The 15th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival
Awards & Special Mentions
The 15th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival took place from October 14-21 both in person around New York City and virtually on the Labocine platform. This 15th anniversary festival program was quite ambitious. We brought our audiences more than 100 films from over 46 countries. In line with the Science New Wave principles, our program celebrates cinematic work that encourages new, bold, and hybrid forms of scientific storytelling. Over the course of 8 days, we brought you provocative documentaries, mesmerizing scientific imagery, and compelling scientific fiction.

Below are the winners and special mentions of the 15th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival. Congratulations to all filmmakers who have been selected this year as well! We are indebted to our team, partners, and jury for making this edition happen despite the current situation in the world. Don't miss the six original Symbiosis films from this year's festival available on Labocine.
FEstival Awards
Awards given out by the 2022 Jury
The Sacred Spirit (Dir: Chema García Ibarra)
Presented by OneFifty | Warner Bros. Discovery
— Science New Wave Award
Features in competition that propose bold, singular, and oftentimes hybrid ways to communicate science. These films are considered to be visionary and outside of the (science) box. This award is presented by OneFifty | Warner Bros. Discovery. The winner receives a cash prize of $2,000.

Winner: The Sacred Spirit / Espíritu sagrado (Dir: Chema García Ibarra)

When the leader of a UFO association dies unexpectedly, José Manuel becomes the only person who knows a secret that could alter the fate of humanity. Meanwhile, a young girl goes missing in Spain.

Jury Notes: "The Sacred Spirit crosses the divide between science and magical realism. It seamlessly, and very whimsically intersects our understanding of technological advancement and how we employ the supernatural in our lives. Within this crossing, this film embodies the Science New Wave and its many nuances."

Honorable Mention: Neptune Frost (Dirs: Saul Williams & Anisia Uzeyman)

Multi-hyphenate, multidisciplinary artist Saul Williams brings his unique dynamism to this Afrofuturist vision. A sci-fi punk musical that's a visually wondrous amalgamation of themes, ideas, and songs that Williams has explored in his work, notably his 2016 album "MartyrLoserKing".

Jury Notes: "The first mention goes to Neptune Frost by Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman. It is not every day that you get to see a film that blows your mind. This brilliant film is both visually stunning and emotionally immersive, a real cinematic rollercoaster. It talks about important topics as gender identity, science and technology and power structures, and does so in a challenging, yet enlightening way. It is a film that embodies the science new wave and we'd like to encourage as many people as possible to see this film."

Honorable Mention: Scales / Sayidat Al Bahr (Dir: Shahad Ameen)

Hayat is a strong-willed girl whose fishing village is governed by a dark tradition: every family must give one daughter to the mermaid-like sea creatures that inhabit the waters. When Hayat's father refuses, the girl becomes a pariah, is considered a curse by the village, and is urged to sacrifice herself.

Jury Notes: "The second film that deserves a special mention is Scales (Sayidat Al Bahr), written and directed by Shahad Ameen. This is a beautiful, thought-provoking film with a wonderful soundtrack. It deals with the hardship of living in a dystopian land ravaged by climate challenges, as well the struggles of women and of being attacked for being different. This visually stunning film uses masterful storytelling to combine fairytale with science until they are so interwoven as to feel completely indistinguishable."
The Two Faces of Tomorrow (Dir: Patrick Hough)
Presented by OneFifty | Warner Bros. Discovery
— Theme-Sensitive Award
Shorts in competition that embrace, in a compelling visual and narrative manner, this year's theme: Science New Wave. This award is presented by OneFifty | Warner Bros. Discovery. The winner receives a cash prize of $500.

Winner: The Two Faces of Tomorrow (Dir: Patrick Hough)

The Two Faces of Tomorrow is an experimental documentary-fiction film about algae; how they have shaped all life on Earth, from the deep past to the near future.

Jury Notes: "The Two Faces of Tomorrow deftly intertwines scientific detail with reflections on how humans relate to nature through our ecological, political, and economic systems to create a complex documentary essay. Told with formal elegance and an engaging use of a fictional narrator, this film exemplifies the best in the Science New Wave's use of hybrid forms to tell timely and thought-provoking stories."

Honorable Mention: Aralkum (Dir: Daniel Asadi Faezi & Mila Zhluktenko)

By weaving together different cinematic textures, the short film Aralkum re-imagines the dried-up Aral Sea, allowing an old fisherman to set sail one last time.
Haulout (Dirs: Evgenia Arbugaeva & Maxim Arbugaev)
Presented by Nautilus
— In Vivo Award
Shorts in competition that provide a realistic and human depiction of a scientist or science on screen. This award is presented by Nautilus.

