ISFF 2015 Full Program
Friday, October 16
Opening Night Short Films and Panel | Escape Velocity

7 PM | Google New York

Seen from the ground, the air appears limitless. Seen from beyond, it is a thin layer spread across the surface of the Earth. This year, we'll open the 8th Imagine Science Film Festival by launching it into the air, through the upper atmosphere, and attempting break free from the Earth's gravitation to reach space. These ten films, from data-dense documentary to experimentally animated storytelling all deal with our fascination with what lies at the edge of the sky, from the satellites that orbit the earth to the alien natural history of a planet far beyond. With stops along the way for historical psychiatric experiments, lost cosmonauts, and the origins of the Universe.

Missing One Player, Lei Lei, China, 2015, 4m. North American Premiere
Geosynchronous, Toby Smith, UK, 2015, 11m. North American Premiere
Monkey Love Experiments, Ainslie Henderson & Will Anderson, UK, 2014, 9m.
Unclear Proof, Max Hattler, Hong Kong, 2013, 1m.
Celestial Object, Ben Balcom, USA, 2014, 9m. New York Premiere
Astrobotic: the Moon and Beyond, Jonathan Minard, USA, 2015, 4m.
Mars Closer, Annelie Boros & Vera Brückner, Germany/Japan/Latvia, 2015, 16m. US Premiere
Vostok Zero, Perttu Inkilä, Velda Parkkinen, & Liis Mehine, Finland, 2015, 5m.
Cosmog, Cindy Lo, France, 2013, 3m.
PLANET ∑, Momoko Seto, France, 2014, 12m. NY Premiere

Followed by a panel with:

David Grinspoon - Planetary scientist
Su Rynard - Media artist and filmmaker
Jon Bedard - Google Engineer

Moderated by:

Nicola Twilley - Writer and journalist
Saturday, October 17
Short Film Program | A Shifting Biosphere

1 PM | New School | Kellen Auditorium

Our atmosphere is principally composed of nitrogen, oxygen, argon, and carbon dioxide. Since the start of the industrial era levels of carbon dioxide have been increasing, not all of which can be taken up in the respiration processes of algae and plants. These films look at trees and greenhouse gasses, melting glaciers and sun-bleached corals, and the droughts and flooding through which a changing climate affects us all. Whether by encouraging us to watch our resource use, or to evolve into fish people.

So Many Forests, Burcu Sankur & Geoffrey Godet, France, 2014, 3m. New York Premiere
The Secrets Held in the Ice, Loïc Fontimpe, France, 2014, 14m. North American Premiere
Deforest, Grayson Cooke, Australia, 2015, 10m. World Premiere
Brutal Order, Christian Fuss, Germany, 4m. US Premiere
Coral Bleaching, Fabian de Kok­Mercado, USA, 2014, 4m.
Dry Season, Tyler Trumbo & Max Good, USA, 8m. New York Premiere
The Catalysts of CHANGE: Adapting to Changing Weather in Ladakh, Chintan Gohil, India, 2013, 10m.
Wayward Fronds, Fern Silva, USA, 2014, 13m.
Wrapped, Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper, & Florian Wittmann, Germany, 2014, 4m.
Coronation Park, Su Rynard, Canada, 2009, 1m. New York Premiere
Is There Enough Soil to Feed a Planet of Cities? Valerio Palma, Italy, 2015, 7m. US Premiere
Short Film Program | Unseen Waves, Invisible Forces

3 PM | New School | Kellen Auditorium

So-called empty air is nonetheless the densely active medium of the unseen: vibrated by sound waves, crossed by radiation, and pulsing with electromagnetic fields.

Fly, Fly Sadness, Miryam Charles, Canada/Haiti, 2015, 6m. US Premiere
An All-Encompassing Light, Chloe White, UK, 2013, 20m
Rare Earthenware, Toby Smith, UK, 2015, 7m, North American Premiere
Treasure Island, Elizabeth Lo & Melissa Langer, USA, 2014, 7m
(a)symmetry, Dave Fischer, USA, 2015, 3m, World Premiere
Quiet Zone, Karl Lemieux & David Bryant, Canada, 2014, 14m
Suspended by Sound, Tiago Marconi, Brazil, 2015, 7m
Soundprint, Monteith McCollum, USA, 2014, 8m
Icarus, César Pesquera, France, 2013, 4m, North American Premiere
Feature | The Visit

7:30 PM | New School | Tishman Auditorium

In the event of an actual first contact with extraterrestrials, how would real world governments react? We don't need to rely on science fiction to explore this scenario when the U.N. has already set up an entire department to consider the problem and to stay prepared for anything, as well as to run detailed simulations of the possibilities. A documentary look at our first meeting with visitors from beyond our own atmosphere.

