03 March 2014

Coming soon on screen: "The Immortalists"

At the South by Southwest International Film Festival (SXSW), which will be held on March 8-16, 2014 in Austin (Texas, USA), a new film "The Immortalists" (The Immortalists) will be presented, the main characters of which are scientists who have devoted their lives to the search for the secret of immortality.

Director: David Alvarado, Jason Sussberg
Screenplay: Jason Sussberg
Producer: David Alvarado, Kate McLean, Charles Braverman
Operator: David Alvarado
Production: UK – USA – India

The film's motto is: live forever... or die trying.

"The Immortalists" is the story of two eccentric scientists trying to achieve eternal youth with the help of medical advances in a world they call "blind to the tragedy of old age." Bill Andrews is a biologist working in a laboratory and at the same time a famous long–distance runner trying to win a race with a biological clock. Aubrey de Grey is a brilliant theoretical biologist who conducts his research with a beer mug in his hand. They differ from each other both in style and in essence, but they are united by a common "crusade", the purpose of which is to learn how to cure aging or die trying. They publicly oppose the old defender of traditional biology, who claims that getting rid of aging is not only impossible, but also undesirable. As Andrews and De Grey struggle with their own aging and experience the loss of loved ones, their paths to eternal life eventually become personal missions for each of them.

From the director:

What would the world be like if people stopped aging? How would "eternal youth" affect human living conditions, economy, environment and religion? Is it possible and, if so, is it desirable?

This film is the brainchild of mutual love of science, philosophy and new strange ideas (not to mention the collective desire to pour hot sauce on any food, including oatmeal porridge). David was intrigued by the scientific veracity of these eccentric scientists, and Jason was interested in politics and science fiction ideas that could become reality.

While taking a course on shooting a film about seasteading (English: seasteading – the creation of small autonomous cities in international waters), Jason learned that some of the inspirers of this movement (mainly libertarian futurists) are interested in radically increasing life expectancy - delaying death with the help of medical advances. And that this is not just an interest, but a "death grip" with which serious biologists clung to the idea of eradicating death from old age. Who are they and is it possible?

Compared to the 19th century, human life expectancy has almost doubled. The fusion of biology and technology leads to the emergence of completely new research areas, as well as new medical equipment and treatment methods that can overcome the modern limit of life expectancy, which is approximately 120 years. We should discuss this reality and be prepared for a radical increase in human longevity.

We worked together, and David shot some of the most significant and impressive scenes on his own.

Initially, the idea was to intersperse footage of "intimate" observations with interviews shot on a black background, which at the same time was supposed to serve as a background for an animated image of the experiments. We were lucky to have just amazing (and patient) colleagues. The wonderful animation of Kinda Akash and Toros Kose, as well as the wonderful soundtrack created by Peter Albrechtsen and Eric Kuhn, made it possible to realize everything planned.

We shot stories with Aubrey de Grey, Bill Andrews and a number of other researchers. Our idea was to always have two main characters at the center of the narrative, we shot only people directly related to them. We wanted to clearly formulate their common mission, while highlighting their fundamentally different scientific approaches to biological immortality. At the same time, most importantly, we also wanted to capture the personal lives of these two brilliant scientists leading an unconventional lifestyle. They are both incredible personalities: Bill Andrews is an ultramarathoner competing with a biological clock, and Aubrey, with his long red beard, just goes with the flow with a mug of ale in his hand. We are incredibly lucky that they shared two years of their lives with us. The film is a chronology of what happened to them during this time period.

We hope that in this way we managed to "immortalize" Bill Andrews and Aubrey de Grey.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the press release of the premiere of the film The Immortalists.


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