ISFF 2021

Oct 15-22, 2021

The theme of the 14th Imagine Science Film Festival is "RESISTANCE"
The theme of the 14th Imagine Science Film Festival is "RESISTANCE." The festival will take place from Oct 15-22, 2021. We're currently living in a time where resistance seems to be part of our everyday life. The act of swimming against the current but not for futile reasons but to spark change and awareness. For our 14th annual festival, we will be exploring the act of resisting from the micro to the macro level. What does it mean mean to withstand opposing forces that sometimes feel overwhelming? How does resistance measures a materials ability to resist the flow of electrons through it? How do organism resist harmful influences such as disease, toxic agents or infection?

Though this subject is the special focus of this year's festival, we'll be featuring films, installations, and online works of any and all other genres, methodologies, and subjects, as always that push the boundaries of the science narrative - embracing the movement of the Science New Wave.

Over the course of the festivals, six pairs of scientists and filmmakers will also be making films on the theme of RESISTANCE. Interested in participating? More info at our Symbiosis portal.
When & where will the festival take place?
The 14th Imagine Science Film Festival will take place from October 15-22, 2021. The festival will be hybrid with some programs online and can only be watched in the United States. A few select events, including Opening & Closing will take place both in-person and online. This is all subject to changes based on health and sanitary guidelines. Conditions will be announced closer to festival and indicated in the program descriptions.

While most films can only be watched in the U.S., we will create a separate Playlist "Imagine Science 14th Festival World" for the titles that are available to view worldwide. You can also watch the past Symbiosis films made over the last few years - short films created over the course of 1-week during the festival.
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Why is the festival taking place this year?
We're slowly coming out of a 2-year pandemic but our lives will be permanently changed. It has never been more important to find ways to communicate science through visual storytelling and spark conversations. We need to keep experimenting with new ways to bridge the worlds of science and cinema. We also need to prevent false or sensationalized information from reaching the public. Lastly, it is important to understand that science affects all of us in different ways, whether it is as individuals, a society, or the world at-large.

Even if partially virtual, the festival still embodies the spirit of New York City by inviting filmmakers, scientists, and audiences to take part in this grand experiment. We will still keep the spirit of a borderless festival by partnering with different institutions worldwide.
Are the films in competition?
Yes! All of our films are eligible for several awards and cash prizes. For features, we have two awards: Spotlight and Science New Wave. For short films, there are three awards: In Vivo, Theme-Sensitive and Avant-Garde. Each year, the Symbiosis Award is presented to the science/filmmaker pair that wins the Symbiosis Competition (learn more here). Awards are selected by a jury and sponsored by like-minded science and art organizations. For more, visit Jury & Awards.
Science New Wave (in competition)
Films 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.
Spotlight (in competition)
Films in competition that are timely, not shying away from controversial topics while providing a well-balanced state-of-matters related to scientific issues and crises.
We normally think of 'time' as constantly moving forward. We reach into the past to inform the present. This category pays tribute to how the past informs the present and future.
Short Film Awards
Our short films are up for several awards:
In Vivo: Awarded to the short film that best exemplifies science in narrative filmmaking in a compelling, credible, and inspiring manner.
Avant-Garde: Awarded to the short film that conveys bold storytelling and hybrid aesthetics and narrative.
Theme-Sensitive 'Resistance': Awarded to the short film that best emphasizes narrative storytelling related to this year's theme.
Symbiosis Award: Awarded to the film made in this year's Symbiosis competition that best embraces the idea of collaboration, scientific storytelling, and originality.
Any questions?
Image above: Daniel Olah
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