Citizen scientists, an overdue dispatch from chilly Chicago and balmy South Florida. First, the elephant in the room: we’ve fallen behind and will not make our original goal of completing the film before years end. With over 100 hours of interview footage, more elements still to shoot, a thousand archival clips, and an incredibly complex and delicate story, the project proves to be a monumental task. But we are making steady and purposeful progress, of which we shall illuminate below.
Throughout this journey, the story has taken all manner of twists and turns. With such wide-ranging and high-level content, finding a focus and sticking with it is of utmost importance to telling this story in an impactful way. Through many a late night discussion, we've found that the most compelling narrative threads are bigger picture and higher concept, as opposed to detailed biology, practical treatments, and nutrition. New scientific studies and nutritional recommendations change constantly, but the philosophical thought underpinning them are timeless. We want to make a film that stays relevant for a decade, rather than a few months.
For now we’ve settled on the following structure:
1. We begin by presenting the current dogmas of biology: that life is mechanistic and we are predetermined by our genes, and how all this is disseminated through the media and establishment. The question is then asked:
What if our fundamental knowledge of the workings of life is wrong?
2. Before directly tackling this question, we introduce our cast of maverick interview subjects, spanning all spheres of science and medicine. We hear stories of their various rejections from the scientific establishment because of their unorthodox findings.
3. Just how could such decorated scientists become so marginalized? We breakdown the issues in publishing, peer review, reproducibility of results, reductionism, authoritarianism, big pharma/big money influence, and the doctor-patient relationship. With so many endemic problems, it’s no wonder some monumental mistakes in biology and medical treatment have been perpetuated for so long. From the very way we observe life processes, to our outdated model of the cell, to the oppressiveness of neodarwinism and genetic determinism, to the symptom centric focus of medical treatment. We ask another question:
What if there is an alternate model that more accurately and elegantly describes life?
4. A host of scientific breakthroughs tell the story of a less genetically determined, more environmentally influenced biology. This more positive and productive picture of life, from the cellular level up is woven together through animated sequences and recreations of experiments.
5. If this new model is even partially correct, our understanding of disease, aging and nutrition must be radically reconsidered. Doctors and scientists present breakthrough research on cancer, depression, stress, heart disease, nutrition, and more. We end with a message of self-responsibility and self-empowerment, rather than submitting oneself fatally to one’s genes. Through self-education and self-experimentation we can regain authority over our own health and wellbeing.
We thank you all for your patience and leave you with two clips from subjects you've yet to meet. The first is about the danger of reductionism in medicine with Dr. George Slavich, director of the Stress Lab at the beautiful campus of UCLA. The second is with Dr. Matthias Nägele, a cardiologist at University Hospital Zurich, on the influence of financial gain and pharmaceutical research.