Winner: Haulout (Dirs: Evgenia Arbugaeva & Maxim Arbugaev)

On a remote coast of the Russian Arctic in a wind-battered hut, a lonely man waits to witness an ancient gathering. But warming seas and rising temperatures bring an unexpected change, and he soon finds himself overwhelmed.

Jury Notes: "Haulout is a striking documentary that follows a marine biologist who is waiting to observe an ancient gathering of walruses in the desolate expanse of the Russian Arctic. As the walruses arrive to rest, the scientist quickly finds himself overwhelmed with the enormous scale of this gathering as a result of climate change. The film beautifully, and melancholically, portrays the scientist and the scientific subject in a relational manner, and thus provides a realistic and human depiction of science on camera."

Honorable Mention: As We See / Cómo miramos (Dir: Xavier Nueno)

Between the microscopic and the macroscopic, the most remote past and the future, this short film investigates the observation practices of the scientists that participated in the exhibition Synapse. The scientists interviewed are: Javier de Felipe, Juan Luis Arsuaga, Casiana Muñoz, and María Blasco.
Wrought (Dirs: Anna Sigrithur & Joel Penner)
Presented by Labocine
— Avant-Garde Award
Shorts in competition that offer bold singular storytelling with hybrid aesthetics and narrative. This award is presented by Labocine.

Winner: Wrought (Dirs: Anna Sigrithur & Joel Penner)

A stunning visual exploration of matter in various states of microbial transformation begs fundamental questions about our complicated relationships with other species.

Jury Notes: "In a fascinating way, the film offers us to see the natural process of decaying. By focusing on micro-details, we are confronted with what we try to ignore on a daily basis (voluntarily or not). The film sensitively brings us back to the ephemeral aspect of the human experience. There is something about death, but more importantly, something about life."

Honorable Mention: Biopixels (Dir: Kristina Dutton)

Shot at two cutting-edge research labs that specialize in the evolution of butterflies and moths, Biopixels is an animated short film exploring the world of evolutionary biology on the microscopic scale.
Awards given out by the Symbiosis 2022 Jury
supported by Science Sandbox
Interference Pattern by Niccolò Bigagli & Ramey Newell
Presented by Science Sandbox
— Symbiosis Competition 2022
For the 10th edition of the Symbiosis competition, six scientists and six filmmakers were paired to create a science-inspired shorts. These films were created over the course of one week and inspired by the theme of this year's festival: Science New Wave. The winning pair receives a cash prize of $1,500.

Winner: Interference Pattern by Niccolò Bigagli (scientist) & Ramey Newell (filmmaker)

Light. Sound. Matter. Intricate landscapes emerge from multitudinous overlapping waves of film and quantum physics.

Jury Notes: "Most abrasive sound, most symbiotic, and jury prize: Interference pattern of Ramey and Niccolo. The listener feels captivated into the experimental soundscape that accompanies and complements the use of lights and colors. We are abruptly pulled into a mesmerizing and turbulent experiment through the use of both of these collaborators' tools. The film is a meditation on the nature and the potential of waves. The physical matter is tangible: we, as viewers, are invited to interpret the raw data, contemplate the changes and modulations, and eventually analyze the filmmakers experiment along with them."

Best Rhythm Award: Garden of Mirrors by Danna Grace Windsor (filmmaker) & Anthony Chesebro (scientist)

Jury Notes: "We loved the flow and groove of this film."

Best Nightmare Award: ACCESS DENIED by Jordan Lei (scientist) & Asia Khmelova (filmmaker)

Jury Notes: "This film feels extremely engaging, futuristic yet frighteningly familiar."

Most Obliterating Film Award:
ΔS ≥ 0 by Maria Fernandez Pello (filmmaker) & Kaze Wong (scientist)

Jury Notes: "We found this film so cosmic, transcendent. Beautifully expansive."

Page-turner Award:
Eat up, Bear! by Alice Yan (scientist) & Anthony Banua-Simon (filmmaker)

Jury Notes: "This film was exuberant, frenetic, witty and inviting."

Most Encapsulating Film Award:
Sincerely Yours, Ethel Browne of Harvey by Advik Beni (filmmaker) & Beatrice Steinert (scientist)

Jury Notes: "This film was multifaceted, holistic. There were many films within this film, all of which we loved."

Learn more about the participants of 2022 Symbiosis.
Check out the six Symbiosis films on Labocine.
For all of our Symbiosis Films, watch them on the Labocine Symbiosis Playlist.
Thank you to our Jury & Award Partners!
Subscribe to Labocine to watch films from this year's festival and our monthly programming. Join the art/science ecosystem Habitat.
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