ISFF 2016 Full Program
Friday, October 14
Opening Night Panel | Eyes Evolved: New Ways of Looking at Science Film

7 PM | The Cooper Union | Frederick P. Rose Auditorium

With new technologies emerging seemingly every week, digital media is rapidly reshaping how we see the world, whether through affordable VR, augmented reality film-viewing platforms, or new ways of making and distributing film and video content. All of which provide new tools by which to investigate our surroundings and their scientific subtexts. Join us for an exploration of this rapid speciation of ways of seeing in science and film. The night will also mark the launch of the Symbiosis film competition.


Matthew Putman - Founder and CEO of Nanotronics Imaging
Erin Espelie - Filmmaker & Editor in Chief of Natural History Magazine
Heather Berlin - Neuroscientist & Host of Science Goes to the Movies
Caleb Scharf - Astrophysicist & Director of the Astrobiology Department, Columbia University

Moderated by:

Oliver Medvedik - Founder at GenSpace and Assistant Director of the Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering at The Cooper Union

Feature Film: Evolution

9:30 PM | Rubin Museum of Art

Evolution, Lucile Hadžihalilović, 2015, France / Spain / Belgium, 81 min

Imagine Science Films delights in little more than films that find new and unconventional ways of exploring scientific theory. This is why we're excited to present Evolution, the latest film from Lucile Hadzihalilovic (Innocence, Enter the Void) to kick of this year's festival.

In a remote seaside community, adolescent boys undergo unexplained medical treatment, or perhaps experiments, at the hands of female nurses, seemingly the only adults around. After spotting a body beneath the waves, ten-year-old Nicolas begins to question what he had previously taken for granted — who he is, why he is there, and what exactly is happening to him. Broadly, these are the questions faced by any adolescent, but here they take on unexpected meanings. Part surrealist coming-of-age story, part eerie medical drama, part reflection on our place in the natural world along with our biological past and future, Lucile Hadzihalilovic's Evolution boldly draws on the scientific details of developmental biology and marine reproductive strategies to create an otherwordly vision of human life.

Life began in the sea. Billions of years ago, amino acids joined together in the primordial soup to form simple microbes that evolved over the eons into more complex organisms. Much more recently, our ancestors moved onto the land, but we retain the ocean's saline environment within our bodies, along with other vestigial reminders of our development. We have come a long way from starfish and anemones, but these simple organisms are still our family and in some ways surpass us in their simple solutions the challenges of survival and transmission of their traits.

Evolution takes these scientific realities as the subtext for a unique kind of science fiction, radically proposing parallel possibilities for human development and viscerally exploring, and exploding, anxieties about the determinism of our own biology. Evolutionary theory, sexual dimorphism, epicenism, and genetic manipulation all inform Hadzihalilovic's grippingly mysterious story and painterly visual language. It's a film that exists outside any single genre, or precedent, instead creating something remarkable of its own, a new and brilliantly imagined mutation of the scientific film.

Part of the Rubin Museums of Art's Cabaret Cinema – in Fall series "The Wisdom Matrix".

Saturday, October 15
Short Film Program: Light on the Retina

1 PM | The New School | University Center, L104

We kick off the festival this year by examining a process at the heart of the film-viewing experience, the reception of light in the eye of the viewer. These ten stories take us through, and sometimes well beyond, the workings of photoreception, optics, perception, visual processing, ocular anatomy, and the structure of the eyeball itself.

The program is organized by IMAGINE SCIENCE FILM FESTIVAL in collaboration with EUGENE LANG COLLEGE at The New School.

Things Used to Be Hidden, Tara Wood, UK, 2015, 4 min
The Mirror System, Eva Zornio, Switzerland, 2015, 17 min
Atomic Force Microscope, Julien Bobroff & Frédéric Bouquet, France, 2016, 2 min
Scanning Tunneling Microscope, Julien Bobroff & Frédéric Bouquet, France, 2016, 2 min
A Net to Catch the Light, Erin Espelie, USA, 2016, 8 min
What No One's Ever Seen, Sandya Viswanathan, USA, 2016, 7 min
Veljko Popovic, Croatia, 2015, 13 min
STED – Microscopy Beyond Optical Limits, Germany, 2014, 5 min
Sarah Hibbert, UK, 2015, 9 min
How to Make a Prosthetic Eye,
Barry Gibb, UK, 2015, 6 min
Dome Vision: The Secret World of Moths

2 PM | BioBase | Lower Eastside Girls Club

Scientific explorations into the lives of insects and cells turn a planetarium dome, usually turned outwards on a vast universe, instead inward towards an infinitely small world. The screening will be followed by light refreshments and a chance to explore living insects using BioBus microscopes!

Directors in Attendance!

In collaboration with BioBus and the Lower Eastside Girls Club

Nanoplanet, Monica Zoppè, Italy, 2013, 6 min
The Secret World of Moths, Pohjankonna Oy, Finland, 2016, 24 min
Short Film Program: Light Years Beyond

3 PM | The New School | University Hall, L104

We've been gazing out into the night sky as long as we've been around as a species. But only recently has it come within reach. These films search the skies for new discoveries, look back down from orbit, and attempt to travel further from Earth than any human has ever explored. Yet.

Hotaru, William Laboury, France, 2015, 22 min
Alexa Haas & Bernardo Britto, USA, 2016, 6 min
Bow Shock,
Javier Diez, Spain, 2016, 16 min
Tomasz Popakul, Poland, 2016, 14 min
Beyond Neptune,
Alex Parker, USA, 2014, 1 min
Fanny Liatard & Jérémy Trouilh, France, 2015, 16 min
Feature Film: In Limbo

7:00 PM | The New School | The Auditorium

1. Lit. In a netherworld, neither heaven nor hell.
2. Fig. Abandoned, forgotten, on hold.
3. Computer Science. Said of data erased from a system, but not yet deleted from its storage media.

What if the Internet could dream of itself?

In Limbo is an inner journey into the Internet, as if there was nothing left but the planetary network, dreaming of itself. It is a philosophical tale narrated by Nancy Huston, who wakes up in the limbo of our global interconnected memory, and meets its strange life, inhabitants, pioneers (Google CEO or Internet founding fathers, like Ray Kurzweil, Gordon Bell, Brewster Kahle, Laurie Frick, Cathal Gurrin, etc).

While drifting into this giant memory, exploring its dreams and fears, she starts chasing the essence of nostalgia. Are we building a new cathedral, for a new civilization, or the biggest cemetery of our history?

In Limbo, Antoine Viviani, Canada/France, 2015, 85 min.

Followed by a conversation with director Antoine Viviani.

Preceded by:

Transistors: Teeny Tech that Changed the World, Abigail Kent, USA, 2015, 8 min

The program is organized by IMAGINE SCIENCE FILM FESTIVAL in collaboration with EUGENE LANG COLLEGE at The New School.
Science Futures: Talks, Reception & Party

This evening will spotlight new projects that challenge the way science is communicated, visualized and brought onto the screen. Learn more about our brand new video platform Labocine, hear from founder of Authorea about the future of online collaborative research, and get an inside look at three cutting edge approaches to video in science. Hannes Vartiainen & Pekka Veikkolainen of Pohjankonna Oy (whose new film The Secret World of Moths will receive its North American Premiere at BioBase in the afternoon!) will take us inside their eerily beautiful computational worlds, Tamara Vanderwal of Yale will show us how she's refining the MRI process, and even improving research study results, through mesmerizing films, and Guillermo Marin (whose new film Simulados will be getting its North American premiere at the Queens Hall of Science the following afternoon) will reveal the work of the Scientific Visual Group at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

Stick around afterwards for a reception and chance to discuss further with the presenters, and to meet the Imagine Science team, advisers, filmmakers and partners.

This evening, Labocine will also announce and shows the winners of its #Cinemicro Mini Film Festival, a festival launched on Instagram on September 15 dedicated to the serendipitous art of microscopy movies – that is, video recorded through a microscope or magnifying lens, revealing forms, colors, and motion at the microscopic level.
Sunday, October 16
Short Film Program: Apertures onto the World

1:00 PM | The New School | University Hall, L104

How we see the world around us, once the territory of eye and nervous system alone, has for centuries been mediated by technology. From space-faring telescopes trained on distant planets, to the ever-evolving lenses of microscopes to cameras antique and modern, to the artificial eyes provided by experimental architectures, each of these films is about seeing in a different way, and about the devices that both aid us in doing so, and reshape the objects we gaze upon.

