Biomedical Research Ethics Film Festival, Edinburgh, 4-6 Dec 2015

Biomedical Research Ethics Film Festival

Edinburgh, Fri 4th – Sun 6th December 2015

How does biomedical research take place? Is it safe? Who undertakes the research? Should vulnerable individuals, such as children, be used in biomedical investigations?

The Biomedical Research Ethics Film Festival, the first of its kind, will seek to answer some of these questions. At the end of each screening, a discussion will take place between the audience and a panel of invited experts in bioethics, science, law, medicine and politics.



Fri 4th Dec at 6.00pm

Michael Crichton • USA 1978 • 1h53m • 35mm • 15

Cast: Geneviève Bujold, Michael Douglas, Elizabeth Ashley, Rip Torn, Richard Widmark.

Based on the best-selling novel by Robin Cook, Coma is a taut paranoid thriller. Dr Susan Wheeler (Geneviève Bujold) suspects her colleagues of foul play when her closest friend lapses into a coma following a routine operation. When Wheeler discovers a suspiciously frequent pattern of unexplained comas in her hospital, she becomes obsessed with finding an answer, even when it puts her own career and life in danger. The tension builds as Wheeler’s investigation leads her to a secret corporation specializing in organ transplant experimentation and sale for profit.

This screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Dr Gill Haddow (University of Edinburgh), Dr Chris Willmott (University of Leicester), Cllr. Jeremy Balfour (Edinburgh City Council) and Prof. Gerard Magill (Duquesne University, Pittsburgh), chaired by Dr Calum MacKellar (Scottish Council on Human Bioethics).


Under Our Skin

Sat 5th Dec at 12.45pm

Andy Abrahams Wilson • USA 2008 • 1h44m • Digital PG – Contains scenes of emotional distress • Documentary

A gripping tale of microbes, medicine and money, “Under Our Skin” exposes the hidden story of Lyme disease, one of the most controversial and fastest growing epidemics of our time. Each year, thousands go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, often told that their symptoms are “all in their head.” Following the stories of patients and physicians fighting for their lives and livelihoods, the film brings into focus a haunting picture of the health care system and a medical establishment all too willing to put profits ahead of patients.


The Constant Gardener

Sat 5th Dec at 3.20pm

Fernando Meirelles • USA/UK 2005 • 2h9m • 35mm • English, Swahili and German with English subtitles • 15 – Contains strong language and sexual nudity

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Hubert Koundé, Danny Huston, Bill Nighy.

In this film adaptation of John Le Carré’s socio-political thriller, Ralph Fiennes plays a low grade, unambitious British diplomat, Justin Quayle, whose wife (Rachel Weisz) is found brutally murdered in a remote area of Northern Kenya. All evidence, rather too conveniently, points to a crime of passion, and the powers-that-be assume the mild-mannered Quayle will simply let it lie, but when he gets a sniff of the business she was involved in and kept from him – an investigation into the practices of a multinational drug company – he sets off on a one man quest into, for him, completely uncharted territory… Intriguing and gripping, Mereilles’ application of the same gritty, unblinking aesthetic used to such great effect in City of God imbues the action here with a sweaty, ground-level immediacy not normally associated with the genre.


Fire in the Blood

Sun 6th Dec at 1.00pm

Dylan Mohan Gray • India 2013 • 1h27m • Digital • English, Hindi, Manipuri and Xhosa with English subtitles • PG – Contains distressing images of illness and mild language Documentary

The inspirational and impassioned story of the activists who fought to stop Western companies and governments blocking access to HIV medicines in the developing world.

In the late nineties, medicines were created to curb the impact of HIV, charged at £10,000 per person per year. As a result, AIDS-associated deaths dropped by 84 percent in developed countries. But to maintain profits and apparently fund research, the drugs companies refused to licence more affordable versions, leaving millions to die in countries that could not afford such high prices. Fire in the Blood narrates the remarkable true story of the global activists fought to overturn the situation. It screens in 2013 as a reawakening World Trade Organisation looks set to protect future medical and other development-essential patents more vigorously than ever.

The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Dr Trevor Stammers (Editor, The New Bioethics), Ms Emily Murtagh (Scottish Council on Human Bioethics) and Dr Chris Willmott (University of Leicester), chaired by Rachel McKenzie (Scottish Council on Human Bioethics).


Extraordinary Measures

Sun 6 Dec at 3.15pm

2h35m • 35mm • 15 – Contains mild bad language

A Portland couple have two children with Pompe disease – a genetic anomaly that kills most before a child’s tenth birthday. The husband, John (Brendan Fraser), an advertising executive, contacts Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), a researcher in Nebraska who has done innovative research for an enzyme treatment. He has little money to fund his laboratory, and a thorny personality that drives away colleagues and funders. John and his wife Aileen (Keri Russell) raise money to help Stonehill’s research and the required clinical trials, as they race against time to make a breakthrough on an effective treatment.


In Vitro

Toby Stephens • UK 2015 • 18m • 15

This screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Ms Fiona Coyle (Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, University of Edinburgh) and Prof. Gerard Magill (Duquesne University), chaired by Dr Tony Weir (Heriot-Watt University).


Ticket Deal:

Buy any three (or more) tickets for films in this season and get 15% off. This offer is available online, in person and on the phone, on both full price and concession price tickets. Tickets must all be bought at the same time.

Tickets are available here.

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