Confessions of a Good Samaritan

Confessions of a Good Samaritan

USA | 2023 | 105 min. | Penny Lane

SIFF favorite Penny Lane (Our Nixon, Nuts!, Hail Satan?) returns to the Festival with her latest unconventional documentary, an investigation into the ethics of organ transplants spurred by her own decision to donate one of her kidneys.

This film is sponsored by David Prokopy.

What would it take for you to donate a kidney to a random stranger? Would doing so make you a good person? Documentarian Penny Lane (Hail Satan?) turns the lens on herself as she embarks on the journey of Good Samaritan organ donation. She invites us into her thought process with honest, hilarious, and at times unflattering confessionals as she examines her motivations for donation and the surprising struggles she endures along the way. From being forced by the looming surgery to confront the unique nature of her life to the unexpectedly enduring emotional aftereffects of donation, Lane must confront the bounds of her own altruism. She also seeks out scientists and other donors like herself in an attempt to untangle why someone would do something so many see as crazy. The film endeavors us to consider, are Good Samaritan Donors fundamentally different to the rest of us? Why have they given up a perfectly good kidney? Perhaps, more importantly, why haven't we?

—Betsy Cass

  • Director: Penny Lane
  • Principal Cast: Penny Lane, Abigail Marsh, Keith Melancon, Jacob Appel, Sally Satel
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2023
  • Running Time: 105 min.
  • Producer: Gabriel Sedgwick
  • Cinematographers: Naiti Gámez
  • Editors: Hannah Buck
  • Music: Carolina Eyck
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Listening to Kenny G. (doc, 2021), Hail Satan? (doc, 2018), The Pain of Others (doc, 2016), NUTS! (doc, 2016), Our Nixon (doc, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • International Sales: Submarine Entertainment