Hot Docs 2022: Qs à la mode with… Cody Sheehy (Make People Better)

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With Make People Better, director Cody Sheedy investigates the events surrounding a Chinese scientist’s controversial experiment, which resulted in the world’s first genetically designed babies… and an avalanche of condemnation, cover-ups and questions. We posed our Qs à la mode to Cody, and here’s what he shared!

If I had to describe my film using only five adjectives, they would be: “Investigative, mind-blowing, powerful, unsettling, thrill-ride.”

The thing that surprised me most about my film’s subject/topic was: “Dr. He Jiankui, the “rogue” Chinese scientist whose experiments created the first genetically designed babies, was not actually a rogue who did his work alone and in secret. Although experimentation on unborn babies is banned internationally, Dr. He Jiankui, known as “JK”, actually had support and encouragement from many of the top scientists in the U.S. and China.”

My favorite moment/scene/sequence in my film is: “One of the powerful moments in the film is when Paul Mozur of the New York Times tries to rush past 12 secret police in China to get to JK.”

The toughest part of the whole shoot was: “Getting access to shoot inside government genetical-engineering labs in China.”

My most invaluable piece of doc-making gear was/is: “My Cinebag CB25 backpack to carry the Canon C300 across China was crucial.  The most fun piece of gear was the enormous “dead cat” the sound guy had on his shotgun mic.”

My go-to, get-me-through snack of choice for long shoots or epic editing sessions is: “I loved the Sichuan shredded potatoes… but the reality is that most of the time I was starving because I was too busy to eat!”

Another Hot Docs 2022 film I’m excited to see is:Navalny… given everything happening in the world today, I’m excited to get the inside scoop from an important Russian dissident.”

Want to check out Cody’s film or learn more about it?
Get the scoop, and your tickets, here!


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