The Visit, Michael Madsen, Denmark/Austria/Ireland/Finland/Norway, 2015, 83m.

Preceded by:
Fieldwork, Charles Lindsay, USA, 2015, 7m. World Premiere.
Choban, Matija Pisačić, Croatia, 2014, 18m. East Coast Premiere.

Followed by a conversation with artist Charles Lindsay and astrophysicist Summer Ash.

Sunday, October 18
Short Film Program | Simulated Presents, Projected Futures

1 PM | New School | Kellen Auditorium

The modern world sometimes appears to be increasingly superseded by a digital simulacrum of itself, for better or for worse. These thirteen films, composed by a variety of largely digital means, show us the detailed micro-anatomies of our cells, holographic future worlds, and the dangers of falling in love with computers.

Microscopic Leaps, Markos Kay (MRK), UK, 2015, 2m. World Premiere
Hybris, Arjan Brentjes, Netherlands, 2014, 6m. NY Premiere
Future Relic 03, Daniel Arsham, USA, 16m.
BioFlanneur, Aleksandra Cicha, UK, 2014, 2m. US Premiere
The Sun Like a Big Dark Animal, Christina Felisgrau & Ronnie Rivera, USA, 2014, 5m. New York Premiere
Autonomous, Per Eriksson & Alexander Rynéus, Sweden, 2014, 14m. East Coast Premiere
Cytoplasmic Playground, Markos Kay (MRK), UK, 2012, 1m. World Premiere
Mirage, Yaya Xu, USA, 4m
Rhizome, Boris Labbé, France, 2015, 11m. North American Premiere
Sniff, Fernando Cucchietti, Spain, 2015, 2m. World Premiere
Electric Soul, Joni Männistö, Finland, 2013, 5m. New York Premiere
Ghost Cell, Antoine Delach, France, 2014, 7m. New York Premiere
The Invention of the Desert, Thibault Le Texier, France, 2014, 7m. North American Premiere
Short Film Program | Simulated Presents, Projected Futures

1 PM | Museum of the Moving Image | Bartos Screening Room

What is a ghost? A mysterious light, an atmospheric anomaly, a disappearance, a residual family memory clinging to the walls of an empty house? These three films each take spectral, experimental approaches to scientific inquiry, in various modes of haunting, haunted cinematic collage.

Apariciones, Luz Olivares Capelle, Austria, 2014, 23m. North American Premiere
The Tiniest, Tomislav Šoban, Croatia, 2014, 16m.
Quiet Title, Alina Taalman, USA, 2015, 36m. World Premiere
Feature | Campo Experimental
2:30 PM | The New School | Theresa Lang Student Center

At last, Imagine Science's own feature ­length foray into the Brazilian science world, set against the backdrop of the World Cup, gets its World Premiere. Playing with two shorts channeling the kinetic energy of the human body in other scientific directions.

Director in attendance.

Campo Experimental, Alexis Gambis, USA, 2014, 71m. World Premiere.

Preceded by:
Unknown Fields - Madagascar: A Treasured Island, Toby Smith, UK, 2013, 5m. North American Premiere
Dance of the Neurons, Jody Oberfelder & Eric Siegel, USA, 2015, 5m.
Short Film Program | Travelogues of the Post-Collapse

3 PM | Museum of the Moving Image | Bartos Screening Room

After civilization, whether that's after radiation leak or after climate collapse, two experimental filmmakers explore the worlds that remain.

Subconscious Society, Rosa Barba, UK/USA/Germany, 2014, 40m. North American Premiere. On 35mm!
Lion, Daniel McIntyre, Canada/Ukraine, 2014, 44m.

Short Film Program | Post-Miasma Theories

4 PM | New School | Kellen Auditorium

A top London health official was once on record as stating with misplaced certainty that "All smell is disease". Almost 150 years after the last gasp of miasma theory, and the knowledge that illness is not the sole result of bad air, this program presents a survey of past, present, and future health.

