Breaking Barriers with Documentary Directors: FiRe Films Panel

By Charly Kuecks

Sharon Anderson Morris, managing director of FiReFilms interviewed three documentary filmmakers in a panel called “Documentaries That Change the World: Meet the Directors.” Diane Tober, Bo Landin, and Peter C. Davidson were there to screen trailers of their films and to discuss their work.

Diane Tober — The Perfect Donor

For thirty years, some young women have participated in donating their eggs. However, Diane Tober, a medical anthropologist and documentary filmmaker, believes that potential egg donors need to be better informed about potential side effects.

“The Perfect Donor” is a film that is still in development. Tober’s goals include to engage in conversations with medical professionals in the egg donation industry, to disseminate this information to a wider audience, and to ensure that women give informed consent to often-invasive procedures to stimulate egg production.

Tober’s film is one prong of a wide-ranging campaign to change the egg donor industry. She is also creating an egg donor registry and conducting longitudinal research on egg donation’s long term effects.

Bo Landin — Toxic Puzzle

As the founding director of Scandinature Films, Bo Landin has extensive experience creating films that touch on medical and environmental stories. With a wide broadcast network, his testimony has affected national and international policy. One of the latest efforts in this prolific director’s canon, “Toxic Puzzle,” examines potential environmental causes of ALS and Alzheimer’s.

“Toxic Puzzle” has screened at several film festivals and universities, and in Orinda near Berkeley.

Landin said, “We have gone from broadcasting to ‘narrowcasting.’” He pointed out that documentary films often screen to small groups, compared to tens of millions in decades past.

The passion to bring documentaries to a wider audience is the driving force behind FiReFilms, as Anderson Morris pointed out. She mentioned the close ties with FiReFilms’ corporate sponsors, including Zions Bank and Oracle, as a necessary foundation to FiReFilms’ mission.

Jorden Saxton Hackney — Dying in Vein

Jorden Saxton Hackney, the outreach coordinator for “Dying in Vein,” was not able to attend the panel due to a family emergency. However, the screened trailer showed that the film explores the opioid addiction crisis, especially as it touches on young people.

Peter C. Davidson — Diego’s Dream

Peter C. Davidson was an honors student at the University of Utah when he created and directed the film, “Diego’s Dream.” This project examines the life of one of his college classmates, Diego, who is an undocumented migrant from Mexico. This film was developed through the Humanities & Focus program at the university.

Diego (Davidson has kept Diego’s surname private) is a DACA recipient, and he made a surprise appearance on this panel, to discuss his experience making the film and as an immigrant who arrived in the United States at the age of eight.

“I’m here because I want to study, create jobs, and build companies,” he said. “ I want to provide for my future family.”

Davidson’s film explores the human side of the current immigration debate.

“I don’t pretend to know the perfect solution, but if people could have compassion, they might understand [the immigration issue] better,” he said.

To support these and other nuanced, moving documentaries, you can buy a personal or corporate membership at FiReFilms.org. Additionally, you can text the word FILM to the phone number 33933. You will get a notice from Anderson Morris about once a month with a link to the trailer of that month’s FiReFilm.

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