CONGRATULATIONS TO THE 2016 SMASH FELLOWS: Alex Albanese Cambridge, MA, USA
Vanina Harel Washington, DC, USA
Israel Bionyi Ede, Netherlands
Adam Haar Horowitz Boston, MA, USA
Carla Brown Philadelphia, PA, USA
Sarah Lanier Bozeman, MT, USA
Sofia Castello y Tickell London, UK
Shaena Montanari Edinburgh, UK
Alison Caldwell La Jolla, CA, USA
Robert O'Sullivan Cork, Ireland
Amy I. Gilson Cambridge, MA, USA
Rodrigo Pérez Ortega Mexico City, México
Sophie Gomani Lilongwe, Malawi
Mashaal Sohail Cambridge, MA, USA
Major funding for 2
2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
is provided by:
2016 SCIENCE MEDIA AWARDS & SUMMIT On behalf of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, welcome to the second edition of SMASH, a gathering like no other. For a few exciting days in Boston, storytellers, educators and scientists will gather to talk about a shared passion: communicating science to a public yearning for both substance and entertainment. At first glance, it may seem surprising that JHWFF, the preeminent wildlife film festival in North America, would branch out in this way. Yet science has always been part of the Jackson focus—after all, biology in all its forms illuminates the natural world. So we are happy to extend our mission to the realm of science media, to celebrate the best in the genre and help build bridges between producers and scientists. We are delighted to be partnering again with WGBH, the home of NOVA and a stronghold of science media. In that, it reflects the city around it, where science of every variety is happening at a host of universities. I think you’ll find that SMASH will be enriched again this year by the presence of world-class scientists. Of course, one of our principal tasks is to celebrate the best science media of the past two years. We received a remarkable 500 submissions this year, ranging from big budget series to innovative interactive projects. We look forward to spending time with many of the finalists along with all of you as we gather in Boston. Finally, a special greeting to our Fellows, a group of talented young scientists and filmmakers from 9 countries. I hope you’ll go out of your way to meet them and make them welcome. Michael Rosenfeld, Board Chair Jackson Hole WILD
I am excited to welcome you to WGBH and SMASH16, the premier event honoring the best in science media production. We are thrilled that you have joined us here in Boston, a city renowned internationally as a preeminent science hub. Over the next three days you will have an unprecedented opportunity to hear from and engage with some of the most prominent leaders in science and science communication. You will also have the chance to experience the work of the best producers in science media -- from dome theater productions to short-form work for the web. We are very proud to partner with Jackson Hole WILD in the second of what is becoming the go-to science media convening where critical issues facing filmmakers, producers, journalists and scientists are raised and where the FINEST in the field are honored. Jackson Hole has long been synonymous with the best in wildlife filmmaking and it is our hope that, together, WGBH and Jackson will do the same for science media. Because knowledge about how our world works has never been more important and reflective of WGBH’s mission of education, we are honored to host the summit. We look forward to having a fruitful, substantive week that’s also full of great connections, partnerships, and promise. Jon Abbott, President and CEO WGBH
Network: WGBH-Guest Username: Wgbh23 Password: Guest.645
The power of science meeTs
Broadcast | Theatrical | Digital | outreach
Science Media For All Audiences
2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
TABLE OF CONTENTS 3 Welcome 6
Board of Directors
Whatâ€™s New This Year
Connect with Us
Social & Networking Events
Jackson Hole Science Media
Online Screening Room
JACKSON HOLE WILD BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Some of the most respected names in media, science and conservation are on the JHWild’s Board of Directors. Our continued growth and success is due in large part to their support and guidance. Among them are some of the finest names in broadcast media and film.
