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Bregtje van der Haak - "DNA Dreams"

Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 2:45pm

Africana Studies and Research Center, Multipurpose Room, 310 Triphammer Road

Bregtje van der Haak (Director of Documentaries, VPRO Television) 

Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Film synopsis:
What if you were allowed to have only one child and had the option of selecting its genes? Would you choose for a natural or a designer baby? Every day new technologies are bringing us closer a brave new world of enhanced human beings 2.0…. What kind of world will that be? 

The documentary DNA Dreams features a new generation of scientists at BGI, China’s leading genomics research institute.

The film follows 18-year-old scientist Zhao Bowen, who wants to find the genetic basis of intelligence by analyzing the DNA of 2,000 highly gifted children. At BGI’s cloning lab, 25-year-old Lin Lin produces pigs in all shapes and sizes. Deeply in love with her work, she feels “like a mother” to the piglets that are conceived under her microscope. 

This award-winning documentary shows traces of a future that is already here and takes a closer look at data-driven science as a fundamental shift in the global production of knowledge. 

Bregtje van der Haak is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. Since 1997, she has been directing international documentaries on social change with a focus on urban life and globalization, most recently for the VPRO Backlight series. Her documentaries have been shown on television, in film festivals and in art exhibitions around the world and include Philip Johnson: Two of a Kind (1998), Lagos Wide & Close (2005), Saudi Solutions (2006), Satellite Queens (2007), Grand Paris: the president and the architects (2009), California Dreaming (2010), Aftermath of a Crisis (2011) and DNA Dreams (2013).

As a documentary director, she has worked on projects in Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Dubai, Egypt, England, France, Gambia, Haiti, Hong Kong, Italy. Indonesia, Latvia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Spain.

As a project director and editor-in-chief for VPRO Television, Van der Haak initiated Creative Commons distribution of public television programming and developed many transmedia and collaborative media projects including Metropolis TV (2008),Urban Century (2009), Aftermath Project (2011), Multiple Journalism and Atlas of Pentecostalism (2013, both in production, 2013).

Van der Haak studied dance in Paris, political science (MA 1990) and law (LLM 1992) at the University of Amsterdam and the New School for Social Research in New York and has an M.Sc. degree from the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University (1993).

She is a board member and chair of the international awards committee of the Prince Claus Fund and a board member of the Praemium Erasmianum. She has been a Visiting Associate Professor at the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong, where she developed a curriculum for ‘Future Creative Television’. She is also a returning visiting scholar at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism at USC Los Angeles.

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