Meet Jeffrey, a bird-loving, trailer-inhabiting beach bum who paid his rent for eight years donating—yes, I’ll say it—jizz, man milk, funky spunk, whatever you’d like to call it. Donor Unknown is partially an exposé of the sperm-donor industry, which sells the idea that baby-desiring women will live happily ever after without the fuss of a “father” involved. The documentary follows a genetic descendent of Jeffrey who endeavors to learn about her lineage. In some ways, Donor Unknown is about semantics: Is Jeffrey a father, a donor, or both? The film makes a few jabs at answering the question without being preachy. If you’re not hip to the sperm-donor scene, director Jerry Rothwell gives a full tour. There are levels of erotic “masturbatoriums.” We go inside the lab where tubes of sperm are tested and FedExed around the world. Most affecting, we see that it’s a hard-nosed business. A donor may sign up to provide three offspring and wind up with a litter scattered across the globe. Scary, huh? In the end, the film offers a lens into the lives of innocent children who respond to their biological impulses to seek out a parent. Donor Unknown is a brilliant case study of what constitutes a family.
Tuesday, June 21 at 6:45 p.m. at AFI Silver 3; also on Saturday, June 25 at 3:30 p.m. at Discovery HD Theater.