Frozen Angels

The future of human reproduction, available now in Los Angeles.

Independent Lens
Premiere Date
May 16, 2006
90 minutes
Funding Initiative
Series and Special Projects
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2005 Visions du Réel Festival of Documentary Films-Prix du public de la ville de Nyon
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2006 FICCO, Mexico City-Special Jury Mention
  • Award laurels-r Created with Sketch.
    2006 Creteil International Women's Film Festival-Graine de Cinephage
  • Producer

    Eric Black

    Black was born in Ohio. He bought his first camera — a Pentacon — in East Berlin when he was 14. Some of the first photographs he shot were black-and-white images of East Berlin. Black attended high school in West Berlin and has returned many times, camera in hand. He studied photography, anthropology, and political economy at the University of California Show more (Santa Cruz and Berkeley), graduating with honors, and the Chancellor's Award for Art. Black studied film in the cinema department at San Francisco State University. His first film, Two Eggs Any Style, won the Western States Student Academy Award. He has shot many documentaries since and has worked twice with the American director Jon Jost in Rome. Black is also the recipient of a stipend from the Academy of Arts in Berlin. Show less

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    Frauke Sandig

    Born in West Germany six months before the Wall was constructed in 1961, Sandig moved to Berlin one year before the fall of the Wall. She holds a master of arts degree from the University of Erlangen, Germany, where she studied drama, German literature, and philosophy. She has worked as a television producer (RIAS, Deutsche Welle) and director of more than 20 Show more documentaries in the city of Berlin, including In the Same Boat; When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit; Konrad Merz: The Man Who Fell From Germany; George Tabori: The Grand Old Man of the Theater; and Krakow, Stories of a City. Her most recent film, Oskar & Jack, tells the story of twins separated at birth who grew up in totally different worlds. It screened at festivals around the world. Show less

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    The Film

    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 more than 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.