Short Film Series

Partner: 23andMe

At 23andMe, they hear a lot of stories. Stories of discovery. Stories of connection. Stories of identity. All in search of discovering ourselves. Everyone’s story is worth telling. So we teamed up with them and 23 remarkable storytellers to use their unique perspectives and bring 23 stories to life. Each story teaches us not just what it means to harness the power of DNA, but also what it means to be human.
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Tells the story of 50-year-old Las Vegas resident Richard Bodager on a journey towards both new found identity and belonging as he travels to Europe to meet his paternal stepsister for the first time and the ultimate fifty-year reunion – the warm and emotional embrace of his birth mom.
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Directed by Brian Schulz

A very quirky, sometimes self-deprecating, and always heymish spit-driven DNA-journey-turned-love-letter between Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand, a fifty-something new old mom, and her much beloved and very spunky four-and-a-half-year-old adopted daughter Theo. And thank G-d they call NYC home-because it’s the perfect place to embrace life as a multi-racial, multi-cultural, pan-global family.
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Directed by Judith Helfand

After the Fall of Saigon in 1975 into to the early 1990s, over 2 million Vietnamese escaped Vietnam through boats and ships seeking better lives for themselves and their families. Filmmaker Bao Nguyen's family was among this group who made this harrowing journey from their homeland, sailing towards a life and future that was completely unknown. Forty years later, Bao, in search for the story of his own roots, asks his parents for the first time about their experience as "boat people" and comes to a new revelation about his identity.
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Directed by Bao Nguyen

Otito is a deeply personal film about the inspiring musician, snny, and his journey back to the Ivory Coast for the first time in nearly 20 years. The beautiful tale, shot on 16mm film, experiments with a poetic tone and a patient rhythm while exploring the duality of immigration.
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Directed by Daniel Navetta

The story of Cheryl and Stephen, a mother and son reunited after 56 years apart. After weeks of communicating daily, the two reunited, caught up on 55 years apart and were able to spend Stephen’s 56th birthday together - the first birthday together since the day he was born.
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Directed by Ben Fries & Alden Nusser

When Katey Bennett signed up for DNA testing through 23andMe she was shocked to discover her results came back with a 100 percent DNA match with someone named Amanda Dunford. After 33 years of living with her adopted family in California, Katey traveled from Los Angeles to meet Amanda in Virginia Beach and discovered they had been separated at birth in South Korea and adopted by different American families; they were twin sisters.
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Directed by Tani Ikeda

When Frank Granados was a teenager, his first and only child, Jenelle, was born. A few months later, Frank would learn that she had been put up for adoption without his consent. Frank spent decades knowing nothing about his daughter, while Jenelle was led to believe her father had died in a car accident. Nearly forty years later following an unbelievable series of events, Frank and Jenelle finally reunite.
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Directed by Erin Sanger

Andria has always known she was adopted but never had any details about her birth parents or the circumstances surrounding her adoption. At 30, she takes a DNA test hoping to find more details about her race - but ends up making a life-changing discovery.
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Directed by Veena Rao

Tony Tran's mother is one of the thousands of children fathered by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. She never met her father and knew nothing about him. Decades after the family moved to Iowa, Tony takes a 23andMe genetic test to learn more about his grandfather. In the process, he uncovers a long-held family secret that reshapes his own sense of identity.
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Directed by Stephanie Soechtig

As the birth of his first child drew near, filmmaker and journalist Noah Rosenberg dove deep into his DNA, uncovering hidden histories, sepia-toned photo albums, and thrilling diary entries — all in the name of, well, finding the perfect name. Noah found just what he was after. The story of one particular relative from the 19th century; a saga of survival, love and loyalty, and woven throughout with threads of the very spirit and resilience that drive Noah and his family over a hundred years later.
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Directed by Noah Rosenberg

During the violent partition of India, Filmmaker Senain Kheshgi's mother was uprooted to the newly created country of Pakistan as a child. Years later, she moved with her young family to New York City, where Senain was raised. Can a DNA test help her heal from this painful legacy? Will the results help Senain find her own place in the world?
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Directed by Senain Kheshgi

Angeline tells the story of a woman who was lied to about her biological father and her race until the age of thirty. Set against the backdrop of race relations in her home state of Texas, Angeline explores the loneliness and confusion she felt throughout her childhood. She'd yearned to feel comfortable in her own skin. After taking a 23andMe DNA test, Angeline learns the truth about her identity. As she begins to understand and embrace who she truly is, she discovers she has a half-sister, Dyson. When the two meet, both of their lives are changed.
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Directed by Nancy Schwartzman

