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2009 Imagine Science Film Festival kicks off

Colleen Smith

The festival unites the scientific community and filmmakers in an effort to make science accessible to the public.

The second annual Imagine Science Film Festival (ISFF) will bring together scientists, artists, and the public to enjoy science-themed films and discussions in New York City through October 24. This year, the festival has spread to three boroughs, with numerous screening and event venues in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.

The ISFF encourages dialogue between scientists and filmmakers through the art of film and provides a means to deliver science to the public in a compelling way.

The organizers received over 250 submissions for 2009 and will show 50 films, representing 9 different countries. The combination of documentaries, narratives, science fiction films, animations, and quirky science films aims to draw a much larger, more diverse audience, said Alexis Gambis, a scientist, filmmaker, and ISFF’s artistic director. “We are hoping to triple last year’s attendance,” he said.

The ISFF committee has also added new interactive elements to the program to broaden the audience scope. The “Kid-Friendly Science Shorts” program, held at the NY Hall of Science, is an attempt to “reach out to our younger audiences and expose kids to science, which is one of our missions,” said Gambis. In addition to Q&As with filmmakers following their film premieres, bands will entertain with science-inspired music to round out a few of the night’s showcases.

Along with having their films screened, filmmakers will be competing for four awards, which will be given out at the close of the festival: the Nature Scientific Award for the film that exemplifies science in storytelling and narrative filmmaking in a compelling, credible, and inspiring manner; the Imagine Science Films Productions Award for the most notable film featured in the festival; the Scientist Award for the most outstanding film made by a scientist; and the Math and Science Award, sponsored by Hollywood Math and Science Film Consulting, for the best New York City public school student-made film that deals with math or science.

A full schedule of events can be found on the ISFF website.