Life Running Out of Control

Gene Food and Designerbabies

Official film description

In the mid-eighties, science, with the help of genetic technology, finds the key to mastering the Earth and its creatures. Suddenly, everything seems possible! Twenty years later, we embark on a global journey to explore the progressive genetic manipulation of plants, animals and human beings:

In India, a disastrous crop of genetically modified cotton leaves many farmers facing ruin. They resort to selling a kidney - or committing suicide. In Canada, genetically modified canola seeds blow onto the fields of neighbouring organic farms, making ecological farming impossible. The Icelandic parliament sells information on the entire population's genes to a private company that, in turn, plans to turn over the data at a profit to the pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies. A research project, described as a “vampire project”, involves taking blood, hair and saliva samples from 700 so-called threatened ethnic groups on the pretext of preventive health. The gene samples wander into the laboratories of industry where they provide the basis for developing treatments for valuable patents.

Worldwide, only a handful of scientists are defying industry, carrying out independent research into the effects of transgenic animals and plants on the environment and our health. This film meets them and hears their stories.

Notes on the film

"Life Running out of Control" deals with the Navdanya’s Seed Project in India. The film moreover gives insights in the Human Genome Project, in the Human Genome Diversity Project as well as in the Icelandic "deCODE project".

Also very interesting the bonus material on genetic engineering with animals (24 min), humans (28 min), and plants (24 min).

Further reviews

”Life Running out of Control" is an alarming film, yet one that is well worth seeing. For it teaches us that consumers need to be very concerned about the future, when politicians and corporations are only able to think short-term. – Stuttgarter Zeitung

Bertram Verhaag and Gabriele Kröber were aiming for a lucky strike and – to come right to the point – they have succeeded. Their new documentary film ”Life Running out of Control” criticizes the new development in gene technology. – Gen-ethischer Informationsdienst

In his meticulously researched, excellently photographed and complexly assembled documentary film the director succeeds in covering a lot of ground, from the genetic manipulation of our food to the manipulation of the human genome. It is a wake-up call to stop this fatal development. – Ökomedia

Technical information and screening rights...

Director(s): Bertram Verhaag
Script: Bertram Verhaag
Production: DENKmal-Film, Haifisch Entertainment
Actors: Vandana Shiva, Bill Clinton, Jim Kent, Percy Schmeiser
Year: 2004
Duration: 95 min
Language (audio): German, French, English
Country of origin: Germany
Shooting Locations: Germany, Canada, India, Norway, United States
Our age recommendation: 14
Screening rights: DENKmal Film Verhaag GmbH ()

More information...


  • This film can be watched for a fee at the top.


Main topic(s): Genetic Engineering + Seeds
Secondary topics: biodiversity externalisation toxins globalisation industrial agriculture health
Mentions: gene technology genetic gmo Monsanto genetic manipulation impact health
Topic Page(s): Genetic Engineering + Seeds

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