Tales From the Organ Trade


Ric Esther Bienstock
2013 | 82 minutes | Canada, U.S., Turkey, Kosovo, Israel, Philippines, Moldova
New York Premiere | Director in Attendance

Every 60 minutes a human organ is sold illicitly. Can you put yourself in the place of a buyer? A seller? What would you do if your life depended on it? This riveting, gritty, and unflinching film, narrated by David Cronenberg, explores the shadowy life and death world of international black market organ trafficking, delving deeply into the legal, and ethical issues that swirl around its center, its fringes, and its darkest depths. Street-level brokers, rogue surgeons, exploitation and salvation of the rich and the impoverished—it’s an infernal drama of endless moral complexity, which this film captures with an incredibly nimble grace, compassion, and even-handedness.

This screening will be followed by a reception with filmmaker Ric Esther Bienstock in the Hall of Reptiles and Amphibians.

Co-presented by HBO Documentary Films

What compelled you to see for yourself?
When I set out to make Tales From the Organ Trade, I thought I was embarking on a very black and white story of desperation and exploitation. What drove my investigation was the question, “What would you do if your life depended on it?”  The picture that emerged was far from black and white, but rather, a nuanced and complex story that forced me to question my own moral and ethical beliefs.
—Ric Esther Bienstock | Director, Tales From the Organ Trade