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Michael Rosenfeld, Board Chair Fred Kaufman, Vice Board Chair Nature/WNET Walter Koehler, Secretary Terra Mater Factual Studios
Ellen Windemuth, Treasurer Off the Fence Productions Geoff Daniels, Member-at-large The Nature Conservancy Carole Tomko, Member-at-Large Vulcan Productions
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Animal Planet Erin Wanner, VP of Production BBC Natural History Unit Julian Hector, Acting Head Cineverse Vince Pace, ASC Discovery Channel John Hoffman, EVP, Documentaries and Specials
Off the Fence Productions Ellen Windemuth, Managing Director PBS Bill Gardner, Vice President of Programming and Development PBS Sony Electronics Robert Willox, Director of Marketing
Disneynature Paul Baribault, VP Marketing
SVT (Swedish Television) Henrik Ekman, Acquisitions Executive, Wildlife and Science
Fujifilm / Fujinon Lenses Chuck Lee, Technology Manager, US
The Nature Conservancy Stella Cha, Director of Film & Video
Gorongosa Restoration Project Greg Carr, Founder
Terra Mater Factual Studios Walter Koehler, Chief Executive Officer
HHMI Tangled Bank Studios Dennis Liu, Executive Director
UNIVERSUM/ORF Andrew Solomon, Head of Natural History & Science
IFAW Erica Martin, Vice President Communications National Geographic Partners
Nature/WNET Fred Kaufman, Executive Producer
Vulcan Productions Carole Tomko, General Manager & Creative Director
Geoff Daniels Executive VP & General Manager
WGBH John Bredar, VP National Programs
National Geographic Society Brooke Runnette, EVP & Chief Program and Impact Officer
World Wildlife Fund Steve Ertel, Senior Director, Media & External Affairs
2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
IN MEMORIAM: WILLIAM R. GRANT Chairman Emeritus
July 5, 1943 - May 15, 2016 A memorial will be held to honor the life of Bill Grant during the SMASH Opening Night Reception, at 6:00 in Fraser Studio William R. Grant, an award-winning producer of some of public television’s most successful programs, died May 15 in Atlanta of complications from pneumonia. He was 72. Mr. Grant, who in 2001 was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, spent 28 years working in television after 18 years as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Kentucky, Michigan and California. He won numerous awards over the course of his career, including 13 Emmys and eight Peabody Awards. He was executive editor of the PBS science show “NOVA” and managing editor of the public affairs program “Frontline.” He was executive director of science, natural history and features for WNET, the New York City flagship of public television. He produced many of PBS’s most popular and critically acclaimed series, including “The American President” and “Stephen Hawking’s Universe.” His work in print journalism, specializing in reporting on educational issues, also was frequently lauded. He won five awards from the National Council for the Advancement of Education Writing, two Charles Stewart Mott education writing awards and the American Bar Association Silver Gavel. Mr. Grant also was a Nieman Fellow in the prestigious program at Harvard University from 1979 to 1980. In addition, Mr. Grant was one of the founding board members who launched the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in 1991. He became chairman of the board in 2002, a role he maintained for a decade, when the board agreed to let him retire only if he remained on the executive committee and maintained his position as chairman emeritus. “Under Bill’s leadership, the Festival grew to become the most prestigious event of its genre,” said Lisa Samford, executive director of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, where winning an award is considered the “Oscars” of conservation and nature film. “His impact was indelible and his leadership was very much a reflection of what he was as a human - insightful, wry, intelligent and always a true Southern gentleman.” But Mr. Grant’s proudest achievements came closer to home. In a 2007 interview with WildFilmNews, Mr. Grant said there were only a few things he couldn’t live without. “My children and grandchildren are the joy of my life,” he said, adding wryly, “That, and my big screen HD television.” 7
2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Christie Quinn
PROGRAMMING COMMITTEE John Bredar Michael Rosenfeld Sony Salzman Lisa Samford
FILM COMPETITION Dana Grant
FELLOWS COORDINATOR Sony Salzman
MARKETING & STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS Kathryn Jeffords
FELLOWS AND PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Caitlin Kossman
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Lisa Samford
DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNITY OUTREACH Melanie Judd TECHNICAL DIRECTOR Jim Toten TECHNICAL TEAM C.R. Caillouet Sam Lewis Ru Mahoney EXHIBITORS & SPONSOR LIAISON Martin Hammond PRODUCTION ASSOCIATE Sam Lewis
