Official selections have now been made for this year's 'Imagine Science' film festival, scheduled to take place at various venues in New York starting October 14th. In keeping with true 'glitz and glam' film festival style, the successful film entries were announced at an evening soiree in Brooklyn's Galapagos Art Space. How utterly refreshing to see a scientific event garner such A-style treatment!

Being a native of Vancouver, BC - I was unfortunately unable to attend the event - but Scientific American's Krystal D'Costa of Anthropology in Practice was able to go in my place. She sends this rather intriguing report:


The scene rivaled that of any swanky New York premiere: the venue was dimly lit, the bar packed, and conversation flowed freely. But the topics of the evening didn't focus on celebrity scandals, business deals, or new hot spots. Instead, science and art dominated the conversation--a young woman in Tina Fey glasses sitting at a nearby table asked her companions, "What do you think about the news about Australopithecus sediba?" "We've been here before," a somber bearded man man in the trio responded. He took another sip of his draft, "We'll have to wait and see." And really, what would you expect at the Imagine Science Film Festival?

On Friday night, a select but diverse group gathered for the ISFF premiere held at the Galapagos Art Space in downtown Brooklyn. The films selected for viewing by the ISFF represent a means of connecting science with broader audiences through the visual arts. Started in 2008, the festival is meant to draw attention to the sciences, encouraging new dialogues between disciplines and attendees.

The plan for the evening included the viewing of six films that will be part of the line-up when the festival opens to the public on October 14, 2011, socializing, and a performance by the electro-bass funk band Navegante. While we waited for introductory remarks by the ISFF founder, and host for the evening, Alexis Gambis, attendees were treated to slide show exhibiting the work of the 2011 Artists in Residence, a program that runs in conjunction with the ISFF, highlighting the marriage between science and art.

The films shown were:

The Final Launch of the Space Shuttle, a view from the space shuttle Endeavor as it embarked on what is presently our last foray into space.

An Incomplete Guide for Finding Home, a short asking viewers to consider the conceptions of home that we create and how this impacts our relationship to the world at large.

Blank, which asked viewers to question their memory - which is not as sound as we presume. The film presented a new means of understanding the impact of Alzheimer's.

Profiles in Science: Lewis Labs and Spidergoats highlighted the work of Randy Lewis, professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, whose team has figured out a way to put the spider's silk-making genes into goats. (The applications are broader than you might think, including reconstructing tendons!)

Cassini Mission shared scenes from the mission with viewers.

Drift tackled perceptions of time, demonstrating how our sense of order is constructed.

And several animated shorts from Creature Cast, adding a new means of seeing the growth of a rainforest and the dynamics of cellular activity.

As an anthropologist, An Incomplete Guide for Finding Home directed by Andrés Cota Hiriart was particularly provoking: How do we define home? Is it a space, a feeling, a connection - a combination of all three? Home can be found in the familiar, in love, and even in larger more abstract ways. Our planet is our home, but this relationship often seems to be obscured by larger networks - and might impact the ways in which we interact with the spaces we occupy.


The complete program can be viewed here--and if these six were anything to judge the caliber of those selected for the festival, there promises to be much food for thought.

Many thanks to Krystal for her report on the party and the lineup - it's good to have friends in high places :)