TAC, Juan Pablo Zaramella, Argentina, 2014, 1m.
Every Palsy Has a Silver Lining, Adéla Komrzý, Czech Republic, 2014, 8m. US Premiere
The Little Stones, Chloé Mazlo, France, 2014, 14m. North American Premiere
The Lost Mariner, Tess Martin, USA, 2014, 6m.
Stories of the Sanatorium, Therese Jacobsen, Norway, 2014, 21m.
Science for the Masses, Lauren Knapp & C.S. Ward, USA, 2015, 11m. World Premiere
The Sound Inside, Tyler Trumbo, USA, 2015, 7m. North American Premiere
Another Green World, Christina Hardinge, UK, 2014, 7.5m.
Foreign Bodies, Nicolas Brault, USA, 2013, 4m. New York Premiere
Feature | The Messenger

6 PM | Rubin Museum of Art

Warblers, Buntings, Swallows, Thrushes­ are just some of the many songbirds that fill our skies, yards and parks. For thousands of years these affecting songsters have been embarking on an incredible migratory journey across continents and oceans. But today they are threatened by climate change, pesticides, predators and city lights. In this rapidly changing world, songbirds are disappearing at an alarming rate, and their absence is a message to us all. The Messenger is a powerful reflection and intimate investigation that reaches from the northern point of the Boreal Forest to the base of Turkey's Mount Ararat to the urban streets of New York. On this journey we meet an engaging cast of ecologists, enthusiasts and everyday people who are exposing the very real threats to these beautiful birds and working for change.

Also presented in association with New York City Audubon, whose Director of Conservation and Science Susan Elbin, will be in conversation with the filmmaker, Su Rynard, and Andrew Farnsworth, Research Associate with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, after the screening.

The Messenger, Su Rynard, Canada, 2015, 89m.
Short Film Program | Unpredictable Weather

7 PM | Made in NY Media Center by IFP

Air in motion. The scientific phenomenon of weather, ordinary or extreme, pervades our myths, our dreams, even our psychology.

Tramuntana, César Pesquera, Spain, 2013, 5m. North American Premiere
The Place, Julia Popławska, Poland, 2015, 14m. US Premiere
Storm Hits Jacket, Paul Cabon, France, 2014, 13m.
Epsilon, Daniela Uribe & Noa Verhofstad, Netherlands, 1m. World Premiere
The Field, Asier Altuna, Spain, 2014, 13m. East Coast Premiere
Snowflake Starter, Danielle Parsons, USA, 2015, 3m.
Chasing Clouds, Zjef Crabbé, Belgium, 2015, 4m. US Premiere
Lembusura, Wregas Bhanuteja, Indonesia, 2015, 10m. US Premiere
Grow, Johan Rijpma, Netherlands, 2009, 2m.
Graminoids, Lars Koens & Demelza Kooij, UK, 2014, 6m. New York Premiere

Winners of the 48 Hour Film Competition will also be announced! Join us for a celebratory reception (with free drinks!) following the program.
Monday, October 19
Short Film Program | Eternal Specimens and Invented Organs

7 PM | Morbid Anatomy Museum

Imagine Science joins Morbid Anatomy in presenting a collection of films at the borders of life, death, and the (morbid) imagination. Whether via exacting studies of the realities of museum specimen preservation or the unsung protagonists of medical research, or via much more feverish flights into hypothetical hybridized body parts and a love triangle involving a mysterious pulsing gland of indeterminate origin, these films chart a secret anatomy of scientific and surreal operations.

Living on the Edge, Aaron Zeghers, Canada, 2013, 4m. New York Premiere
Breathtaking, Pim Zwier, Germany, 2012, 27m.
Heila Ormur, Rose Stark, Iceland, 2014, 4m.
Number 32, Linnea Langkammer, USA, 2014, 10m. New York Premiere
Our Lady of Hormones, Bertrand Mandico, France, 2015, 30m. US Premiere
Electrostabilis Cardium, Agi Haines, UK, 2013, 4m.
Feature | The Fly Room

7 PM | Rockefeller University

During her first visit to an insect lab where her father is deciphering the fundamental laws of genetics, 10­-year ­old Betsey is initially reluctant to enter this fly world but eventually steps in deeply, receiving an unorthodox education. She is both perplexed and fascinated by how her father applies his genetic research to his games of seduction. In the heat of his excitement, Calvin crosses the line leaving young Betsey traumatized by the time spent with him. Glimpses of Betsey at 21, mourning her father's death, and in old age reveal how this complex relationship, both nourishing and damaging, informs her transition to adult life.

The Fly Room, Alexis Gambis, USA, 2014, 75m.

Preceded by:

Blue-­Eyed Me, Alexey Marfin, UK / Hong Kong, 2015, 7m.

Followed by a Q&A with Writer & Director Alexis Gambis.
Tuesday, October 20
Feature | The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes

7 PM | Anthology Film Archives

Dr. Myes is about to make a scientific breakthrough: adding animals' senses to humans. Her research is not going smoothly, however, and her good intentions quickly turn against her. A unique mix of 1930s Hollywood and 1960s B­-movies, with dashes of horror, animation and musical.