COORDINATING PRODUCER/ PRODUCTION MANAGER, WGBH Salme Lopez Sabina ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, MEMBER ENGAGEMENT, WGBH Sandy Chin TECHNICAL ENGINEER, WGBH Glenn Heath VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR Kori Price FINAL JUDGING MODERATOR Sally Vaughn
MARKETING ASSOCIATE Phoebe Cooper OPERATIONS ASSOCIATE Ana Knezevic
SPONSORS HOSTING PARTNERS
10 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
SPECIAL THANKS TO
Animal Planet BBC Natural History Unit Boston Museum of Science Boston VR Meetup Brookline Interactive Group Disneynature Fujinon Gorongosa Restoration Project IFAW - International Fund for Animal Welfare MMPT Sky-Skan SVT International The Nature Conservancy UNIVERSUM/ORF World Wildlife Fund
Boutique Academia Mountainsmith The Leakey Foundation
MEDIA PARTNERS AAAS American Institute of Biological Sciences Blue Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit CAISE DocumentaryTelevision.com Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital IMERSA Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Natural History Network NSC Alliance Realscreen STAT Wildlife-film.com Wildscreen World Federation of Science Journalists 162523_DSC_SMASH_JHWFF_AD
BOSTON “DELEGATE DEAL” SPONSORS Boston Duck Tours Fastachi Harvard Museum of Natural History Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum JP Licks MIT Museum
THANKS TO OUR VOLUNTEERS Jonathan Chow Diana Crow Arun Dayanandan Andrew Greenspon Anika Hazra Oluwadamilola MacGregor Tess Mackey Dylan McAdam Shannon McArdel Dan McArdle Chris O’Flaherty Bengisu Onal Maya Valentine
PUBLICATION: JHWFF TRIM: 8.5” X 2.75”
2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
WHATâ€™S NEW THIS YEAR SMASH FELLOWS Our latest initiative: This year 14 exceptional early-career science communicators will have an enriched experience at SMASH! We are grateful to the Rita Allen Foundation, National Geographic Society and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios for supporting this pilot program and to the season pros who are serving as mentors during the conference. This inaugural class was selected from a pool of nearly 300 applicants. The 14 awardees are a mix of scientists and science communicators hailing from nine different countries around the world. SEE THE FELLOWS
VIRTUAL REALITY TUESDAY - WEDNESDAY Calderwood Studio | WGBH A special Virtual Reality Showcase will take place during the Tuesday Night Reception 5:30 - 9:30PM, Yawkey Atrium Virtual experience media is far more than an interesting advancement in storytelling technology and engagement. This has the potential to revolutionize media consumption across a huge range of makret sectors, and you need to know more! SEE PROGRAMMING
CONFERENCE WIFI Network: WGBH-Guest Username: Wgbh23 Password: Guest.645 CONNECT WITH US! #SCIENCEMEDIA FESTIVAL REGISTRATION & ATTENDEE ASSISTANCE Our registration/conference “help” desk is located in the lobby of WGBH Monday, Sept. 19 6-8PM Tuesday, Sept. 20 8:30AM - 5PM Wednesday, Sept. 21 8:30AM - 5PM Thursday, Sept. 22 8:30AM - 10AM
EVENT TRANSPORTATION We will provide complimentary morning transportation to WGBH to/ from the DoubleTree Cambridge each morning and at day’s end. Please check the schedule on the mobile app for times and locations.
MOBILE APP We are thrilled to have a #ScienceMedia Summit app this year. Please reference the app for most up-to-date scheduling and transportation SPONSORED BY
Science Media Awards & Summit
Search “Science Media Summit” on Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google Play Store to download.
• WATCH TRAILERS • TRANSPO SCHEDULE • PLAN YOUR SCHEDULE • SPEAKER LINEUP
14 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
JACKSON DEALS & INFO BOSTON DEALS DISCOUNTS FOR ATTENDEES MIT MUSEUM FREE
Art, artifacts, drawings, photographs, and instruments documenting MIT’s role in 19thand 20th- century science and technology. Must show summit badge to receive discount
HARVARD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY FREE
FASTACHI 10% off
Gourmet gifts, gift baskets and nut gifts for all tastes, occasions and gift giving needs. Must show summit badge to receive discount
ISABELLA STEWART GARDNER MUSEUM $5 off
BOSTON DUCK TOURS $3 off
Experience Boston’s Most Popular Tour with the famous Boston Duck Tours. Tour Boston by land & water! Coupon included in your SMASH bag.
The Harvard Museum of Natural History is the most-visited attraction at Harvard—for its historical collections, its temporary exhibitions, and its new permanent galleries. Must show summit badge to receive discount. Valid 9/21-9/24 from 9-5. A tour will take place 9/22 at 3PM.
Boston museum of international art founded by collector and philanthropist Isabella Stewart Gardner. Must show summit badge to receive discount
JP LICKS 20% off
J.P. Licks is Boston’s best place for homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt and fresh-roasted coffee. Coupon included in your SMASH bag.
