Stanford Center for
Biomedical Ethics


The Biomedical Ethics in Film Program, launched in 1998 under the leadership of Dr. Maren Grainger-Monsen, specializes in producing innovative films on biomedical ethics. The films are created to inspire both medical students and the general public to experience and question the magnitude of the ethical dilemmas in healthcare facing our society today.

Hold Your Breath Worlds Apart
How does a deeply devout man, who believes that God determines the length of his life, face his own death? How do his American doctors try to understand his faith and his viewpoints as they treat his disease? How do his daughters, caught between Afghani and American culture, deal with the impending loss of their father? Hold Your Breath, the latest documentary by Dr. Maren Grainger-Monsen, explores these questions as it follows the story of Mr. Kochi, an Afghani American immigrant who is diagnosed with stomach cancer. Through the intimate emotional experiences of the Kochi immigrant family and the well-intentioned efforts of the medical practitioners, Hold Your Breath illuminates the pivotal role of cross-cultural communication in one man's battle with cancer. Produced by award-winning physician / filmmaker Maren Grainger-Monsen and filmmaker Julia Haslett, the film follows patients and families faced with critical medical decisions as they navigate their way through the health care system. Shot in patients' homes, neighborhoods, and places of worship, hospital wards and community clinics, Worlds Apart provides a balanced yet penetrating look at both the patient's culture and the culture of medicine.
The Vanishing Line Grave Words
When does life become a fate worse than death? In this age of medical "miracles," increasing numbers of doctors, patients and their families are forced to face this question. Physician and filmmaker Maren Grainger-Monsen offers an intensely personal look at this modern medical dilemma as she takes us on a lyrical and heartfelt quest to discover an "art of dying" in a world that taught her well to prolong life, but offered few prescriptions for treating death. Learning to talk with patients about resuscitation and other end-of-life care decisions is a challenge for many physicians and other healthcare providers, yet has become an increasingly important, perhaps even essential aspect of good medical practice. Directed by physician Maren Grainger-Monsen, Grave Words takes a unique approach to this topic by blending humor, upbeat music, and insightful interviews to confront head-on the issues that arise in such end-of-life discussions.
Map Your World Revolutionary Optimists
Map Your World is a multi-platform project that puts the power of new technologies into the hands of young change agents, enabling them to map, track, and improve the health of their own communities - and then share their stories of change with each other and with the world. Children are saving lives in the slums of Calcutta. Amlan Ganguly doesn't rescue slum children; he empowers them to become change agents, battling poverty and transforming their neighborhoods with dramatic results. Filmed over the course of several years, the Revolutionary Optimists follows Amlan and three of the children he works with on an intimate journey through adolescence, as they fight for the better future he encourages them to imagine is deservedly theirs.
Rare, a new feature documentary, follows and inspiring and extraordinary mother in a race against time as she unites a group of isolated people from around the world in a quest to cure her daughter's rare genetic disease. Together, they  discover that community, laughter and hope are some of the greatest therapies.


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