"​Picture a Scientist​”
“​Picture a Scientist​”

This year’s 13th edition of Imagine Science Film Festival (ISFF) ​will be​ fully online ​due to the COVID19 crisis, running October 16 – 23, 2020​.

​The festival under the theme “MIGRATION” kicks off on October 16​ with an ambitious schedule including ​28 programs with over ​80 ​​films,​ with ​30 countries ​represented. It also introduces the movement of Science New Wave​ celebrating cinematic work that encourages bold, hybrid new forms of scientific storytelling.

In the opening night film, Ian Cheney and Sharon Shattuck’s eye-opening documentary “​Picture a Scientist​” explores the cases of three leading women scientists​ who overcome brutal harassment, institutional discrimination, and years of subtle slights to revolutionize the culture of science.

The Monday night feature is the U.S. Premiere of Ai Weiwei’s ​Coronation, ​a remarkable documentary that follows the lives of people in the city of Wuhan, China during the global COVID-19 pandemic and reveals how the country’s government and citizens have responded to the outbreak. ​

Other feature films are described as just as engaging.​ Journey to heart of the Angolan capital, Luanda, with the U.S. Premiere of Fradique’s debut feature film, ​Air Conditioner​. Meet Hugo Gernsbackthe, the most influential nerd you may never have heard of, with our retrospective screening of Eric Schockmel’s ​Tune into the Future​. Explore sisterhood and the evolution of communication in two of the most social creatures on earth, humans and ants, in Anna Lindemann’s feature, ​The Colony​. Keeping with our tradition, we end the festival with the original productions from the Symbiosis Competition themed “​Crisis through the lens of Migration​.”

The 7th edition of Symbiosis, presented by Science Sandbox, will pair scientists and filmmakers together on opening night. This year, participants will have the entire festival week to write, shoot, edit, and score an original science short film. They will be working virtually this year, opening up new forms of collaboration and outputs. Films will be screened during our closing night and the winning team will be awarded. Participating scientists have just been finalized and will be announced on September 22.

Symbiosis Competition will pair up an amazing spread of filmmakers and scientists, including a Trinidadian-Canadian narrative filmmaker, a digital artist from the Netherlands, a light box experimental animator from California, a Turkish documentarian, a Filipino biologist studying stem cell migration and identity switching, a Puerto Rican biochemist studying the physiology of mental health disorders, and an Italian electrical engineer working on 5G wireless connectivity.

Inspired by the Market day a few years back, the festival is introducing the very first edition of Origins. The focus is on the filmmakers this year. They will present works-in-progress to a panel of funders, distributors and producers specialized in scientific content. As part of the Student edition of Origins, Imagine Science pairs with BioBus and will showcase and elevate student voices during this virtual event: Student ORIGINS Workshop.

Programs by day

(in chronological order)

All programs, conversations, and workshops will be streamed online

Fri. October 16

7:00 – 9:00 PM : Picture A Scientist / Ian Cheney, Sharon Shattuck, U.S.A., doc, 2020, 95 min Feature Film I Conversation with directors & scientists.
Women in science raising awareness on gender discrimination. Three leading women scientists overcome brutal harassment, institutional discrimination, and years of subtle slights to revolutionize the culture of science.

Followed by a conversation with:
Co-directors Sharon Shattuck & Ian Cheny
Specifics of panel to be announced over the coming weeks

10:00 PM – Earth – Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Austria, 2019, 115 min
Feature Film
Several billion tons of earth are moved annually by humans – with shovels, excavators or dynamite. Nikolaus Geyrhalter observes people in mines, quarries, large construction sites in a constant struggle to appropriate the planet.

Sat. October 17

11:00 AM – Science for Nanos: Animals Speak Up (89 min)
Short Film Program I Q&A with directors.
How well do we understand the animal realm: their behaviors, sounds, and patterns? If animals adopted a semi-human condition and could speak, would we listen to what they had to say? With these seven short films we invite you to see the world from their perspective.

Something to Remember – Niki Lindroth von Bahr, Sweden, 2019, 5 min – New York Premiere.
Bend or Break – Isaac Kerlow, Singapore, 2019, 3 min.
Mirror Test – Duncan Marquiss, UK, 2019, 6 min – East Coast Premiere.
Yo Quisiera ser Animal – Alexis Gambis, Cuba, 2020, 6 min – World Premiere.
Smiles – Steven Bednar, U.S.A., 2019, 11 min.
The Whelming Sea – Sean Hanley, U.S.A., 2020, 28 min – World Premiere.
Clebs – Halima Ouardiri, Canada, 2020, 18 min.

