Doping & the Tour De France

Blog // Film

This month, I have written an essay for Routledge publishers, introducing a theme for their journals focused on doping and cycling. Here’s a video primer for the essay and the video’s transcript, produced by Routledge:

Steve Kurtz, Bioart and Strange Culture


This fascinating film from Lynn Hersmann-Leeson reveals the story of Steve Kurtz, an artist who works with cell cultures who found himself at the centre of an FBI investigation into his work. His plight is the focus of the chapter by George J. Annas in Human Futures on Bioterror and Bioart. Here’s a clip of the film’s trailor:

and here’s an interview with Kurtz:

December 10th, 2008

Biomedical Ethics Film Festival (Edinburgh, 14-16 November, 2008)


Euthanasia: A Good Death?
Biomedical Ethics Film Festival on the topic of Assisted Dying

14-16 November 2008 – Edinburgh Filmhouse – 88 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH3 9BZ
Box Office Tel: 0131 228 2688

Is euthanasia a good death? What is the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide? Why has euthanasia been so much in the news lately?
These are some of the questions which will be asked in a three-day biomedical ethics film festival taking place in Edinburgh between the 14th – 16th of November 2008. During this event, films will be presented all supporting reflection on the subject of assisted dying.
At the end of each film, a discussion will be taking place with a panel of 3-4 invited experts in bioethics, science, law, medicine and politics who will support, but not take over, a debate lasting about 30-45 min with the general public attending the film.

Friday the 14th of November 2008 – 18.00 hrs

Reverend Death
Channel 4 Documentary directed by Jon Ronson with Jon Ronson, 2008
The Reverend George Exoo is a seemingly jolly, but not very successful Unitarian minister from West Virginia, USA, who has drifted into helping non-terminally ill people commit suicide.
At the start of filming, Jon Ronson believed that everyone should have the right to terminate their own lives. However, as the film progresses, he begins to change his mind and starts to have serious reservations about what Rev. Exoo does and about the motives of his new assistant Susan, who claims she’ll help practically anyone kill themselves if the price is right: ‘For George it’s a calling,’ she says. ‘For me it’s a business.’

Saturday the 15th of November 2008 – 13.00 hrs

The Sea Inside (Spanish: Mar adentro)
Spanish/Chilean director Alejandro Amenábar, 2004, Rated PG
Drama based on the real-life story of Ramón Sampedro (played by Javier Bardem), a Spanish ship mechanic left quadriplegic after a diving accident who fought a 28-year campaign in support of assisted suicide and his right to end his own life.
The Sea Inside won the 2004 Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the 2004 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and 14 Goya Awards including awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Lead Actor, Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay.

Sunday the 16th of November 2008 – 13.00 hrs

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (French: Le scaphandre et le papillon)
Directed by Julian Schnabel, 2007, Rated 12
The film describes the real-life experience of Elle magazine editor-in-chief Jean-Dominique Bauby after suffering a massive stroke that left him mentally aware of his surroundings but physically paralysed with the exception of some movement in his head and left eye.
The French edition of the book, on which the film was based, was entirely written by Bauby blinking his left eyelid during July and August 1996. It received excellent reviews, sold 150,000 copies in the first week, and went on to become a number one bestseller across Europe.
The film won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Globes and the BAFTA Awards, as well as four Academy Award nominations.

The film festival is organised in partnership with: (1) the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics,
(2) the Edinburgh Filmhouse (venue for the event) and (3) the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland Branch of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

November 19th, 2008

Peace One Day


Peace One Day

Originally uploaded by andymiah

Each year, I show the documentary film ‘Peace One Day’ to fourth year undergraduates in ‘Becoming Posthuman’. I saw a premiere of this first in Glasgow, at the GFT. The screening was followed by a live link up with Jeremy Gilley, director, presenter, author and just about everything associated with POD.

The film tells the story of POD, Gilley’s mission to get the UN to recognise a specific day in the calendar dedicated to the cessation of conflicts. His pursuit takes him to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the United Nations in New York on September 11, 2001. It’s a powerful movie about the difference one person can make to the world and the importance of not getting too bogged down in the pursuit of this. Did Gilley’s film change the world? Yes. Are our expectations of change too great? Yes. Today, the UN recognizes the 21st September as the global day of peace. Gilley and his supporters throughout his process made that happen and yes, conflicts still occur on that day.
Afterthought: surely there’s some marketing mileage for Peace one Day in the acronym ‘iPOD’ ie: taking individual responsibility for bringing about peace, especially since their main event is an annual concert.

October 1st, 2007

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