Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Imagine Science Film Festival Winners Announced

The Imagine Science Film Festival (ISFF) is an annual science-themed film festival based in Brooklyn and Paris. All submissions are narratives of real-world science and the people behind it. Normally, an established film-maker partners with a scientist or team of scientists to document their work.

ISFF started out in 2008 as a small film club at Rockerfeller University founded by Alexis Gambis, a geneticist. In the last 5 years, it has grown to a curation of international short films that make relevant science discoverable and palatable for the masses.

Mission statement from the website:
"Imagine Science Films is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in existence since 2008 committed to promoting a high-level dialogue between scientists and filmmakers. ISF encourages a greater collaboration between scientists who dedicate their lives to studying the world we live in and filmmakers who have the power to interpret and expose this knowledge, ultimately making science accessible and stimulating to a broader audience. 
Imagine Science Films is committed to drawing attention to the sciences, whether it is through art or our community outreach efforts."
Just today ISFF announced the official winners of 2012 in 4 categories. Click below to find out who the winners are.
1. Nature Scientific Merit Award: The Nature Scientific Merit Award is awarded to a short film that exemplifies science in narrative filmmaking in a compelling, credible and inspiring manner.
WinnerLove Competition
Synopsis: Because “Love is a feeling you have for someone you have feelings about.” In order to find out if it’s possible for one person to love more than another Brent Hoff teamed up with neuroscientists at Stanford University to test seven contestants’ ability to love using an fMRI to monitor brain activity while the contestants focused on loving thoughts.

2. Nature People Choice Award: The Nature People’s Choice Award is awarded to the best short film voted by ISF Audience members.
WinnerCentrifuge Brain Project
Synopsis: A group of scientists conduct a series of bizarre experiments with amusement park rides to study their effects on the human brain.

3. Imaginal Disc Visual Science Award: The Visual Science Award sponsored by Imaginal Disc is given to a short film that depicts science in a visually-engaging manner.
WinnerAmerica's Dead Sea
Synopsis: Deep in the desert of southern California sits one of the worst environmental sites in America—a former tourist destination that has turned into a toxic soup: the Salton Sea.
The sea was born by accident 100 years ago, when the Colorado River breached an irrigation canal; for the next two years the entire volume of the river flowed into the Salton Sink, one of the lowest places on Earth. The new lake became a major tourist attraction, with resort towns springing up along its shores. Yet with no outflow, and with agricultural runoff serving as its only inflow, the sea’s waters grew increasingly toxic. Farm chemicals and ever-increasing salinity caused massive fish and bird die-offs. Use of the sea for recreational activities plummeted, and by the 1980s its tourist towns were all but abandoned.
The skeletons of these structures are still there; ghost towns encrusted in salt. California officials acknowledge that if billions of dollars are not spent to save it, the sea could shrink another 60 percent in the next 20 years, exposing soil contaminated with arsenic and other cancerous chemicals to strong winds. Should that dust become airborne, it would blow across much of southern California, creating an environmental calamity.

4. AAAS Scientist Award: The Scientist Award sponsored by Science/AAAS is given to a short film that depicts a scientist in an accurate and original way.
Discovering Mount Gorgongosa
Synopsis: Biodiversity Exploration on Mozambique’s Sky Island. In August 2011, Field Museum and African scientists joined forces in an expedition to Mount Gorongosa in Gorongosa National Park. Their goal was to study the diversity of birds and small mammals from this remote region and the parasites that live on these animals. The findings of this project will help to better understand this threatened ecosystem and formulate new questions regarding pathogens and their hosts.


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