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UK: Metfilm / Redbird Productions
Cast: Jeffrey Harrison, Jo Ellen Marsh, Rachelle Longest, Danielle Pajano, Fletcher Norris
Director: Jerry Rothwell
UK: 80 mins
UK Certificate: 12A contains brief soft drug use and nudity
UK Release Date: 3 June 2011 (Limited Release)
DONOR UNKNOWN is a documentary feature following the journey of JoEllen Marsh as she goes in search of the sperm donor father she only knows as Donor 150. Directed by Jerry Rothwell, whose previous films include the award-winning feature documentaries DEEP WATER and HEAVY LOAD, DONOR UNKNOWN has been selected by festivals worldwide including the Tribeca Film Festival.
JoEllen, now 20, has always known her family ‘wasn't like other families'. She grew up in Pennsylvania with two mothers, and a burning curiosity to know more about her anonymous donor father. When JoEllen discovers a unique online registry that connects donor-conceived children, she manages to track down a half-sister in New York. The New York Times picks up the story, and, over time 12 more half-siblings emerge across the United States. The article also falls into the hands of Jeffrey Harrison, living alone with four dogs and a pigeon in a broken-down RV in a Venice Beach car park. In the 1980s, Jeffrey supplemented his meagre incoming by becoming a sperm donor at California Cryobank. His number was Donor 150.
DONOR UNKNOWN is a uniquely 21st century story. The connections made between the children and their donor dad draw as much on modern technology as on old-fashioned coincidence. While the siblings seem to take their ever-expanding family in their stride, Jeffrey is more apprehensive about meeting some of his biological children for the first time. Funny, moving and surprising DONOR UNKNOWN raises intriguing questions about our understanding of parenthood, and the strange power of our genetic connections.