Jury & Awards
Meet Our Feature Film Jury
The Science New Wave jury celebrates scientific storytelling, drawing from the human and nonhuman worlds, and everything in between.
  • Liesbeth De Ceulaer is a Belgian independent filmmaker based in Brussels, whose films explore the tense and complex relationship between man and his environment. These cinematic explorations lead to captivating worlds, in which documentary and fiction are in continuous exchange. Holgut (2021), Victoria (2020, co-directed with Isabelle Tollenaere & Sofie Benoot), Behind the Redwood Curtain (2013) and The Best Act on the Isle (2008) have been presented and awarded at film festivals such as Berlinale IFF, CPH:DOX, Visions du Réel, Shanghai IFF, BFI London, RIDM, IndieLisboa, Curitiba IFF Olhar de Cinema, Docville and many others.
    Liesbeth won the Science New Wave Award in the 2021 Imagine Science Film Festival for her feature HOLGUT.
  • Artist, writer and filmmaker Zahra Al-Mahdi's work reveals the unintended impacts humans have on their societies and ecosystems. She is known for collage work using ink sketches layered over photographs, animation on live action and installations that deal with dissected anatomical figures that probe themes in science fiction, post-colonialism and post-structuralism.
  • Paula Croxson is a neuroscientist, storyteller and award-winning science communicator. She has an M.A. from the University of Cambridge and a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. from the University of Oxford in neuroscience and experimental psychology. After over 15 years as a researcher she changed career direction to focus on public engagement with science. She is the Director of the Dana Frontiers Program at the Dana Foundation, which seeks to grow capacity for informed public reflection on emerging neuroscience and neurotechnology. She is also a Senior Producer for The Story Collider, a nonprofit that aims to share true, personal stories about science. She is also an open-water swimmer and a musician, playing flute in two rock bands. Find out more about her at or follow her @paulacroxson.
Meet Our Short Film Jury
A trio of minds bringing together scientific rigor, narrative filmmaking, and bold experimentation.
  • From Haitian descent, Miryam Charles is a director, producer and cinematographer based in Montreal. She is the director of several short films, including Second Generation, Drei Atlas and Song for the New World. Her films have been screened in numerous festivals internationally. She is also a recipient of the 2021-2022 Uniondocs Fellowship. In 2022, her first feature film This House premiered at the Berlinale. Her new short film At dusk had its world premiere at the 75th edition of the Locarno Film Festival.
  • The city is a many-layered ecosystem, but much of it remains hidden from casual observation. Nate Dorr's work seeks out discontinuities, fault lines, and interstitial spaces, all the places where the unseen city springs unexpectedly into view and deep interactions between architecture, environment, history, and socioeconomic systems may be more readily observed. Such places may include shifting or climate-change-destabilized coastlines, disused infrastructure, intentionally concealed seats of power and control, and even the spontaneous wild refuge of an abandoned lot. The same forces and complexly mixed meanings can be observed in any natural or unnatural landscape upon which humans have exerted their influence, but the density of urban zones has an especially concentrating and clarifying effect.
  • Begüm Aydin is a developmental neuroscientist who wants to understand how the environment affects nervous system. By focusing on the nervous system inside the gut, often called "the second brain", she is investigating the effects of gut microbiota and immune activity on the development and maintenance of gut neurons. By pursuing how neurons develop and recover upon microbial insults and inflammation, Aydin hopes to provide insights into neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS and Parkinson's disease, where pathological inflammation causes neuronal damage. Aydin is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Rockefeller University in New York. She received her Ph.D. from New York University and her B.S from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey. She is also a Junior Fellow at the Simons Society of Fellows and was recently named as 2022 HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow.
Meet Our Symbiosis Jury
These symbionts represent the art and science of
co-existence and co-creation.
Learn more about Symbiosis 2022.
  • Sophia Tintori is a research biologist and sometimes also an animator and science filmmaker. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at NYU, studying the genetics that contribute to the differences in radiation response among animals. As a filmmaker Sophia has created animated videos in many settings, including a pop-science series, educational workshops, college-level classroom materials, scientific grant applications, and documentary film.
  • Arianna Zuanazzi is a postdoctoral researcher at New York University. She investigates how the brain makes sense of language and music using neuroimaging techniques such as Magnetoencephalography. She is also involved in several initiatives that aim to make science accessible to the general public and to use science to create positive social change.
  • Yashaswini Raghunandan works with both film and sound. She completed her Masters from the Royal College of Art, London, with the support of the INLAKS scholarship in 2015. She was with the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam and a recipient of the Peoples' archive of Rural India Fellowship in 2018. She is working on an installation titled 'The Hidden Story' with neuroscientist Arianna Zuanazzi. She is also making a film about translating Atmanam's Tamil poems into Kannada and English with her father.

Every year, ISFF celebrates films from our festival for their scientific, narrative, and visual strengths, thanks to our closest partners.

This year, we're proud to have OneFifty | Warner Bros. Discovery, Science Sandbox, Labocine & Nautilus as our film award partners.
Science New Wave Award
presented by OneFifty | Warner Bros. Discovery
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.
Theme-Sensitive Award
presented by OneFifty | Warner Bros. Discovery
Emphasis on narrative, storytelling related to this year's topic: "Science New Wave."

In Vivo Award
presented by Nautilus
Realistic and human depiction of a scientist or science on screen.

Avant-Garde Award
presented by Labocine
Bold storytelling and hybrid aesthetics and narrative.

Symbiosis Award
presented by Science Sandbox
Film made in this year's Symbiosis competition that best embraces the idea of collaboration, scientific storytelling, and originality.

Nautilus sponsors the
Avant-Garde Short Film Award.

Nautilus is a quarterly online and print science magazine. It publishes one issue on a selected topic each month on its website, releasing one chapter each Thursday. Issue topics have included human uniqueness, time, uncertainty, genius, mergers & acquisitions, and feedback.

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