1:00 PM – The Fine Line Between Borders (90 min)
Short Film Program I Q&A with directors.
How are limits defined and what is their power? Change, whether it be in territories, landscapes, weather, matter, or communication, has a meaningful impact on the dynamics of the world. From stormy shorelines
to extraterrestrial communication, these short films explore the subtle yet complex state of transition.

It’s Going to Be Beautiful – Luis Gutiérrez Arias / John Henry Theisen, Mexico, 2019, 8 min.
The End of Suffering ( a proposal) – Jacqueline Lentzou, Greece, 2020, 14 min.
The Circadian Cycle – Garry Stewart, Australia, 2019, 16 min.
The eyes in the woods and the taste in the water – Luciana Mazeto / Vinícius Lope, Brazil, 2020, 36 min.
The Shoreline (Rivages) – Sophie Racine, France, 8’, 2020.

3:00 PM – Once You Know (Une fois que tu sais) – Emmanuel Cappellin, France, 2020, 104 min – East Coast Premiere.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
The intimate journey across the abyss of a world at the edge of climate-induced collapse.

5:00 PM – The Story of Plastic – Deia Schlosberg, U.S.A., 2019, 89 min
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
Shedding new light on a pressing global challenge that threatens the life expectancy of animals, humans, and Earth itself

7:00 PM – The Great Green Wall – Jared P. Scott, UK, 2019, 60 min
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
Malian musician Inna Modja takes us on an epic journey along Africa’s Great Green Wall.

9:00 PM – Jozi Gold – Fredrik Gertten, Sylvia Vollenhaven, South Africa, 2019, 74 min – U.S. Premiere
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
The golden era has left 1,6 million people living on radioactive grounds, but one person is on a mission to force the gold industry to clean up.

Sun. October 18

11:00 AM – Science for Nanos: Exploration, Discovery and Invention + The Last Artifact (110 min)
Short Film Program I Q&A with filmmakers.
A program full of inventions, oddities, and curiosities with an inside look at the untold story of one of the most important objects on the planet: the kilogram.

The Last Artifact – Jaime Jacobsen / Ed Watkins, U.S.A, 57′, 2020 – World Premiere
Obscura – Hannah Jordan / Emily Jordan, Australia, 8′, 2019 – US Premiere
Gravedad – Matisse Gonzalez, Germany, 10′, 2019
Endless Forms Most Beautiful – Meredith Binnette, USA, 5′, 2020, US Premie
The Universe Within – Valentina Cruz Collins, Chile, 6′, 2020, US Premiere

1:00 PM – The Colony – Anna Lindemann, U.S.A, 2020, 60 min – New York Premiere
Feature Film & Performance / Q&A with director/performers.
The story about sisterhood and the evolution of communication in two of the most social creatures on earth: humans and ants.

3:00 PM – 6:00 PM – Origins Pitch Session
Workshop / More on participants to be announced on October 1.
This year, Imagine Science Films will present its first ORIGINS session. We will hear from a select number of science film projects in various stages of development, production, and distribution. Along with BioBus, we will also present the Origins Student Edition, showcasing and elevating student voices who will pitch their projects to us

7:00 PM – The World of Thinking – Misha Wessel, Thomas Blom, Netherlands, 2019, 22 min – U.S. Premiere.
Feature Film | Conversation with filmmakers & scientists.
Co-presented with InScience & Pioneer Works + Science Studios + Pioneer Broadcast In ‘The World of Thinking’ five of the most brilliant scientists of our time take us on their quest for a revolutionary breakthrough. They are gathered at the world famous Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the former academic home of Einstein. What drives them, which hazards do they have to face, and how do they push themselves beyond existing boundaries?

8:00 PM – ‘The World of Thinking’ – in Conversation
Conversation with physicist Nima Arkani-Hamed and Astrophysicist and Pioneer Works Director of Sciences, Janna Levin.

9:00 PM – Air Conditioner – Fradique, Angola, 2020, 72 min – U.S. Premiere.
Feature Film / Q&A with director.
One day, air conditioners in the Angolan capital Luanda start to mysteriously fall from the buildings.