Voyagers, Santiago Menghini, Canada, 2015, 15 min
Tanya Cochrane, UK, 2016, 5 min
A Film Is A Film Is A Film,
Eva von Schweinitz, USA, 2014, 16 min
Shrinking Microscope Lenses,
Chris Burns, USA, 2016, 2 min
Still Holding Still,
Sarah Vanagt, Belgium, 2015, 10 min
Francesco Mattuzzi, Italy, 2015, 27 min
Short Film Program: Science for Nanos

2 PM | New York Hall of Science

Discover a selection of kid-friendly science films with topics that range from the appetite of black holes to the strange and beautiful organisms that make up pond scum.

Nina and Flick, Vera Babida & Robert Duncan, UK, 2015, 1.5 min
Bright Spots,
Jilli Rose, Australia, 2016, 8 min
Eyes on the Stars,
Rauch Brothers, USA, 2012, 3 min
Newton in Space,
Amaël Isnard, UK, 2016, 2 min
Fernando Cucchietti, Spain, 2016, 3 min
Ramin Rahni, USA, 2016, 1 min
In Defense of Pond Scum,
Danielle Parsons, USA, 2016, 4 min
Enlighten Me,
France, 2015, 4 min
Golden Shot,
Gökalp Gönen, Turkey, 2015, 9 min
Of Slaves and Robots,
Milos Tomic, Serbia, 2015, 2 min
Ainslee Henderson, UK, 2016, 2 min
What's Inside a Black Hole,
Amaël Isnard, UK, 2014, 4 min
Short Film Program: Dynamic Systems

3:00 PM | The New School | University Hall, L104

The universe can perhaps be viewed, most simply, as a vast system of energy transformation from the concentrated potential of the Big Bang forward. Within the mechanical operations of stars and planets, however, endless complexity emerges on every level of resolution. This program, then, can be considered multiscale tour of a few of the many intricate systems that keep existence in motion, opening in the nano- and micro-scales of quantum and cellular activities, then moving through the uncertain equilibrium of the natural world, the millennia of human production, and the changing information networks through which modern scientific information is disseminated. Finally, we'll consider the entire universe, from origins until the end of time.

Quantum Fluctuations, Markos Kay, UK, 2016, 2 min
Samantha Moore, UK, 2016, 6 min
Process: Breath,
Line Klungseth Johansen, Norway, 2016, 5 min
Réka Bucsi,France / Hungary, 2016, 15 min
Tropical Birds Confront Global Warming, Daniel Grossman, USA, 2015, 4 min
Season of Wonder, Lisa Crafts, USA, 2016, 8 min
The Researcher's Article, Charlotte Arene, France, 2015, 7 min
Andrea Rassell, Australia, 2016, 1 min
The Five Minute Museum,
Paul Bush, UK / Switzerland, 2016, 7 min
Immortality, Home and Elsewhere,
Sasha Litvintseva, UK, 2014, 12 min
Scott Portingale, Canada, 2016, 5 min
Color and Light: Perceptions, Manipulations for Fashion, Energy Conservation, Gene Therapy, and Diagnostics

5 PM | The New School | University Center Science Labs

During this workshop, you will learn how we manipulate light to influence how we perceive color, design spaces, conserve energy, trace scientific manipulations, and develop medical diagnostics. These alterations can allow for quantifiable diagnostic visualization and targeted experiments where proteins or other cellular material can be tagged and followed. Skills used during this workshop will include: use of a spectrophotometer, bacterial transformation, and use of selective growth media.

The program is organized by IMAGINE SCIENCE FILM FESTIVAL in collaboration with EUGENE LANG COLLEGE at The New School.

Feature Film: Sila and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic

5:00 PM | American Museum of Natural History

The concept of sila—a term that encompasses weather, balance, consciousness—frames a story in the world's northernmost inhabited town of Greenland. Here, a tiny community of Inuit subsistence hunters and a team of polar scientists bear witness, in different ways, to the transforming environment. For the Inuit, drastic recent changes in weather patterns are spelling an end to their centuries-old way of life. As the international researchers track the effects of those changes on Greenland's vast Inland Ice Cap and the far-reaching consequences they will have, the film weaves together distinct narratives to put a human face on a highly politicized issue. The specifically Greenlandic idea that weather acts as the conscience of nature informs a unique story at the frontlines of climate change.

Director Corina Gamma in attendance!

