Donated to Science

A few years ago we interviewed several people who planned to donate their bodies to the Otago Medical School for students to dissect.  We asked them about their lives and their loves, their hopes, their fears, and of course their bodies.

The Otago Medical school is one of the last in the world whose students still do significant human dissection. The donors and the students gave us permission to follow them through this whole process.

This unexpectedly life affirming, sad, funny and above all human film is the result.

The emotional payoff at the end – when the students finally get to ‘meet’ their donors and watch the original donor interviews is as powerful as anything you will see.  For the first time on film, we have the chance to be a part of the amazing journey of the students, the donors and their families.

The first 10 minutes are online here:

When the film was shown on Television here in New Zealand it was the highest rating documentary of the year – a third of the adult population watched it and talk radio, went mad within a few minutes of broadcast.  It garnered stunning reviews and was a RealScreen ‘Pick of MIP’

“proof that primetime television can take on the big complicated stuff… excellent and moving” NZ Listener

“As wracked with emotion and the collywobbles as any cliff-hanger episode of a television medical drama.” Frances Grant, NZ Herald

“The direction, the editing, the style of the documentary were all of such a high standard that minutes into the programme, you knew you were watching something special, something literally cutting edge… extraordinarily profound” Jane Bowron, Dominion Post

We now have an Academic 3 disk version available which includes a licence to use in teaching (US$75) and a Student 2 disk version (US$30) available on DVD, if you are interested you can contact me at paul(at)

“This is an enthralling piece of filmmaking that says much about the human condition… It is my fervent hope that at the very least, all deans of medical schools and medical educationalists should view it in order to appreciate how important anatomy is to health care studies and practice, beyond just the factual basis of the discipline.” Prof Bernard Moxham,in The Journal of Anatomy

If you are interested in broadcasting Donated to Science then contact PBS who are distributing and they’ll send you a screener. Contact: Tom Koch at 617-300-3893 or jtkoch(at), you can also see their website

Some links to recent articles in the media on human dissection by Medical students: