(San Francisco, CA) — Twin Sisters tells the amazing true story of Mia and Alexandra, twin Chinese infants found in a cardboard box and taken to an orphanage in 2003. Thousands of miles away, two hopeful families — Wenche and Sigmund in Norway, and Andy and Angela in Sacramento — got word that their search for a child was over. Each couple arrived in China to claim their longed-for babies but by a twist of fate, they also met each other — and, noticing how much the girls looked alike, started to wonder if their new daughters might be connected. A powerful and moving story of love and the game of fate, Twin Sisters, produced and directed by Mona Friis Bertheussen, premieres on the PBS series Independent Lens on Monday, October 20, 2014, 10:00 to 11:00pm ET on PBS (check local listings).
When Wenche and Angela met at the orphanage, each with their new babies in their arms, they were astonished to see they had both dressed their girls in identical red gingham dresses. But the similarities didn’t end there. The babies looked alike and shared a birthday. Despite the authorities assuring them the girls were not twins, the new mothers exchanged contact information and a year later decided to do a DNA test.
By the time the results confirmed that the girls were indeed twins, they were deeply entrenched in their new families. In the U.S., Mia was growing up to be a typical, all-American girl, with a bustling life filled with violin lessons, Girl Scouts, and soccer, while in Norway, Alexandra lived a quieter life in the breathtakingly beautiful but isolated village of Fresvik, population 243.
As soon as the girls were old enough to understand, their families told them about their twin on the other side of the world and they began to communicate despite the distance and language barrier. When finally they meet again in Norway as eight years olds, Mia and Alexandra not only look and act alike, but are unmistakably linked to each other. As Mia joins Alexandra on an exploration of the beautiful village, the girls interact with the undeniable connection of sisters.
Twin Sisters is a poignant examination of our notions of family — the genetic ones we inherit and the ones we create.
Visit the Twin Sisters companion website (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/twin-sisters/) which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmaker and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more.
About the Filmmaker
Mona Friis Bertheussen (Producer/Director) is an award-winning director and producer. She has won some of the most prestigious awards for documentary films including the Audience Award at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam). She has also received the Human Rights Award for Film from the Norwegian government. Bertheussen studied journalism and TV communications in both Norway and the U.S. and holds a bachelor’s in Sociology, Literature, and Languages. She started her own production company, Moment Film (www.momentfilm.no), in 2003 and over the last ten years has produced a number of successful documentaries that have received international exposure and been broadcast around the world.
Producer/Director: Mona Friis Bertheussen
Director of Photography: Hallgrim Haug F.N.F.
Additional Cinematography: Mona Friis Bertheussen
Editing: Erik Andersson & Mona Friis Bertheussen
Twin Sisters is a production of Moment Film AS, in association with TV2, NFI Norwegian Film Institute, and SVT.
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00pm. The acclaimed series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more visit pbs.org/independentlens. Join the conversation: www.facebook.com and on Twitter.