Bluebrain is a ten-year documentary film-in-the-making about the twenty-first century race to reverse engineer the human brain. Such is the goal of The Blue Brain Project, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, one of the highest-profile neuroscience projects in the world today. Blue Brain’s audacious leader is Henry Markram, who publicly announced in 2009 that he seeks to reverse-engineer a human brain with digital simulations of all the physical properties of every neuron, powered by IBM supercomputers, by 2020. Director Noah Hutton began shooting in 2009, focusing exclusively on Markram’s Blue Brain Project— but starting in Year 3, the scope of the film has expanded to include the work of other prominent projects and labs seeking to understand the brain through different methods, including Sebastian Seung of M.I.T., Rafael Yuste of Columbia University, and Jeff Lichtman of Harvard University.
The film will continue to survey the work of other projects and their leaders in years to come, with yearly shorts released ahead of a full re-edit into a documentary feature due for completion in 2020. As the Blue Brain simulation is built over the course of this decade, so too will this documentary about a historic quest in human history. Through yearly updates from Blue Brain and other prominent scientists, philosophers, and ethicists, Bluebrain will track a crucial decade in the human mind’s relentless drive to understand itself.