DNA Dreams (image 1)

We’re encouraging everyone who has kids to have the best kids they can have.

Zhao Bowen

Screened as part of NZIFF 2014

DNA Dreams 2012

Directed by Bregtje van der Haak Framing Reality

This Dutch documentary features a young generation of scientists in genomics research. What if we could identify the genes for human intelligence? Would a brave new world of improved human beings be waiting for us?

The Netherlands In Danish, English and Mandarin with English subtitles
53 minutes Blu-ray


Brigit Dopheide


Jean Counet
Hai Hong
Maarten Kramer


Patrick Minks
Maasja Ooms


Joris van Ballegoijen
Sander den Broeder


The head of BGI, a leading genomics research institute in China, looks forward to a future when genome sequencing can be carried out on all living beings. Contrary to rumour, one colleague jokes, this is not a Chinese government project, so they can’t force everyone to provide a sample… unfortunately. On the other hand, ‘in China, regulations are very relaxed’ and BGI provides a vital testing ground for scientists hampered by legislation in Europe and the US. Filmmaker Bregtje van der Haak amply implies the ascendancy of pure science and a corresponding lack of ethical framework to BGI’s agenda by putting two eager young scientists at the centre of her documentary. Eighteen-year-old Zhao Bowen heads a vast research project to find the genetic basis of intelligence by analysing the DNA of 2,000 highly gifted children. At Ark Bio, BGI’s cloning lab, 25-year-old Lin Lin produces pigs in all shapes and sizes. She feels ‘like a mother’ to the piglets conceived under her microscope. Born, like all of us, before the best humans have been produced, she and her super-intelligent colleagues have already had their genes preserved, ready for whatever upgrades BGI might engineer.