HBO picks up Israeli movie ‘Google Baby’

The Israeli documentary film “Google Baby,” by Zippi Brand Frank, has been bought by the American cable network HBO. It is set to air in prime time on June 16.

The screening will be preceded by a publicity campaign that will include interviews with Brand Frank and the protagonists of the film in important daily papers, such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

“Google Baby,” produced a year ago for the Yes Docu channel, traces a budding worldwide industry of “producing” babies, run almost entirely from personal computers. Specifically, one company set up by an Israeli entrepreneur coordinates for Israeli sperm to be flown to the United States for the artificial insemination of American ova.

Frozen embryos are then transported to India, where they are implanted in the uterus of local surrogate mothers who spend the next nine months in a “greenhouse” of Western lifestyle. After the woman gives birth, the parents fly to India and pick up the baby.

The film won the 2009 Docaviv Israeli Competition in Tel Aviv, and has been invited to scores of festivals worldwide. Brand Frank will arrive in the United States next week, after visiting China where the film is a contender in the prestigious Magnolia competition. The film also played on the Arte channel in Europe and on HBO Latino. Brand Frank said it is also set to be shown on British Channel 4.

“It’s a strong journalistic topic that people didn’t really spot until the movie came out,” Brand Frank says. “A lot of people have asked me how a film on this issue came out in Israel, of all places.”