Followed by a conversation between Director Nancy Andrews, Oliver Medvedik, Genspace Co-founder / Director of Scientific Programs, animal cognition specialist Diana Reiss, and Marcelo O. Magnasco, Professor of Mathematical Physics at The Rockefeller University.

The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes, Nancy Andrews, USA, 2015, 76m.

Preceded by:
The Bionic Girl, Stéphanie Cabdevila, France, 2014, 14m.

Short Film Program | Other Realities

9:30 PM | Anthology Film Archives

If you look at the world closely enough, it becomes unfamiliar and alien. Zooming in we see cells, molecules, particles. Or standing back, an expanding universe of stars. Simple phenomena become complex when we slow them down, unseen patterns emerge when we speed the world up. These films are about alternate worlds nothing like our own, or perhaps exactly like our own, seen through different eyes. The mundane and the fantastic, through sciences real and imagined.

The Breath, Fabian Kaiser, Switzerland, 2014, 11m.
Shift, Max Hattler, Hong Kong, 2012, 3m.
Washingtonia, Konstantina Kotzamani, Greece, 2014, 24m.
Visiter ビデオ, Natalia Stuyk, UK, 2015, 2m. U.S. Premiere
Hunger, Petra Zlonoga, Croatia, 2014, 6m. East Coast Premiere
Oscillation, Dídac Gimeno Alfonso, Spain, 2014, 8m. New York Premiere
Bottom Feeders, Matt Reynolds, USA, 2015, 3m.
Prey, Boyoung Kim, South Korea, 2014, 4m. New York Premiere
I Remember Nothing, Zia Anger, USA, 2015, 18m.
Wednesday, October 21
Short Film Program | Observer Effects

7 PM | BRIC Arts | Media House

The eye is a camera. Optics and filmmaking are both the study of light. Point a camera at some part of the world and it reacts, it is changed through the act of looking and recording, just as observation changes the state of a particle in quantum physics. This program is about the act of looking as science, as film, as storytelling, and as optics.

We're excited to have Motherboard's Alex Pasternak as guest-host of the evening.

Undead Sun, Jane & Louise Wilson, UK, 2014, 14m.
Track, Takeshi Nagata & Kazue Monno, Japan, 2015, 4m. North American Premiere
In Waking Hours, Sarah Vanagt & Katrien Vanagt, Netherlands, 2015, 18m. New York Premiere
Cams, Carl­ Johan Westregård, Sweden, 2014, 13m.
All Rot, Max Hattler, Hong Kong, 2015, 3m. US Premiere
InVisible, Lia Giraud, France, 2014, 19m. US Premiere
Object, Paulina Skibińska, Poland, 2015, 14m.
Retrospective Feature | First on the Moon

7 PM | Anthology Film Archives

Think it was Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin? Well, think again, because as Alexei Fedorchenko's unsettling debut film reveals, a Soviet cosmopilot, Ivan Kharlamov, actually went there and back in 1938, piloting his experimental, and highly secretive craft back to Chile, from where he undertook an arduous journey across the Pacific, through China and Mongolia and finally into Mother Russia itself. First on the Moon is a touching expression of an unfettered utopian spirit ­ a sense of the limitless possibilities of human ingenuity and imagination ­ that characterized many people's vision of the Soviet experiment before its grim realities settled in. (Kent Jones) A Seagull Films Release.

10-year Anniversary Screening.

First on the Moon, Alexei Fedorchenko, Russia, 2005, 76m.

Preceded by:
We Can't Live Without Cosmos, Konstantin Bronzit, Russian Federation, 2014, 16m.

Short Film Program | Down from the Atmosphere

9:30 PM | Anthology Film Archives

The skies surround and fascinate us, but have only recently become accessible. This program explores aerial vantage points, gravitational forces, and the acts of flight or falling.

A.D.A.M., Vladislav Knežević, Croatia, 2014, 13m.
Gravity, Clemens Wirth, Austria, 2015, 1m.
Invasion, Anne Milne, UK, 2015, 13m. North American Premiere
Aerial Studies, Kelly Loudenberg, USA, 2013, 3m. World Premiere
As Soon As Weather Will Permit, Su Rynard, Canada, 2015, 15m. U.S. Premiere
The Last Flight of Hubert Le Blon, Koldo Almandoz, Spain, 2014, 10m. East Coast Premiere
Under the Atmosphere, Mike Stoltz, USA, 2014, 14m.
Mynarski Death Plummet, Matthew Rankin, Canada, 2014, 8m. New York Premiere
Descent, Johan Rijpma, Netherlands, 2014, 1m.
Thursday, October 22
Feature | Cosmodrama

