Regulation

In the near future, Mia (Sunita Mani, “Glow”, “Mr Robot”), a young social worker, travels to a small community to administer behavior-modifying “patches” that guarantee happiness for the wearers. She must decide what to do when Kaleigh (Audrey Bennett, “Frozen on Broadway”), a precocious 10-year old girl, refuses to accept the patch.

Director’s Statement

As someone with a close family member who struggles with severe mental health issues, the way that we understand and help people with these challenges is always on my mind. So, when I stumbled across a Harvard bioethicist’s blog about the idea of always-on, perfectly-administered drip dosage of antidepressants, an entire world began to form in my head where this technology was a part of everyday life.

I started to think about what this could do for people in our country, but also what it would do for our country’s culture. Who would use it? How would we handle this as a society? And also, how might the government address the disparity in privilege this technology would create between children who grew up with the wealth to be “happy” and those who did not? This lead me to think about what the government’s responsibility is to “level the playing field” in health and where can human freedom be factored into these decisions?

There are a number of contentious issues in our country that, at their core, are discussions that pit something that might make society “better” against a loss of individual freedoms. We all agree it’s good the government removes citizens’ “freedom” to drive on the left side of the road in return for having safe roads. But where should the line be between giving up a freedom that makes “society” a better place, and allowing citizens to retain important autonomy? Many of us disagree about where this line might be for different issues like guns, education, or medical care, but I hope that this film serves as a starting place to discuss these issues, and for each side to empathize with the values and motivations of the other.