It was a very good occasion at the Phoenix in East Finchley last night when they showed Donor Unknown to an audience of nearly 200 people. There was a small contingent of DC Network members but it seems most people were locals who were intrigued by the title and came along to see what it was about. Good old liberal N. London!
I guess the ‘star’ of the film is Jeffrey, ex model and member of the Chippendales erotic dancing troupe whose profile as a sperm donor sold itself to so many women because of his deep blue eyes and a mixture of athletic prowess and a spiritually inclined philosophical outlook on the world. He certainly seemed a kind man, if now somewhat eccentric, leading an alternative lifestyle in a motor home on Venice Beach with his dogs and local pigeons for company.
JoEllen, the offspring whose story forms a major part of the film, is also a very kind person, kind about Jeffrey and about her half-sibs…but she is also so much more. At just 20, her poise and confidence on taking the stage in the Q and A after the film was awesome and it was a great pleasure to have her back to our house to stay the night. She has been learning Arabic in Jordan for the last nine months and is currently on her way back to the States to see her moms, before returning to the Middle East to finish her studies. Over the last weekend she made a detour to Ireland to be present at a film festival that was showing Donor Unknown. Partying hard had clearly been an important part of this trip and she had in fact missed a flight back to the UK because of oversleeping, but she was calm and unruffled when she she arrived at the London cinema and remained completely at ease, warm, humorous and interested in others as well as telling her own story, back at our place. A very impressive young woman.
During the film I sat next to a donor conceived adult I had never met before who said she had learned of her origins only two years ago when she was 28. My immediate assumption was that this must have been difficult for her, but she said she was completely cool with it, understood why her parents had not told her earlier and was now embracing the new world she had found herself part of. She absolutely supports the DCN line of early telling but is an exception to the received wisdom that finding out about DC origins later than sooner undermines trust in families and is inevitably damaging. You never can tell.