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Mechanical Bride, The
Directed by
Allison de Fren

USA / 2012 / 76

US Premiere

Screening Times and Venues:

Allison de Fren’s fascinating feature debut The Mechanical Bride provides audiences a look into the clandestine world of artificial companionship with sexbots and astoundingly realistic female sex dolls, a world that is slowly gaining a public presence. Citing roots as early as Pygmalion, de Fren traces doll culture history through film, television and more recently, the erotic world of robotic technology. The Mechanical Bride delves into the intimate and psychological aspects of sex doll manufacturing and ownership, examining companies like RealDoll and Orient Doll as well as their influence on sexual culture and moral perspective. The Mechanical Bride addresses not only the sexual implications of a non-organic erotic world but also the political and personal implications that will define the future of sex and technology. —Chandra L. Knotts
Allison de Fren is a media maker and scholar based in Los Angeles, who divides her time between creating, writing, and teaching about media, gender and technology. While she has always been fascinated with dolls, puppets, mannequins and robots, her interest in men who build artificial women was sparked in her former life as an interactive digital designer, while working among predominantly male roboticists at a future technology “think tank” in Silicon Valley. It eventually led to her award-winning documentary short on robot fetishists, A.S.F.R. (, which in turn gave birth to The Mechanical Bride (her first feature). She holds a master’s degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a doctorate from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, and has been awarded fellowships from the Annenberg Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Cagney & Lacey Foundation and the American Association of University Women. She is an Assistant Professor of Media Arts & Culture at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Narrator: Julie Newmar
Producer(s): C. Grant Mitchell, Allison de Fren
Director(s): Allison de Fren
Cinematographer(s): C. Grant Mitchell, Andrew Syder
Editor(s): Allison de Fren, P.J. Wolff
Composer(s)/Music: Rich Ragsdale
Sound Designer(s): Greg Conway


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