White filmmaker Sara Lamm visits her distant African American cousin, Dr. Robert Watts, an organizational psychologist and former NFL football player, after he contacts her online with an invitation: “Let’s chat to discover the truth.” At their first meeting, the two confront the painful history of racism implied by their shared DNA and contemplate the unseen forces that have brought them together.
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Directed by Sara Lamm

After his 23andMe results reveal he is actually 51% White and 48% Asian, biracial filmmaker Shal Ngo goes back to his roots in both Vietnam and Minnesota to confront the meaning of his identity. Hapa combines documentary, stop-motion animation, family interviews and stream-of-conscious voiceover to take a deep dive into who we are and what defines us.
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Directed by Shal Ngo

Alan Joyce was born a fighter. He came into this life unwanted and unfortunate. Becoming a jiu-jitsu black belt and a father brought him stability, but he still feels unmoored due to his mysterious roots and troubled upbringing. Alan decides to do genetic testing in order to put to rest his unresolved questions about his ethnicity and to hopefully connect with a living relative.
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Directed by Emily Abt

Apolla Echino is an adventurous and independent female filmmaker who has spent her adult life exploring the world – as far away as she could get from her native Alberta, Canada. After the death of her beloved grandmother Doreen Delphine Dumont, Apolla returns to Canada to uncover the Indigenous ancestry that her grandmother rarely talked about and discovers that the two women had more in common than she ever thought possible.
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Directed by Apolla Echino

An intimate story of discovery for Kelsey Oluk, a young Canadian who has always wondered about her Polish ancestry. She asks why does her grandma say she's Ukrainian when her great aunt says she's Polish? On this personal journey, she learns of her ancestors' escape from a Siberian Labor Camp and the complexities of the ever-changing borders in Eastern Europe.
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Directed by Camilla Hall

Tiffany Carr, a young women from South West Georgia, is on a journey of self-discovery with her biological and adopted mothers, and is exploring how sharing a personal story can be a form of activism. As a mentor to young black women in the rural South under a human rights initiative, Tiffany's community engagement is defined by encouraging those around her to "come to pride" in their own histories, aiming to transform stigma to grace and shame to honor. By confronting and sharing the truths of her complex and at times painful past, Tiffany is cultivating a platform from which to transform collective struggle into collective empowerment.
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Directed by Kelsey & Remy Bennett

Rising dance star Paul Morland was adopted from Colombia as a baby and raised in the United States, where he found a loving home yet still longed to learn more about where he came from. As he embarks on a new journey into adulthood and his career as an artist, Paul hopes that tracing his roots will lead him to his birth mother and a deeper understanding of himself.
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Directed by Laura Checkoway

When motivational speaker and fitness guru Danny Johnson was only 13 years old, she learned that her biological father was a mystery sperm donor. At the time, she was stunned and burdened by her family’s secret in a way that completely upended her sense of self all through her adolescence and well into adulthood. But 23 years later, with the help of 23andMe, Danny has discovered not just her biological father, Bruce, but 21 of her donor siblings, completely redefining her and her half-siblings' notion of family and identity.
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Directed by Sabin Streeter

Demetre Papageorgiou grew up as the oldest child of George and Cynthia, Greek immigrants who settled in the Midwest. Until the day he got a call from Chris Bone of Dallas, Texas – a man who, it turned out, was his half-brother. And who knew of 7 other half-siblings. In the following months, Demetre uncovered the truth about his family and their unusual story – of 9 strangers scattered across America with one thing in common – their late father George Papageorgiou. This is the story of 5 brothers and 4 sisters, separated by distance and decades, coming together for the first time, thanks to online DNA testing.
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Directed by Kalim Armstrong & Demetre Papageorgiou

What Are You? explores themes of family diversity and internalized racism in Latin American culture through filmmaker Anayansi Prado’s journey to her home country of Panama with her estranged father in search of their African ancestors. The unexpected information they uncover during their research will change their identities and relationship forever.
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Directed by Anayansi Prado

At age 29, Amber shockingly discovered through a 23andMe DNA test that the father she had grown up with was not her biological father. After confronting her parents about her discovery, they revealed their secret that Amber was donor conceived. This revelation launches Amber on a journey to learn more about her genetic roots – and the fertility industry - as she prepares to start a family of her own.
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Directed by Aubrey Smyth