The application deadline for the University of Southern California's inaugural science themed film competition is fast approaching - October 8 to apply, and January 11 for final submissions. The competition, a brainchild of professors Clifford Johnson (physics and astronomy) and Anna Krylov (chemistry) aims to bring together the (sometimes disparate) people in journalism and science, to begin a dialogue that will generate some excellent tools for science communication. According to Dr. Johnson:

"Right now, most journalists and filmmakers, either in documentary or in entertainment, aren't in the practice of working with scientists even when they're doing something involving science"

This contest aims to change that by pairing up scientists with journalists, videographers or any other creative types who will bring some kind of talent to the film-making table. Each team must include at least one student from a USC Dornsife science department, the USC Viterbi School of Engineering or the Keck School of Medicine of USC and at least one from the USC School of Cinematic Arts or the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

Ok - so it's just for USC students (OR teams involving USC students), but the real aim of my post here is that this kind of forward thinking endeavour is just what many universities should be undertaking. Drs. Johnson and Krylov began this process by making some films of their own as part of an outreach program for an NSF grant. (Thank you to such amazing professors for leading by example! I've got one of their 'Peoplepixels' videos embedded below) With the success of their initial videos and their desire to hand this process over to students, they approached the Burg Foundation for some financial support, and the rest is history. The clear motivation of these professors, coupled with the ample prizes donated by the Burg foundation ($2500 for first prize, $1500 for second and $500 for third - among the LARGEST cash prizes I've ever seen for a contest such as this) should make way for some excellent films. I'm looking forward to seeing the results!

 

For more information on the USC Science Film contest, visit their website here.