25 Nov 2021
Congratulations to Pailin Wedel, honoree of The Future List 2021, for the success of her documentary film “Hope Frozen” which just won the 2021 Documentary Award at the 49th International Emmy Awards in New York City.
The documentary, featured on Netflix under the title “Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice” tells the story of the Naovaratpong family who lost their youngest daughter, Einz, to brain cancer when she was still a toddler. The parents, both of whom have doctorate degrees in medical engineering, turned to science in an effort to preserve their daughter, and cryonics became an option. Cryonics is the science of preserving human bodies in extremely cold temperatures so that they can be revived one day in the future when a cure for the disease has been discovered. Little Einz therefore became the youngest person in the world to undergo cryo-preservation, and her head and brain are now stored in a tank in Arizona.
Pailin met the family in the capacity of a translator for a new feature article, but was captivated by their story, and eventually persuaded the parents that it was a story worth telling. The film was Pailin’s first feature-length documentary and one of the first Thai Netflix Original documentaries. Pailin believed that it wasn’t just about a grieving family turning towards technology, but about the existential questions of life and death, and how love and faith, science and technology are interwoven in an attempt to overcome death. For such a controversial subject matter, Pailin was able to present it in a sensitive and factual manner devoid of sensationalising or critique.
It won Best International Feature (2019), Hotdocs, Toronto, the first of a series of award over the next two years including Best Documentary Feature (2019), Montevideo World Film Festival, Uruguay; and Best Documentary (2020), Fescisa, Ecuador. The film also qualified for Oscar consideration in the best documentary feature category.
Adding an interesting twist to this story is the fact that Matrix, Einz’s older brother who was just 13 when she passed away, had proclaimed that he would one day be the person to bring his sister back. And he is now on his way, having gained entrance into the Faculty of Medicine, Mahidol University. The school is attached to the very same hospital, Ramathibodi Hospital, where his sister was treated. He had in fact been accepted to various international institutes such as UC in San Diego, USA) UCL, King's College London, University of Warwick, but the pandemic lockdown was the deciding factor to choose a local university.