Instant Life

Institute History

  • 2022 Sundance Film Festival


Before she met Harold von Braunhut, Yolanda Signorelli was a young Bohemian actress floating through the exploitation film world of the late 1960s. A mad scientist with a tenacious entrepreneurial spirit, Harold ruled the back pages of comic books by selling novelty mail-order toys like X-Ray Specs, Invisible Goldfish, and his most successful product, Amazing Live Sea Monkeys. Harold perfected the formula for bringing these miniature sea creatures to life by combining practical chemistry with a magician’s sleight of hand. After Harold and Yolanda fell in love, the unlikely duo oversaw the rise of a pop culture phenomenon that still endures.

After Harold’s passing, Yolanda became the only person in the world who knew the top-secret formula, but a string of unfortunate developments left her without control of the iconic property. Dispossessed of her livelihood and without electricity or running water, she is forced to wage a legal and existential battle to take back what is rightfully hers. First, she must confront the ghost of Harold, who casts a dark shadow over Yolanda’s beloved Sea Monkeys.

The world premiere of this riveting three episode docu-series will be presented in its entirety.

Screening Details

  • Section: Indie Episodic Episodes
  • Film Type: Episodic
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Run Time: 180 min.
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