Check the app for most up-to-date transportation schedule!
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 ESSION 1: 9:30 - 10:30 S Opening Keynote: Paula Apsell talks with Joi Ito Sponsored by Panasonic Poised to lead the MIT Media Lab into its fourth decade of disruptive innovation, self-described “now-ist” Joi Ito has operated at the bleeding edge of culture and technology since the dawn of the internet age. Paula Apsell, Senior Executive Producer of NOVA, leads a provocative discussion exploring the evolving role of media in our digital culture—with a look toward envisioning what the future may hold. SESSION 2: 11:00 - 12:00 Science Storytelling: What’s Trending Now? Online streaming and video on-demand have radically altered the way we produce and consume media. In this trans-media world, is there room for blockbuster science--and if so, what form will it take? Seasoned storytellers offer insight into the dynamic and disruptive trends in today’s science media programming. SESSION 3: 1:30 - 2:30 Breaking Science: In the News We are in the midst of a revolution in the real-time transfer of information. From A.I. to Zika and everything in between, breakthroughs in science and technology captivate audiences around the globe almost instantly. Revisiting the most important science news stories of the past two years: how effectively did we tell them and what did we miss? SESSION 4: 3:00 - 4:00 Experiential Media and Immersive Storytelling From virtual reality to crowd-sourced science to games, interactive media has deep reach and measurable impact. What transforms audiences from passive observers to active participants and what actually works in this realm to elevate science literacy? This session takes a hard look at the science behind science engagement in this rapidly-morphing sector. SESSION 5: 4:30 - 5:30 Idea Salon - Precision Food Sponsored by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios Cooking has long been considered more of an art than a science. But now a suite of empirical methods and high-tech tools are muscling in. From parametrically tested recipes to genetically engineered flavors to the nuances of fermentation, science and engineering have turned up the heat in the kitchen.
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WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 SESSION 6: 9:30 - 10:30 Idea Salon - Being Human Some scientific discoveries radically alter our sense of self. Neuroscience has started to unveil the mystery of our memories and emotions. Advances in synthetic biology and gene editing techniques such as CRISPR may soon force us to reckon with the fundamental blueprints of humanity. And our nascent understanding of the microbiome reveals just how little we know about the intricate balance of our own basic physiology. In this session, we’ll explore recent discoveries that are changing our understanding of ourselves. SESSION 7: 11:00 - 12:00 Idea Salon - Bringing Big Data to Life In the era of “Big Data,” how do we interpret gigabytes of information to make sense of our world? From brain science to biodiversity, climate change to astrophysics, scientists are leveraging the power of big data to visualize the past, find patterns in the present and predict the future. SESSION 8: 1:30 - 2:30 Beyond Clickbait: Creating Smart, Strategic & Irresistible Online Content Facebook Live. Snapchat. Instagram. The list of content distribution platforms is only getting bigger. In this ambitious session we’ll meet some of the science producers experimenting on the frontiers of digital storytelling. Using detailed analytics to understand their audiences and inform their narrative strategies, can they uphold the editorial standards so vital to science communication? Viral content doesn’t have to be clickbait to be compelling. SESSION 9: 3:00 - 4:00 Scientists Taking a Stand Science ought to inform our responses to big challenges, such as a rapidly changing planet, the demands of a growing population, and dramatic economic inequality. Few scientists disagree. Yet many scientists remain above the fray. To what extent should scientists “take a stand,” and how can they work with communicators -- like filmmakers -- to do it? This panel will feature veteran scientists and communicators with a range of perspectives and experiences on the questions of whether, why, and how scientists should take a stand. SESSION 10: 4:30 - 5:30 Idea Salon - EUREKA! Sponsored by Panasonic A look at “game changing” discoveries and technological innovation just beyond the horizon, in a session designed to surprise!
