Carylanna Taylor Presents the Science & Fiction of ANYA

March 17th, 2019 1:30 PM   to   3:30 PM
Carylanna Taylor Presents the Science & Fiction of ANYA

NYC Skeptics presents Carylanna Taylor, co-creator of the movie ANYA, who will discuss how a casual thought experiment with her writing/producing partner Jacob Okada developed into a feature film. ANYA is a love story and genetics mystery coming in 2019. The film began in 2014 with Jacob's seemingly random question: how do species diverge? ANYA's story about a couple and the evolutionary geneticist who discovered the unusual source of their infertility was born. To come up with a concrete, plausible source of speciation, we reached out to the National Academy of Science's Science & Entertainment Exchange. They connected us with two amazing geneticists at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ting Wu and Dr. Ruth McCole lent their research on ultra-conserved elements of DNA to the film and became our science advisors. Our collaboration led to a movie that is far richer than our original script: ANYA tackles contemporary issues in genetics such as diversity in the scientific community, research ethics, DNA testing among vulnerable populations, and gene-editing.

ANYA has already scooped headlines and is likely to scoop more. In November 2018 news broke that a Chinese scientist appeared to have successfully created a "CRISPR baby." We filmed a similar plot point in summer 2017! In addition of the overview of ANYA's development, the lecture will include the film trailer, a sneak peak scene highlighting the knowledge gap between researchers and participants, and pre-recorded comments for The New York Skeptics Society by ANYA's science advisor, Dr. Ruth McCole.

Dr. Carylanna Taylor is an anthropologist and filmmaker. She spent over twenty years teaching and researching in Latin America and the US with a focus on migration, environment, and development. Her research received recognition through National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, and Fulbright grants. An applied cultural anthropologist by training (PhD University of South Florida), Carylanna is passionate about sharing her appreciation for human diversity and scientific understanding.

In 2012, she partnered with Jacob Okada in First Encounter Productions to apply her anthropology through film. Their work together includes a feature documentary about a NASA mathematician/painter (PAINTING THE WAY TO THE MOON, 2015) and their first narrative feature, a love story and genetics mystery (ANYA, 2019). We encourage all attendees to register at

The Brooklyn Commons
388 Atlantic Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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