The Immortalists is the documentary on aging and how we are fighting the process, as exemplified by the work of two very different scientists. A brilliant odd couple (Bill Andrews and Aubrey de Grey) are on a crusade to end aging as we know it, while they bring humanity to the struggle against mortality and deterioration of the human body. We discuss the movie with filmmakers Jason Sussberg and David Alvarado from the 2014 SXSW Film Fest, here on BYOD–the world’s only doc talk show.
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BYOD is hosted by Ondi Timoner, director of “DIG!,” “JOIN US” and “WE LIVE IN PUBLIC,” and has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance twice. Each week the show explores a different documentary filmmaker or aspect of filmmaking, with special guests and a live Q&A– diving deep into creative process and the business realities of producing and distributing films. Ondi shares her insider views, opinions, and personal stories, welcoming audience participation. BYOD aims to entertain, inform, and elevate documentaries in general by bringing attention to films and film makers that deserve exposure.
Jason Sussberg, David Alvarado (Co-directors) – THE IMMORTALISTS
Two eccentric scientists struggle to create eternal youth in a world they call “blind to the tragedy of old age.” As they battle their own aging and suffer the loss of loved ones, their scientific quest ultimately becomes personal.
The Immortalists is the story of two eccentric scientists struggling to create eternal youth with medical breakthroughs in a world they call “blind to the tragedy of old age.” Bill Andrews is a lab biologist and famed long-distance runner racing against the ultimate clock. Aubrey de Grey is a genius theoretical biologist who conducts his research with a beer in hand. They differ in style and substance, but are united in their common crusade: cure aging or die trying. They publicly brawl with the old guard of biology who argue that curing aging is neither possible nor desirable. As Andrews and de Grey battle their own aging and suffer the losses of loved ones, their journeys toward life without end ultimately become personal.
David Alvarado is a New York based filmmaker interested in science, philosophy and future of civilization. He was born the son of a Mexican immigrant in Dallas, Texas where he spent his teen years running amuck with punk rockers on a mission of anarchy. After dropping out of high school and developing an accomplished career in criminal mischief, he switched career paths after realizing the power of film. He soon earned his G.E.D., moved up the ranks of community college and finally reached a university film school where he began to focus on documentary. Finally, in 2010 he completed his Masters of Fine Arts from Stanford University in Documentary Film and Video Production. David’s dream is to inspire audiences with emotionally driven stories about people who are at the intersection of where science meets society. At the spry young age of 29 years old, and soon to begin the aging process at his 30th birthday in March at SXSW, he is now ready to get to work.
Jason Sussberg is a documentary filmmaker focused on BIG ideas on human progress and social justice. He started his career working in sports television for the San Francisco Giants and the Golden State Warriors. After receiving his MFA at Stanford University in film, he co-founded Dogpatch Films in San Francisco. He is a digital dabbler (with a past life in motion graphics) who trains his lens on social and political topics ranging from jailed journalists, justice system reform to futurism. When he’s not in the classroom teaching or co- directing The Immortalists, he is running marathons, making hot sauce from scratch, or yelling at drivers about the legal rights of cyclists. He lives in San Francisco with wife Kate McLean, who is also a filmmaker.
00:01 THE IMMORTALISTS, documentary with filmmakers David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg.
02:30 The fascinating Immortalist community.
05:55 Looking at cancer cells.
09:06 Filming a picnic and anniversary (in the nude).
11:56 Looking at wellness and dreams of longevity.
18:41 THE IMMORTALISTS, Trailer.