7:00 PM | Museum of the Moving Image

Cosmodrama is a metaphysical adventure story retracing much of 20th-century thought with ultra-­dry wit through the efforts of amnesiac scientists on a gloriously retro starship. A small team of scientists wakes up from suspended animation with no memory of where they are, where they're going, or where they've come from. Being scientists, they turn to their respective disciplines and spend most of their time formulating hypotheses on these questions based on any observations they are able to make in the face of mysterious phenomena and lively scientific controversy. The film is made up of fourteen episodes, echoing the first science­ fiction series, in which almost every one corresponds to a cosmological hypotheses, which may tease the mind but is perfectly scientific.

Q&A with Philippe Fernandez and Peter Galison.

Cosmodrama, Philippe Fernandez, France, 2015, 115m.

Preceded by:
The World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt, USA, 2015, 16m.

Friday, October 23
Prototypes: Jean Painlevé

7:00 PM | Columbia University

Including newly-digitized and never-before-seen-in-the-U.S. material from the Painlevé Archive, the Prototypes program takes us the forefront of sci-film innovation as it existed nearly a century ago. Jean Painlevé is best known for the inventively playful undersea nature films recently collected in Science Is Fiction, but his techniques and scope of interest extend far beyond those boundaries to gaze out at exoplanets and into the properties of spacetime. The program will also include unseen timelapse films from two of Painlevé's contemporaries, which he collected and included in his own screenings, investigating solar phenomena and the hidden motions of growing planets. Don't miss this rare look into the vital formative days of science filmmaking!

Total Eclipse of the Sun, by J. Leclerc
The Fourth Dimension, by Jean Painlevé
The Growth of Plants, by Jean Comandon
Deformations of the Setting Sun, by J. Leclerc
Journey in the Sky, by Jean Painlevé
Life Underwater, by Jean Painlevé
The Vampire, by Jean Painlevé
Feature | Containment

7:00 PM | American Museum of Natural History | Kaufman Auditorium

Left­over from the Cold War and the production of nuclear power are some of the deadliest, most long­lasting substances ever produced: million gallons of radioactive waste. Containment, directed by Harvard physics and history of science professor Peter Galison and the award­winning documentarian Robb Moss, poses crucial, frightening questions about humankind's impact on the planet in both the short­ and long­term. Governments around the world, desperate to protect future generations from the waste, have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create warnings that could speak across time. But would they withstand the crucible of millennia to prevent release of dangerous chemicals? Filmed at weapons plants, in the ruins of Fukushima, Japan, after the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, and deep within underground storage facilities—and innovatively structured as part observational essay and part graphic novel—the film weaves an uneasy present with an imagined, troubled far future, exploring the idea that nothing stays put forever.

Directors in attendance.

Containment, Peter Galison & Robb Moss, USA/Japan, 2015, 82m.

Preceded by:
Sound of a Million Insects, Light of a Thousand Stars, Tomonari Nishikawa, USA/Japan, 2014, 2m.
Snapshot Mon Amour, Christian Bau, Japan/Germany, 2015, 6m.

Presented in partnership with the Margaret Mead Film Festival.
Saturday, October 24
Short Film Program | Wildlife Procedurals

3 PM | NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology

Detailed human interactions with the natural world: eradication or removal, study or reintroduction.

How to Found an Ant Colony, Danielle Parsons, USA, 2015, 3m.
The Enemy, Aldemar Matias Jr., Cuba, 2015, 26m. North American Premiere
Scorpion Hunters, Sarah Crespi, USA, 2014, 6m.
The Return, Fatma Al Ghanim & Shaima Al Ameri, UAE, 2015, 30m. International Premiere

Closing Night | Ambient Science

8 PM | BRIC Arts | Media House

The 2015 festival closes with an evening of film installation, airy culinary curiosities, the awards ceremony, and a live audio-visual performance.

Featuring Hidden Frequencies, Monteith McCollum, USA, 2015. Live multimedia performance.

Tracing Birds in Isolation, Chris Bate & Sarah Bouttell, UK, 2014, 8m. North American Premiere
Psychic Driving, William E. Jones, USA, 2014, 15m.
1967: A People Kind of Place, Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen, Canada, 2014, 20m.
Sky Lines, Nadine Poulain, Serbia, 2013, 10m. North American Premiere
Under the Heat Lamp an Opening, Zachary Epcar, USA, 2014, 10m.
Substanz, Sebastian Mez, Germany / Japan, 2014, 15m.
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