Two extraordinary scientists struggle to create eternal youth with medical breakthroughs in a world they call "blind to the tragedy of old age." Bill Andrews is a lab biologist and famed long-distance runner racing against the ultimate clock. Aubrey de Grey is a genius theoretical biologist who conducts his research with a beer in hand. They differ in style and substance, but are united in their common crusade: cure aging or die trying. They publicly brawl with the old guard of biology who argue that curing aging is neither possible nor desirable. As they battle their own aging and suffer the losses of loved ones, their journeys toward life without end ultimately become personal.
As you might guess this isn't really a popular science effort, but rather an entry into the time-honored documentary genre of giving screen time to strong characters in an industry largely unfamiliar to the public, people who are forging their way against the flow, working to achieve great and unusual things. There's a blog and PDF press kit if you want to look further.
You can also get a sense of the thing from the trailer, but I'll use this as a springboard to note the existence of a very real challenge when it comes to advocacy and fundraising for efforts to develop the means to treat and reverse degenerative aging. The public at large, and even people who take a little time to investigate the work of the research community, largely cannot tell the difference between serious efforts that might actually work, such as the work of the SENS Research Foundation and its allies, and scientific-sounding efforts that are in fact just ways to sell supplements that cannot possibly do anything meaningful to the course of aging, which is what has become of Sierra Sciences.
Sierra Sciences was at one point a serious effort to investigate manipulation of telomeres and telomerase as a means to treat aging, but at some point venture capital demands profits. Hence the slide of this company, like others before it, from legitimate research venture to just another group selling packaged herb extracts. Somewhere back in the day someone figured out that if you sound like a scientist people will buy what you sell regardless of how dubious your pitch is. It works even better if you actually used to be a scientist - so that's what we tend to see in this sort of situation. It's a damn shame, but it is what it is.
So you have a film equating de Grey, who coordinates a well-supported disruption of the status quo in aging research, complete with ongoing research projects aimed at the creation of actual, real rejuvenation over the next few decades, with Andrews, who is a scientist turned supplement seller - yet another in the long series of people to leave the rails of doing meaningful research in favor of hawking marginal and frankly dubious products here and now. These two people and the broader efforts they represent couldn't be more different. One is a shot at rejuvenation, and the other has made himself irrelevant to that goal.
This is a microcosm of the reasons why much of the mainstream scientific community are exceedingly unhappy with the "anti-aging" marketplace. When folk in the street - and journalists who know better, but who live and die by page view counts - don't take the time to distinguish between fraudulent "anti-aging" products and legitimate laboratory research, and the largest megaphones are wielded by supplement sellers, then the fundraising environment for aging research becomes challenging.
The future of longevity is not herbal supplements, never was herbal supplements, and never will be herbal supplements. Anyone trying to sell you a supposedly longevity-enhancing ingested product here and now, today, has left the real road to human rejuvenation far behind. All they have to sell are wishes, dreams, and lies. The only valid, viable way forward is to fund the right sort of research: the development of targeted therapies capable of repairing or reversing the known root causes of aging, and stop-gap treatments such as stem cell therapies that can temporarily reverse some of the consequences of aging to a degree that merits the high cost of development. Nothing exists today that can accomplish that first goal, and it will be at least two decades before early rejuvenation therapies emerge, even assuming great progress in fundraising over that time.
So to meander to a conclusion: there is probably no such thing as bad publicity. The more that the public hears about the prospects for treating aging, more likely it is that some people will come to favor that goal, and the easier it becomes for scientists to raise funds for new ventures or to expand existing SENS programs. But I, not in the target audience of course, would much prefer to see that done in a more discriminating way than the example herein.