I first met Ellie in 2007 when she was in the early stages of becoming an altruistic kidney donor. Articulate, insightful, and irreverent, Ellie is an ideal protagonist for this experiential, character-driven film and her actions cannot be easily dismissed by the viewer. From the outset, Ellie granted me unprecedented access to her story. However, the primary challenge was the unpredictability of the narrative.
As the population ages, the need for organs inexorably rises and the wait list for a kidney from a deceased donor continues to grow. Altruistic organ donation from a living donor is the new frontier that could significantly increase the supply of organs. But many people feel discomfited by the idea and policymakers are wary of the implications. Through the prism of one kidney’s journey, Perfect Strangers confronts thorny philosophical questions about acts of compassion, altruism, and ultimately, who deserves a second chance at life and at what cost.