Filmmaker Josh Freed Looks at ‘Our Human Superpower’: Facial Recognition.

How Good Are You With Faces?

Can You Recognize These Celebrities?

(answers below)

Premiering on CBC The Nature of Things Friday, January 21 at 9 pm and streaming free on CBC GEM beginning the same day

New Documentary by Montreal filmmaker Josh Freed explores the science behind “the human superpower” of facial recognition, along with controversial developments in facial recognition technology

Watch the Trailer:




Montreal – Face it. We all have the same, boring thing above our necks: a round shape with two eyes above a nose and a mouth. To an alien we’d probably look as similar as a bunch of golden retrievers. Yet, as viewers learn in Montreal filmmaker Josh Freed’s new documentary, IN YOUR FACE, premiering Friday, January 21 at 9 pm on CBC The Nature of Things and on the free CBC GEM streaming service, we humans are highly skilled experts at telling each other apart. And our ability to recognize faces is a super-power we aren’t even aware of.

The average person can remember about 5,000 faces, both those we know and thousands of celebrities we’ve never even met. But some people are called “super-recognizers” and can recognize almost everyone they’ve ever met, even many decades ago, while others are “face blind” and can’t identify any faces at all, even the faces of their own children, or themselves in a mirror.

IN YOUR FACE delves into our remarkable ability to recognize faces. Why are some people so much better than the rest of us at recognizing faces, and others much worse?

It has nothing to do with your I.Q, education, age, gender, race, socio-economic status or other memory tasks. It’s all about how your brain is wired – a mystery scientists are just beginning to crack.

In the film, neuroscientists and other experts in Canada, the U.S. and Britain illuminate the fascinating science behind this human superpower we take for granted.

As well, computer scientists and others reveal the secrets, and the dangers, of the fast-changing world of face recognition technology – particularly in China.

Filmmaker Josh Freed says, “I never knew I had a superpower until I made this film about how we all recognize faces. It’s an amazing and untold story about what we do every time we meet someone.”

As IN YOUR FACE shows, when it comes to face recognition, there’s so much more than meets the eye!

Oh, and as for answers to the ‘three sets of eyes’ quiz at top: L-R – Serena Williams, Elvis Presley, and Angelina Jolie.

IN YOUR FACE is written and directed by Josh Freed. Producer is Janet Torge. Executive Producer is Josh Freed. Editor is Vidal Béïque; Director of Photography is Philippe Lavalette; Original Music is Composed by Eric Lemoyne. For CBC:  Jennifer Dettman is Executive Director, Unscripted Content, and Sue Dando is Executive in Charge of Production.

IN YOUR FACE is produced by Josh Freed Productions in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and with the participation of the Canadian Media Fund, the Rogers Documentary Fund, the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, and the Quebec Film and Television Tax Credit administered by SODEC.  The film is distributed by Point du Jour International. 


JOSH FREED – writer/director

JOSH FREED, the writer and director of IN YOUR FACE (premiering on CBC TV’s The Nature of Things and CBC GEM, January 21, 2021), is an award-winning Montreal-based filmmaker, journalist, author and playwright. 

As a filmmaker, Freed has been nominated for three Gemini (now CSA) Awards and a Genie Award. He won the World Medal for Investigative Filmmaking from the New York International Television Festival and two U.S. Chris Awards for Best North American Current Affairs Documentary.

His documentary films have been seen on CBC and CTV in Canada, on PBS, A&E and The Disney Channel in the United States, on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom, as well as in fifty other countries.

IN YOUR FACE is the latest in a series of diverse documentaries Freed has made in recent years for CBC, including The Memory Mirage (2017)Deluged by Data (2015); The Trouble with Experts (2014); and Life Below Zero (2012). He directed another CBC documentary, Where Did I Put My Memory?, co-produced with Newfoundland’s Barbara Doran, in 2009. 

He hosted a one-hour French-language doc for Radio-Canada appearing in spring of 2015 called La Guerre Contre La Bicyclette.

Freed was the messy guy in My Messy Life, broadcast to rave reviews on CTV. He teamed up with Miro Cernetig to co-direct the hour-long documentary special China’s Sexual Revolution, revealing the dramatic social changes in China in the areas of sex and sexual politics.Freed’s other films include In Search of Sleep – An Insomniac’s Journey; Coat of Many Colours; To Kill or To Cure; Polar Bear Safari; and Juggling Dreams in Mongolia.  As a former on-camera journalist for CBC, he also made over fifty short television documentaries.

For his writing, Freed has won two National Newspaper Awards as Best Canadian Columnist for his weekly column in the Montreal Gazette, as well as winning the prestigious Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, presented annually to the year’s funniest Canadian book.

Freed is the author of a new book, Postcards From Pandemica (Our Crazy COVID Years), and also just starred in Four Anglos Surviving the COVID Apocalypse, a sold-out theatre show in Montreal, performed with cartoonist Terry Mosher and singer/songwriters Bowser and Blue.

He is the author of several other popular books, including Moonwebs; Vive Le Quebec FreedPress 1 and Pray; and The Anglo Guide to Survival in Quebec.

In 2012, Freed co-wrote and co-starred in the hit Quebec play Four Anglos of the Apocalypse, which played over 40 sold-out nights at the Centaur Theatre – Montreal’s largest English-speaking theatre.  It was followed by The 25th Century Belongs to Canada, which also played at the Centaur.

In 2019, Freed was the sole recipient of the Victor Goldbloom Award for Community Service, largely for years of making Quebecers smile.

We would like to thank Jeremy Katz, Publicist for the press release.