California Film Institute San Rafael, CA


Katie Hasson, PhD

Associate Director, Center for Genetics and Society

Gattaca— Picture perfect: Tackling the science of genetics

Dr. Katie Hasson, Associate Director of the Center for Genetics and Society, will discuss the wild mistakes—and a few scary truths—science fiction makes in tackling the subject of genetics.

California Film Institute San Rafael, CA

Film Synopsis

In a dystopian future that prizes ideal DNA above all, a genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.

In the not-too-distant future, a less-than-perfect man wants to travel to outer space. Society has categorized Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) as a genetically inferior "in-valid," and he has become one of the underclass of humans that are only useful for menial jobs. He decides to fight his fate by purchasing the genes of Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), a perfect genetic specimen. He assumes Jerome's identity and joins the Gattaca space program, where he falls in love with Irene (Uma Thurman). Just when Vincent is finally scheduled for a space mission, a Gattaca officer (Gore Vidal) is killed and the police begin an investigation, jeopardizing his secret.

About the Speaker

Katie Hasson, PhD is the Associate Director of the Center for Genetics and Society, an independent, public interest nonprofit based in Oakland, California. She writes, speaks, and conducts research on the social implications of human biotechnologies, working with CGS’ broad network of scholars and advocates committed to bringing human rights and social justice perspectives to the forefront of discussions about human genetic and reproductive technologies.

Katie earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and was previously Assistant Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. She has written articles for publications including The CRISPR Journal, Trends in Biotechnology, Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, and The Guardian, and been cited in various media, including The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Le Monde, Science News, and Wired.