Sila and the Gatekeepers of the Arctic, Corina Gamma, USA / Switzerland / Greenland, 2015, 70 min

The film will be preceded by an entirely different look at the issues of climate change: an ambiguous scientific essay voiced by fictional scientist in the near future as she observes unexpected results of the melting of the ice caps.

Subatlantic, Ursula Biemann, Switzerland, 2015, 11 min

Co-presented with the Margaret Mead Film Festival.
Monday, October 17
Symbiosis Lab Meeting

Come witness the collaboration of the filmmaker-scientist SYMBIOSIS pairs who are creating short films this week! At our singular Lab Meeting, they will be looking for your input as they discuss their progress over the weekend and reflect on the nature of art-science collaboration.

This is your chance to see science filmmaking as it happens. You'll be able to ask our spectacular roster of scientists and filmmakers about their fields and their films, and to contribute to their work.

We will also be screening the results of Imagine Science Paris + Pariscience Film Festival recent 48 hour film competition. Our coordinatrice Charlotte Salvatico will be in attendance to tell us about that event.

In partnership with Ligo Project, Tribeca Film Institute & Labocine.
Short Film Program: Notes from Oblivion

8:00 PM | Morbid Anatomy Museum

Specially for this year's program with the Morbid Anatomy Museum, we will investigate not light, but its metaphorical disappearance. These films provide glimpses into death (whether in the eternal preservation of taxidermy or in states of natural decay), but also unconsciousness and those unexpected gleams in oblivion, dreams. And at last, perhaps, reawakening.

Domestication, Sylwia Gaweł, Poland, 2015, 6 min
Archives of Extinction, Alyce Takayesu, USA, 2016, 12 min
Isamu Hirabayashi, Japan, 2016, 13 min
Expert Dreamers,
Nguyen Khoi Nguyen, USA, 2015, 7 min
Animals Under Anaesthesia: Speculations on the Dreamlife of Beasts Brian M. Cassidy & Melanie Shatzky, Canada, 2016, 14 min
Amy Karle: Bringing Bones to Life,
Charlie Nordstrom, USA, 2016, 5 min
Second Life,
Eugeniusz Pankov, Poland, 2016, 19 min
Tuesday, October 18
Film and Discussion: The Birth of the Eye

7 PM | The Rockefeller University | CRC Auditorium

Travel through time to the world of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience, who was equally passionate about dissecting and mapping through eyes and brains as he was about painting and photography. This screening is possible with the permission of the Cajal Institute that is responsible of the Cajal legacy.

Mariposas del Alma (Butterflies of our Soul), Ana Martinez, Spain, 2007, 60 min
Bluebrain: Year 7 Preview, Noah Hutton, USA, 2016, 15 min

Preceded by a reception at 6:15pm

The evening will be followed by a conversation with:

  • Ana Martinez, Director of "Butterflies of Our Soul" Ana Martinez
  • Noah Hutton, Director of the Blue Brain neuroscience documentary series, now in its 7th year.
  • Moderated by Luis Quevedo, ISF alumni and Director and Host "Ciencia, Salud y Tecnología" at NTN24

Short Film Program: Synaptic Sparks

7:00 PM | Anthology Film Archives

Memory and emotion reside together in the amygdala. This intertwining of functions, observed in so many parts of the brain, makes cognitive processes complex, interconnected, at times confused. And so imagination intermingles with recollection, hallucination breaks into reality, and when memory deteriorates sense of identity may go with it. These films all deal with cognitive function, whether in more familiar psychiatric cases or more esoteric examples — in musical composition directly by brain impulse or the challenges of prediction in a complicated system, even from seemingly straightforward data.

Isabella, Ross Hogg & Duncan Cowles, UK, 2016, 9 min
Liron Unreich, USA, 2015, 24 min
Johan Rijpma, Netherlands, 2016, 2 min
See Memory,
Viviane Silvera, USA, 2016, 15 min
A Brief History of Hallucinations and the Supernatural with Oliver Sacks
, Alex Pasternack,USA, 2015, 7 min
Ellie Land, UK, 2016, 6 min
Paramusical Ensemble,
Tim Grabham, UK, 2015, 9 min
Wednesday, October 19
Short Film Program: Light Switches

7:30 PM | NYU Center for Genomics and Systems Biology

This program lies at the intersection of three subjects: botany, genetics, and our overarching festival theme of light. As these these three areas of inquiry recombine, subtopics are revealed: photosynthesis and chloroplasts, luminous genetic manipulation, the rapidly developing field of optogenetics, and the perceptions of plants.