Mon. October 19

11:00 AM – Beneath the Surface (96 min)
Short Film Program / Q&A with directors.
What is exposed is not necessarily what is meant to be perceived. The sounds that we hear, the stories that we tell and the pictures that we see have deeper meaning than what is shown on the outside. From underwater clams to the crackling of fireworks to Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims, these short films aim to unveil what lies beyond what we can humanly see.

Metamorphoses – Julia Popławska, Poland, 12 min, 2020 – World Premiere.
Pripyat Piano – Eliška Cílková, Czech Republic, 18 min, 2020 – U.S. Premiere.
Helfer – Anna Szöllősi, Hungary, 9 min, 2020 – U.S. Premiere.
La Bobine 11004 – Mirabelle Frevillle, France, 20 min, 2020.
Fat Kathy – Julia Pelka, Poland, 14 min, 2019.
Decorum – Lorenzo Monti, Australia, 10 min, 2019.
Nitrate – Yousra Benziane, Canada, 14 min, 2019.

1:00 PM – Far From Home ( 77 min)
Short Film Program / Q&A with directors.
For many, home is more than a physical place; it’s people, experiences, landscapes, sounds, and smells that have been imprinted in their memory and have shaped who they are. So what does it mean to be away from home, and once we’re displaced how do we connect with our origins?

Baba – Sarah Blok / Lisa Konno, Netherlands, 13 min, 2020 – U.S. Premiere.
At Home But Not At Home – Suneil Sanzgiri, U.S.A. / India, 10 min, 2020 – New York Premiere.
Here and There (Aqui y Alla) – Melisa Liebenthal, Argentina, 21 min, 2019.
You Play Here – Inés Vogelfang , U.S.A., 17 min, 2019 – World Premiere.
The Quiet – Radheya Jegatheva, Australia, 10 min, 2019 – New York Premiere.

3:00 PM – Spanish Flu – The Forgotten Fallen – Justin Hardy, United Kingdom, 2009, 60 min.
Feature Film.
The harrowing true story of the flu that decimated the world’s population immediately after the carnage of World War I.

5:00 PM – Toxico – Ariel Herrera, Argentina, 2019, 80 min – U.S. Premiere
Feature Film / Q&A with director.
In the middle of a mysterious insomnia epidemic that slowly takes on catastrophic dimensions, Laura (39) and Augusto (42) flee the city in their motor-home to get away from the chaos.

7:00 PM – Symbiosis Lab Meeting
SYMBIOSIS Lab Meeting / Talks, Video & Drinks – presented by Science Sandbox.
Scientists and filmmakers discuss their works-in progress along with scientific narratives around the theme of “Migration in Times of Crisis.”

9:00 PM – Coronation – Ai Weiwei China, 2020, 113 min – U.S. Premiere
Feature Film / Q&A with director.
Coronation” examines the political specter of Chinese state control from the first to the last day of the Wuhan lockdown. The film records the state’s brutally efficient, militarized response to control the virus. Sprawling emergency field hospitals were erected in a matter of days, 40,000 medical workers were bused in from all over China, and the city’s residents were sealed into their homes.

Tue. October 20

11:00 AM – Displacement and Relocation (63 min)
Short Film Program I Q&A with directors.
Some say that the journey is more important than the destination. If so, are we taking the time to understand how our inventions, discoveries, and lifestyles impact our destination and those of others? Through the proof of theories, nuclear experiments, transformed landscapes, and exile, these five films invite you to ponder on our past and present and the impact that they have on our future.

Aggregate States of Matters – Rosa Barba, Peru / Germany, 2019, 18 min.
The Atomic Adventure – Loïc Barché, France, 2019, 25 min – New York Premiere.
Where we used to swim – Daniel Asadi Faezi, Germany, 2019, 7 min – U.S. Premiere.
The eclipse which revolutionized physics – Renata Druck, Bruno Horowicz, Brazil, 2019, 12 min.
Exilio – Maria Espinoza Stransky, Cuba, 2019, 11 min – World Premiere.

1:00 PM – Virtual Reality (66 min)
Short Film Program / Q&A with directors.
How does technology impact our everyday lives? How dependent are we on it? What role will it play in our future society? What has it helped us understand and where is the line drawn between reality and fiction? These six films navigate our dynamics with technology as well as the boundaries that are set or broken.

