Last year, 23 filmmakers set off to document perhaps the most important journeys of all, those of self-discovery, and this week these personal journeys are unveiled as part of “Identity,” a series of short films commissioned by 23andMe in association with Tribeca Studios.
The films, which debuted during this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, are each as unique as the artists who created them. Many are the filmmakers’ own stories. Some are the stories of others captured by the documentarians, but each one is personal and powerful. Within the 23 films, the subjects explore how DNA can have a major impact on their lives, families and identities.
Millions of people have taken their own inward journey of discovery using DNA testing, and almost every day we hear compelling stories from our customers. “These twenty three filmmakers explore wonderful moments of humanity, and illuminate how personal each of our DNA journeys can be,” said Tracy Keim, our Vice President for Consumer Marketing.
“The storytelling in each film brings to life the diversity of thought, while also touching on some real emotions,” Tracy said. “We hope these films allow people to experience the human side of science.”
The films that are part of the “Identity” series range from stories about finding a lost family to confronting new truths or revealing lost cultural connections. More than half of the filmmakers are women, others offer unique cultural points of view, bringing a diversity of perspectives to the series. There are films fraught with emotion, others with touches of humor, and some filled with whimsy.
To launch the series, 23andMe and Tribeca Studios hosted a panel with a select group of filmmakers during the Tribeca Film Festival this week that was hosted by Dyllan McGee, two-time Emmy award-winning filmmaker and founder of MAKERS. Among the filmmakers on the panel were:
- Apolla Echino, who in her film The DNA Adventure, documents her return to Canada to uncover her indigenous roots
- Emily Abt and her film Born a Fighter about Alan Joyce, a jiu-jitsu fighter coming to terms with his history and embracing his mixed race family
- Anayansi Prado, director of the film What Are You? which confronts racism in Latin America
- Tani Ikeda and her film Katey + Amanda, about Korean twins separated and adopted by families in the United States as infants who found each other three decades later
- Kristen Lazure, producer, stood in for filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig, to discuss their film Who is My Grandfather?, which documents one man’s search for his grandfather
These five films just scratch the surface of what is featured in the “Identity” film series. Among the rest of the series, there is Chromosome 19, Sarah Lamm’s bold documentary about a white woman finding her African American cousin, and then together exploring what their connections mean. There’s the film Fifty Fifty about Richard Bodager, finding his birth mother and then meeting her for the first time. And then there is Shal Ngo’s stream of conscious film Hapa in which he untangles what it means to be rooted in both Vietnam and Minnesota.
Each of these films are unique and special and they drive to the core of how we each define ourselves, and our identity.
To see all the films, please visit our Vimeo page.