a small team of scientists with relatively modest resources in complete secrecy. Like it or not the genie is out of the bottle, and there is no putting it back.


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