Story – Jolanta Bankowska, Poland, 5′, 2019.
Freya – Camille Hollet-French, Canadá, 2020, 17 min – U.S. Premiere.
Watchmaker At Time’s End – Shaheen Sheriff, India, 2020, 5 min.
Average Happiness – Maja Gehrig, Switzerland, 2019, 7 min – East Coast Premiere.
TESTFILM #1 – Telco Systems, Croatia, 2019, 14 min – U.S. Premiere.
TX – REVERSE – Martin Reinhart, Virgil Widrich, Austria, 2019, 5 min.
Janus 2155 – The last archive – Stéfane Perraud, France, 2020, 13 min.

3:00 PM – Tune Into The Future – Eric Schockmel, Luxembourg, 2020, 72 min – U.S. Premiere.
Feature Film / Q&A with director.
One hundred years before the internet, a self-declared tech guru started preaching the future to his flock of outsiders

5:00 PM – Her Name Was Europa – Anja Dornieden, Juan David González Monroy, Germany, 2020, 76 min.
Feature Film I Q&W with director.
In the 20th century efforts to bring back the Aurochs from extinction began to materialize.

7:00 PM – Lapsis – Noah Hutton, U.S.A., 2019, 108.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
Struggling to support himself and his ailing younger brother, delivery man Ray takes a strange job in a strange new realm of the gig economy.

9:00 PM – Empty Horses – Péter Lichter, Hungary, 2019, 67 min – U.S. Premiere.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
The ghosts of two legendary Hungarian filmmakers (Michael Curtiz, Gábor Bódy) talk about film and personal history. A feature length essay film about cinema with actors Pál Mácsai and Roland Rába.

Wed. October 21

11:00 AM – Are you there? (72 min)
Short Film Program I Q&A with directors.
This combination of documentary and fiction shorts revolves around the concept of presence, whether it be in the physical realm or in a more abstract form like in our minds and memories. They explore the discovery of what has always been there but has never been seen, the commute between reality and the fabrications of our imagination as well as the risk to transition to non-existence.

The Institute – Alexander Glandien, Austria / Germany, 2020, 13 min – U.S. Premiere.
Now I am an Axolotl – Alejandra Medellín, Mexico, 2019, 10 min – U.S. Premiere.
Cosmonaut – Kaspar Jancis, Estonia, 2019, 12 min – U.S. Premiere.
Of the Basin – Keely Kernan, U.S.A., 2020, 25 min – East Coast Premiere.
I Love My Wife – Ian Tierney, UK, 2020, 5 min – New York Premiere.
Bye Little Block! – Éva Darabos, Hungary, 2020, 8 min – U.S. Premiere.

1:00 PM – Wake Up On Mars – Dea Gjinovci, U.S.A., 2020, 90 min
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
Two teenage sisters lie in a vegetative state in the small Swedish home of their Kosovar family, the cause of their mysterious malady, known as “resignation syndrome,” entwined with their personal trauma experienced as refugees.

3:00 PM – Coded Bias – Shalini Kantayya, U.S.A., 2020, 60 min
Feature Film I Q&A with director and special guests in partnership with Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute and Data Science Institute.
More info to be announced on Sept 29.
An exploration of the fallout of MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini’s startling discovery of racial bias in facial recognition algorithms.

5:00 PM – Speak So I Can See You – Marija Stojnić, Serbia, 2019, 73 min
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
Set at the intersection of an observational documentary and a unique sensory experience, the film conjures everyday scenes at the station and immersing interludes exploring the relationship between sound and the space it inhabits.

7:00 PM – Sow The Wind – Danilo Caputo, Italy, 91′, 2020
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
Nica, 21, drops out of her university course in agronomics and returns home to Apulia in southern Italy after three years away. She finds her father deep in debt, a polluted, devastated region, and olive trees destroyed by a parasite

9:00 PM – The Cordillera of Dreams – Patricio Guzman, Chile, 85 min
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
Patricio Guzmán left Chile more than 40 years ago when the military dictatorship took over the government. However, he never stopped thinking about a country, a culture and a place on the map.

Thurs. October 22

11:00 AM – Ironic Time (56 min)
Short Film Program I Q&A with directors.
In partnership with The Environmental Agency-Abu Dhabi and Zayed University’s Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival Environment Abu Dhabi Agency “This invisible irony of time is what our cinema artists represent. Our paradoxical age needs migrations in time too.” Artistic Director, Al Sidr Environmental Film Festival, Nezar Andary.

