A Netflix documentary about freezing people's bodies after death features a Scottsdale cryonics company

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A new Netflix documentary premiering Tuesday, Sept. 15, explores the idea of living twice.

"Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice" follows a young girl in Thailand who undergoes cryopreservation. The 2-year-old, died of brain cancer in January 2015, is the youngest person to ever undergo cryopreservation. The eventual goal of cryonics is allow people to be brought back to life in the future.

One of the places testing cryonics is Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a nonprofit in Scottsdale. Alcor has been around nearly 50 years. They have around 180 patients, including baseball legend Ted Williams, and thousands have signed up to make arrangements when they die. Alcor keeps people in tanks at negative 320 degrees. The goal of Alcor is to one day, when technology advances, revive the person, just like current science allows sperm and eggs to be frozen and used later.

In 2016, Alcor said it was doubling the size of its facility to keep up with increasing demand.

Scottsdale-based cryopreservation facility doubling size to meet demand

Alcor's president Max More believes when a doctor declares someone dead today, it doesn't mean they are dead.

"What she really means given today's technology and medical ability there is nothing more the doctor can do for that person," he said.

It took filmmaker Pailin Wedel five years to make the documentary.

"I had a craving to do a story that connects people in larger theme: life, death, faith, what is duty of a parent to kids, how far would you go?" Wedel said. It's different than other documentaries she's worked on.

"This a film about one family's experience, not interviewing critics and interviewing people who are pro," Wedel said. She called it a character driven documentary.

On whether cryonics actually works, the jury is still out. Alcor makes no guarantees, but truly believes it will work in the future.

"If people think it can't possibly work, I ask them, 'why exactly you think it can't work?' Already today we can cryo preserve all these different kinds of tissues. We've had success preserving whole organs and reversing that and implanting them. It's a matter of technological advance," More said. Wedel said the scientists she's talked to have varying opinions.

"They are people who really think , this could happen one day. That's a big leap ahead and there's people who think they are probably nearly impossible," Wedel said. Wedel herself thinks right now it's probably impossible, but in a thousand years she doesn't know. More said if people are revived, it'll be a while.

"We're not going to  be bringing people back next year or few years or 20 years. It's going to take at least decades, maybe 100 years," he said.


Copyright 2020 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Recommended for you