Apr 26, 2019 - Stories

23andMe and Tribeca Studios Premiere Film Series


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 that 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 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 in 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, and 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.

Of the 23 filmmakers who were part of the series 21 were able to attend the festival.

To launch the series, 23andMe and Tribeca Studios hosted a panel with a select group of filmmakers during the Tribeca Film Festival this week 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, is 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

Tribeca Film Festival 2019 23andMe Identity series panel discussion.

These five films scratch the surface of what is featured in the “Identity” film series. Among the rest of the series is Chromosome 19, Sarah Lamm’s bold documentary about a white woman finding her African American cousin and then exploring what their connections mean together. There’s the film Fifty Fifty about Richard Bodager, finding his birth mother and meeting her for the first time. Then, there is Shal Ngo’s stream of conscious film, Hapa, in which he untangles what it means to be rooted in Vietnam and Minnesota.

Each of these films is unique and special, and they drive to the core of how we define ourselves and our identities.

To see all the films, please visit our Vimeo page.

Related Stories

Stay in the know.

Receive the latest from your DNA community.