Feminism Meets Exploitation in the Dark Comedy “OVUM”

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Ovum

A provocative dramedy about risking everything for art, OVUM is an award-winning film written by Sonja O’Hara, who also plays the lead character, Calpurnia Dylan. Directed by Matt Ott, OVUM was released by Random Media on April 11th and is available on iTunes DVD and VOD. From Random Media:

“OVUM is a provocative dark comedy about a quirky actress who tries method acting to approach a role and is drawn into the shady world of egg donation clinics and the characters who populate them: from unscrupulous doctors with mind bending fertility drugs to the model donors and a notorious faded movie star who wants our heroine’s OVUM at any cost. But things are not as they first appear in a world where wealthy couples seek to buy the perfect designer egg. Is more at stake than just a role? What is the true worth of a human egg?”

In an intriguing real life turn of events, the film’s writer/star became an egg donor herself – twice –  and even ended up partially funding the film through donating her eggs. She wrote about her inspiration and experience during and after filming:

“The idea for OVUM came to me when I was flipping through the pages of Backstage. Next to casting notices for student films and Off-Off-Broadway plays, I noticed a picture of a group of beautiful, glowing young women and an ad that read: Do something meaningful. Help a woman in need. $8,000 dollars. I remember thinking, here they are marketing a dangerous and experimental vanity procedure to fledgling actresses who are more often than not desperate and financially impaired young women. Ultimately I discovered that the in vitro fertilization process can be potentially more affordable than the sometimes exorbitant adoption fees in New York State. The whole issue wasn’t black and white and I felt compelled to explore the questionable moral gray area of financial compensation in exchange for human life. Could an audience relate to a self-serving female character who sells her eggs?

I wanted to rebel by creating a profoundly flawed heroine who could provoke conversation about eugenics, performance art and reproductive rights. Can one go “too far” for their art? Egg donation is a largely unexplored taboo topic and that seems to get under peoples skin. I ended up donating my own eggs multiple times to fund the film.”

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While there have been other films made about exploring the possibilities of eugenics and the trials of egg donation, OVUM goes much deeper, uncovering the dark side of “designer” egg clinics. The twenty-four year-old protagonist, loosely based on O’Hara’s personal life, finds out how the female experience of egg donation can straddle the fence between empowerment and exploitation as she struggles to make it as an actor.

Watch the trailer:

To read more about the film and for where to download, visit www.ovumfilm.com 

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