In Vitro – Larissa Sansour / Søren Lind, Palestine, 2019, 27 min.
Glory At Sea! – Benh Zeitlin, U.S.A, 2008, 25 min.
The Last Days of the Man of Tomorrow – Fadi Baki, Germany/Lebanon, 2017, 29 min.

1:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Reflecting on the Moon (138’)
A double feature film Program I Q&A with directors.
A celebration of our celestial spirit: the moon.

As Above So Below – Sarah Francis, Lebanon, 2020, 70 min – U.S. Premiere.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
This hushed, pared-down essay weaves together different facts and myths surrounding the moon: images, texts, and sounds are spun into a dense, delicate tissue of ideas, with humans both at the centre and infinitely small in this celestial context.

Ticket to the Moon – Veronika Janatkova, Czech Republic, 2019, 68 min – U.S. Premiere.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
At the frenzy of the Space Race almost 100,000 people on both sides of the Iron Curtain signed up to fly to the Moon at the PanAm’s First Moon Flights Club. Today, 50 years later, are the “Moon” generation’s dreams and aspirations the same as ours?

5:00 PM – At the Bottom of the Sea – Karsten Krause, Germany, 2020, 49 min – U.S. Premiere.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
“At the Bottom of the Sea” traces forms of migration, interweaving them with geological and archaeological cartographies.

7:00 PM – Whale Island – Chia-chun Huang, Taiwan, 2020, 108 min – New York Premiere.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
Oceanic literature author Liao Hung-chi and underwater photographer Ray Chin lead the audience out to the sea and into the water.

9:00 PM – Space Dogs – Elsa Kremser, Levin Peter, Austria, 2019, 91 min
Feature Film.
Laika, a stray dog, was the first living being to be sent into space and thus to a certain death. Legend has it that she returned to Earth as a ghost and still roams the streets of Moscow alongside her free-drifting descendants.

Fri. October 23

11:00 AM – Morphogenesis (59 min)
Short Film Program / Q&A with directors.
How does a cell or organism develop its shape in correlation to its environment, and what role does technology play in synchronising the organism’s process of development to achieve a state of homeostasis?

Voices of Genetic Counsellors: So Much More Than Just a Test – Anna Middleton, UK, 2020, 3 min – East Coast Premiere.
Synthesis of ATP – Dr Drew Berry, Australia, 2020, 2 min – World Premiere.
Freya – Camille Hollet-French, Canadá, 2020, 17 min – U.S. Premiere.
Material Bodies – Dorothy Allen-Pickard, UK, 2020, 4 min – World Premiere.
The Cloud House – Elias Heuninck, Belgium, 201, 5 min – U.S. Premiere.
A Demonstration – Sasha Litvintseva, Beny Wagner, Germany, 2020, 24 min – U.S. Premiere.
Earthbound – Normand Rajotte, Canadá, 2020, 10 min – U.S. Premiere.
Lichen – Lisa Jackson, Canadá, 2020, 11 min – New York Premiere.

1:00 PM – Bile – Ira Goryainova, Belgium, 2019, 63 min – U.S. Premiere
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
in partnership with Museum of the Moving Image’s Sloan Science & Film initiative that explores the intersection of science and film – Moderated by Sonia Epstein, Executive Editor and Associate Curator of Science and Film at the Museum. An introspective essay on the notion of the human body as political metaphor. Layer-by-layer the film digs down in order to reach answers to the proposed questions: what is body, what is illness and finally, what is death.

3:00 PM – Homo Botanicus – Guillermo Quintero, Colombia, 2020, 70 min – U.S. Premiere.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
This is an anachronistic journey through plant mysteries and their legacy in the world.

5:00 PM – Phases of Matter – Deniz Tortum, Turkey, 2020, 70 min – US Premiere.
Feature Film I Q&A with director.
“Phases of Matter” follows living and inanimate residents of a teaching hospital in Istanbul, moving from the operating room to the morgue, between life and other states, the real and the virtual.

7:00 PM – CLOSING NIGHT : SYMBIOSIS Films & Awards Ceremony
Short Film Program, Awards, Award Ceremony & Network Reception

For closing night, the festival will present the six films made as part of the 2020 Symbiosis competition presented by Science Our Symbiosis director Sophie Tintori will introduce the filmmaker/scientist pairs to introduce their six original works. Participants will discuss their collaboration and give us some insight into their joint project.

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