The Immortalists
The Immortalists
The Immortalists
Item#: IMM-801-DC
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Running Time: 52 minutes
Grades 10-Adult
A Film by David Alvarado & Jason Sussberg
With Special Features + Extended Version
Closed Captioned • Scene Selection



"Highly Recommended for library collections in health sciences. Beautifully filmed...The Immortalists looks at the work being conducted in the reversal of aging by two of the more prominent researchers in the field. It covers several issues of importance to college students in addition to the topic of aging: conducting research, medical ethics, product development and devoting a life to a humanitarian cause. The Oxford Debate Bonus Feature is perfect for a classroom viewing and discussion of the issues."
– Educational Media Reviews Online

"Recommended. A fascinating exploration of what would have been considered total science fiction not long ago."
– Video Librarian

"A vigorous look at the quest to reverse aging. The age-old search for the fountain of youth is engagingly appraised in The Immortalists, a lively documentary focusing on a pair of very different biomedical scientists who are equally obsessed with eradicating the ravages of time."
- Los Angeles Times

"Thought-provoking...Even if it doesn't convince us they're likely to conquer death before it comes for them, the film does prompt interesting debates about just how desirable an unlimited stay on Planet Earth would be."
- Hollywood Reporter

The Immortalists at first looks to be a horse race portrayal of two men competing to achieve eternal life through scientific means. This sly documentary rises above its speculative hook by shifting to show the very human, and very mortal, sides of these would-be warriors of eternity."
- New York Times

"A vigorous look at the quest to reverse aging. A very well-mounted film… with outstanding contributions in Alvarado’s cinematography."
– Godfrey Cheshire, RogerEbert.com

“What The Immortalists does extremely well is to layer the visionaries’ quest for unlimited life with their encounters with mortality.”
- Nature

"The film prompted discussion about the moral and ethical questions about how long should people try to live for, and how far we should go in extending the human lifespan. Questions were also raised about treating aging as a natural process versus a disease within Medical Schools and other research centers."
– Kathleen S. Barber, Program Director, Askew Student Life Center, Florida State University



Winner, Best Documentary Feature
Tacoma Film Festival

World Premiere
SXSW Film Festival

Grierson Award Nominee
BFI London Film Festival

Official Selection
Mill Valley Film Festival
Hollywood Film Festival
Hot Docs



All prices include DVD and limited PPR
• K-12 Schools, Public Libraries & Community Groups: $89
• Colleges, Government, Business: $295
• Colleges, Government, Business (with DSL): $595

Featuring 52 + 80 Minute Versions of the Film & Extended Oxford Debate

Could the age-old quest for eternal life be realized in the next few decades? If so, is it even desirable?

The Immortalists follows two biomedical scientists seeking to radically extend human longevity through regenerative medicine. But not without controversy and concern.

Bill Andrews is a molecular biologist and famed long-distance runner now racing against the ultimate clock. "Hundreds of years from now, we're going to look back and be shocked by this horrible world we used to live in where people get old and die," says Andrews. Aubrey de Grey is one of the most famous figures in anti-aging research, a theoretical biologist. He believes the first person who could live to be 1,000 is alive today.

Andrews and de Grey differ in style and approach, but are united in their common crusade: to cure aging or die trying. De Grey proposes an intervention that would delete the telomerase gene in the body. Andrew’s research is fundamentally the opposite – he is trying to trigger the gene in cells to produce telomerase.

They both publicly disagree with other biologists who believe that curing aging is neither possible nor desirable. In an Oxford debate, de Grey spars with British neurobiologist Colin Blakemore over the basic scientific and ethical questions.

As Andrews and de Grey battle their own aging and suffer the loss of loved ones, their journeys toward life without end ultimately become personal.

The Immortalists raises fundamental questions beyond whether eternal life is possible. How would being ‘forever young’ alter the human condition and our world?


Oxford Debate, Extended Excerpts (41 min) - Aubrey de Grey debates Dr. Colin Blakemore: “Resolved - this house wants to defeat aging entirely”. The debate covered the scientific feasibility and ethical questions.

Director’s Cut (80 min) – Long version of the film.


Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D. DeGrey’s ideas about reengineering the aging process have made him one of the most famous figures in the field of “anti-aging research.” He is the founder and Chief Scientific Officer of SENS Foundation, a non-profit research facility dedicated to medical breakthroughs to cure aging.

William H. Andrews, Ph.D. An accomplished molecular biologist and a 61-year-old ultra-marathon runner. At his biotech company, Sierra Sciences, he is researching telomeres, the caps at the end of chromosomes that wither away as we age, and telomerase, an enzyme that reverses the effects of cellular aging.

Terry Grossman, M.D. An anti-aging physician and the medical director of Grossman Wellness Center in Denver, Colorado. He is the doctor “patients visit when they don’t ever want to die.” Dr. Grossman believes that there are three bridges to immortality. His clinic is a “Bridge One Clinic”.

Colin Blakemore Ph.D. A neurobiologist and former Chief Executive of the British Medical Research Council, an equivalent of the United States’ NIH. He believes that the quest to “Defeat Aging” is neither possible nor wise. Dr. Blakemore spars with de Grey in the hallowed halls of Cambridge University in a highly publicized “Debate of the Ages” about life extension.

Leonard Hayflick, Ph.D. Dr. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells can only divide a limited number of times before they must die. He is a professor of medicine at UCSF and the author of the book “How and Why We Age.” Dr. Hayflick believes that any attempt to reverse aging is as futile as it is ridiculous.

Adelaide Carpenter, Ph.D Dr. Carpenter is a geneticist at the University of Cambridge. Early in her career, she made a breakthrough discovery in understanding how genes transfer during meiosis. She is married to de Grey.