Global Science Film Festival

The Shortest Distance between Science and Society

Who benefits from a functioning ecological infrastructure? What do turtles have to do with human communication? And what does it look like when the journey of protons in a CERN particle accelerator is translated into a classical Indian dance? If your curiosity is piqued, you can find the answers to these and many other questions at the Global Science Film Festival, starting today at the Zurich Filmpodium.

Anne-Christine Schindler

Filmstill from Listen Up
Filmstill from Listen Up
Humans are more similar to other animals than previously thought: Listen Up (2021) by Gabriel Jorgewich Cohen (UZH), Lilly Jorgewich Cohen and Geena Gasser (filmmakers) explains how the communicative abilities of frogs, reptiles, birds and mammals are related. (Image: Filmstill)

For the fourth time in a row, the Swiss Science Film Academy, in cooperation with UZH and ETH Zurich, brings together the public, filmmakers and scientists at the Global Science Film Festival in Zurich. A selection of feature films, documentaries and short films on topics that shape our society will be screened and then discussed. Films produced by Swiss scientists will be shown and nominated in the special category SCIENTISTS-AS-FILMMAKERS. Finally, a jury of filmmakers and scientists will award the “Walking Ibex” to selected films.

Filmstill from Journey of a Proton
Filmstill from Journey of a Proton
Explaining the world through dance: That's what Pranitha Kamat (UZH), Gayatri Muthukrishnan (PSU/Dance Your Science) and Sharmila Bansal Rao (UZH/Dance Your Science) do in Journey of a Proton (2020). (Image: Filmstill)

Elisabeth Stark, Vice President Research at UZH, is excited about the Global Science Film Festival. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to see science communication skills in filmmaking and storytelling put into practice,” she writes in her welcome address. The short films in the SCIENTISTS-AS-FILMMAKERS category do this in a variety of ways: Sometimes serious and sometimes funny, as stop-motion films, green-screen montages or in the more classic documentary style.

Filmstill aus Wild Utopia
Filmstill aus Wild Utopia
Wild Utopia (2020) by Dilsad Dagtekin, Thais Guillen Otero, Nathalie Leutenegger (all from UZH) and Marion Nyffennegger (filmmaker) tells the story of Dan, a teenage deer, who must deal with the destruction of nature caused by humans and climate change while searching for new territory. (Image: Filmstill)

The short films were all produced as part of the Science Film Marathon. Researchers from UZH and other Swiss research institutions worked together with professional filmmakers to develop narrative communication strategies and techniques to convey their research to the widest possible audience. In 2020 and 2021, 20 short films were produced that will be shown on all three days of this year’s Global Science Film Festival at the Zurich Filmpodium.

“Efficient and inspired communication on scientific topics between the research community and the public,” writes Elisabeth Stark, “is an essential building block for mutual trust and understanding of research processes and results.” And, according to the festival motto: The shortest distance between science and society is cinema.

The fourth Global Science Film Festival will take place from 26 to 28 November at the Zurich Filmpodium (Nüschelerstrasse 11, 8001 Zurich). CHF 18.- per person and admission (with KulturLegi, for AHV/IV recipients and for students CHF 13.-). The short films from the category SCIENTISTS-AS-FILMMAKERS can also be viewed online on Vimeo. Program and further information at www.sciencefilm.ch.

Anne-Christine Schindler is a staff member of the Graduate Campus

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