For The Love of Science

Monday, October 21, 2019

Science lovers will rejoice over the UCSF Associated Students of the Graduate Division’s (ASGD) free screening of ANYA — a provocative, scientifically-sound and emotionally satisfying story of a couple’s decision to turn to science for help with having a baby.

ANYA is a contemporary love story based in New York about a couple’s determination to have a child and the cutting-edge geneticist who tries to help them, no matter the cost. The film invites viewers to explore issues surrounding the development of genetic technologies and the struggles of creating a family in a world where the definition of family is evolving.

The ASGD hosts a First Encounter Productions free film viewing of ANYA in the Rock Hall Auditorium on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. Immediately following the viewing, ASGD President Sean Ganther will moderate a panel discussion featuring the filmmaker and cultural anthropologist Dr. Carylanna Taylor. Also joining the panel is UCSF medical geneticist Dr. Joseph Shieh, Dr. Lea Witkowsky, project and policy analyst with the Innovative Genomics Institute, and Dr. Marcy Darnovsky with the Center for Genetics and Society.

“ANYA is simultaneously a love story, a bold anthropological exploration, and a cautionary tale about uncharted genetic frontiers,” according to filmmakers Taylor and Emmy nominated documentary filmmaker Jacob Akira Okada. Taylor and Okada co-founded First Encounter Productions to create films at the intersection of science, anthropology, and contemporary culture. The inspiration for ANYA developed from their conversations on the consequences of modern-day genetics and hopes to make a film that could surface these discussions.The filmmakers wanted to ensure a true-to-life representation of science, so they turned to advisor Dr. Ruth McCole, researcher in molecular biology and genetics at Harvard Medical School. “[I] worked hard to ensure that everything scientists [did] in the movie [was] accurate, down to having the right lab equipment on display for each experimental scene,” McCole said.

Join ASGD and First Encounter Productions for an evening inspired by developments in the worlds of anthropology and genetics.

Additional free viewing of ANYA featuring separate panelists on Sunday, Oct. 27 at Noisebridge, 2169 Mission St. For more information and official trailer, visit, follow @anyamovie on Twitter, anyamovie on Facebook and on Instagram.

Look for ANYA on all digital HD platforms and DVD starting Nov. 26 2019.