Pan, Charlotte Arene, France, 1 min
Nature's Switch,
Caroline Ward & Erinma Ochu, UK, 2016, 10 min
Popped Secret,
Nathan Dappen, USA, 2014, 22 min
The Protein-Folding Revolution,
Sarah Crespi, Nguyen Nguyen, USA, 2016, 4 min
Optogenetics – Light Gets on your Nerves,
Oliver Päßler, Germany, 2014, 10 min
The Signal and the Noise,
Charlie Tweed, UK, 2016, 7 min
The Ray Cat Solution,
Benjamin Huguet, France, 2015, 14 min
Illustration: Compostage,
Elise Auffray, France, 2015, 2 min
Retrospective Feature: Picture of Light

9:30 PM | Anthology Film Archives

We live in a time where things do not seem to exist if they are not captured as an image.

But if you look into darkness you may see the lights of your own retina — not unlike the Northern Lights, not unlike the movements of thought. Like a shapeless accumulation of everything we have ever seen.

Before science explained, the Northern Lights were interpreted as visions, prophecies, spirits — a trigger for the imagination — images provided by nature framed by no less than the universe itself.

…aurora borealis…the lights with no bodies, pouring colours from the sky…a film exploring the capture of images from nature, images more special than any special effect..

Picture of Light, Peter Mettler, Canada, 1994, 83 min
Short Film Program: Optic Nerves

10:00 PM | Spectacle Theater

Many of the most exciting and unique works we receive each year are those experimental constructions which, while emerging from and provoking consideration of significant scientific questions, also most resolutely defy categorization or definition as a "science film". For these films, difficult to find a spot for, yet essential to show, we've created Optic Nerves: sometimes disorienting, often visually arresting, always surprising. Mysterious optical experiments, traumatic medical experiences, and sci-fi avant-garde reflections on identity in a post-digital age.

We Know We Are Just Pixels, Laure Prouvost, UK, 2015, 5 min
The Mess,
Peter Burr, USA, 2016, 14 min
The Betrayal,
Susan Young, UK, 2015, 6 min
Sigismond Imageless, Albéric Aurteneche, Canada, 2016, 14 min
Feedback, Heidi Stokes, UK, 2016, 3 min
Lei Lei, China, 2013, 6 min
Notes from the Interior,
Ben Balcom, USA, 2015, 11 min
Towards the Colonies,
Miryam Charles, Haiti / Canada, 2016, 5 min
Cloud Shadow,
Anja Dornieden & Juan David González Monroy, Germany, 2015, 17 min
Deer Flower,
Kangmin Kim, Korea, 2015, 7 min
Thursday, October 20
Panel Discussion: Streaming Science

7:00 PM | BRIC

"We live in an age of information. The latest findings, pure raw data, and deep exploration of scientific inquiries are all available at our fingertips, in more and more ways all the time. This is an era of information technology instantly delivering technological information, as well as biological, astronomical, and all other information we might desire. But how does anyone navigate the enormous amount of media now available? For that, we still rely on the insights of human guides and curators, and collections that help make sense of it all."

Participants will present their science video platforms, discuss content and target audiences, and even unveil exclusive new films!

  • Opening remarks by Imagine Science Films' Director of Programming Nate Dorr and Executive Director Alexis Gambis about bringing Imagine Science Film Festival online with new science film platform Labocine
Presented in partnership with Motherboard
Friday, October 21
Closing Night & Wrap Party

7 PM | New Lab

For closing night, its a packed evening at our home the New Lab in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We present the end of our competition TRACES, four stories by scientists presented by Story Collider, six short films made by the SYMBIOSIS participants & announce the awards for this year's festival.

All will be followed by a party featuring food, drinks, a multi-sensory experience by Naked Scent, a VR experience courtesy of Nanotronics Imaging, and a trip around the world via Shared Studios' Portal at our home, New Lab in Brooklyn Navy Yard!

Don't forget that Illuminated Journey participants have the chance to win a customized virtual reality experience, and whoever catches and tweets the most Traces will win a solar backpack from Voltaic!
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