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH’SH LIGHT ON EART 1 × 50 min., 4K
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 SESSION 11: 9:30 - 10:30 The Sound of Science As it turns out, in science storytelling, a picture may not be worth a thousand words. Some of the most compelling and timely science media is delivered in audio-only podcast or radio. And the medium is only growing in popularity: audiences in the MILLIONS are getting initial exposure to science stories through radio/podcast. This session tunes into the challenges and opportunities of an audio-only medium when it comes to complex scientific topics. Join us as we tune into the sound of science. SESSION 12: 11:00 - 12:00 Closing Keynote: Marco Werman talks with Richard Wrangham and Steven Pinker Sponsored by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios More than at any point in history, media today has the power to break down cultural barriers and forge a sense of interconnectedness across the planet. At the same time, media can be used as a tool to incite violence, evidenced by the terrifying new dimensions of terrorism and crime. But, what does the future hold? Can society shed the mantle of our ancestors to forge a more peaceful future or is violence hard-wired into our DNA? Marco Werman interviews two of our generation’s most incisive thinkers on this subject. This session will be live-streamed on Facebook, and edited for later distribution as a segment on PRI’s The World. SESSION 13: 12:00 - 1:30 Wrapping Things Up: A Lunchtime Dialogue Yawkey Atrium Considering twelve provocative sessions to last night’s awards--and all the conversations in between--we’ve covered a lot over the past few days. What are the big takeaways and surprising revelations? Join a frank and interactive discussion that will lay the groundwork for continuing the conversation in Jackson Hole next year, and at SMASH18. SESSION 14: 2:00 - 3:00 Using Science to Sculpt Science Filmmaking Sponsored by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios Can science’s distinctive methods for enlarging knowledge be used to increase our understanding of how to make engaging films about science? This session will feature results from an ongoing series of studies on the “science of science filmmaking” being conducted by the Yale Cultural Cognition Project and HHMI Tangled Bank Studios. The presenters will demonstrate how the project’s “science curiosity scale” can be used to evaluate the engagement of culturally diverse audiences with films on controversial topics like human evolution and climate change. Can curiosity be an antidote to biased thinking about science, and if so, how can it be triggered?
2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
Your inside look at the evolving world of health and medicine. Science labs. Hospitals. Biotech boardrooms. Political backrooms. STAT takes you right inside with fast, deep, and tough-minded journalism. Let STAT introduce you to the power brokers and personalities who are driving a revolution in human health. These are the dynamic stories that matter to us all.
Donâ€™t just read it. Be part of it.
R E P O R T I N G F R O M T H E F R O N T I E R S O F H E A LT H & M E D I C I N E BOSTON | CLEVELAND | LOS ANGELES NEW YORK | SAN FRANCISCO | WASHINGTON
KEYNOTE SPEAKERS JOI ITO
Joichi “Joi” Ito has been recognized for his work as an activist, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and advocate of emergent democracy, privacy, and Internet freedom. As director of the MIT Media Lab, he is currently exploring how radical new approaches to science and technology can transform society in substantial and positive ways. Soon after coming to MIT, Ito introduced mindfulness meditation training to the Media Lab. Together with The Venerable Tenzin Priyadarshi, founding director of The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT, Ito is promoting the contribution that awareness and focus can bring to the creativity process. Ito has served as both board chair and CEO of Creative Commons, and sits on the boards of Sony Corporation, Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The New York Times Company. In Japan, he is executive researcher of KEIO SFC, and he was a founder of Digital Garage, and helped establish and later became CEO of the country’s first commercial Internet service provider. He was an early investor in numerous companies, including Flickr, Six Apart, Last.fm, littleBits, Formlabs, Kickstarter, and Twitter.
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research on vision, language, and social relations has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the American Psychological Association. He has also received eight honorary doctorates, several teaching awards at MIT and Harvard, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, and The Better Angels of Our Nature. He is Chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary, and often writes for The New York Times, Time, and other publications. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”
20 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
Richard Wrangham is the Moore Professor of Biological Anthropology at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1989. His major interests are chimpanzee and human evolutionary ecology, the evolutionary dynamics of violence, and ape conservation. He received his Ph.D. in Zoology from Cambridge University in 1975, was a Research Fellow at Kingâ€™s College (Cambridge) from 1977 to 1980, and taught at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) from 19811989. Since 1987 he has studied wild chimpanzee behavior in Kibale National Park, Uganda. His most recent book is Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human (Basic Books, June 2009).
Our vision is a world where animals are respected and protected
22 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
SOCIAL & NETWORKING EVENTS Check the app for most up-to-date transportation schedule!
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 PRE-CONFERENCE HAPPY HOUR 6:00 – 8:00PM, Fusion Lounge, Doubletree Suites Cambridge Early registration/Check-in and no-host happy hour Pick up your credentials and get to know Summit attendees and the inaugural class of SMASH Fellows during a casual no-host reception at our conference hotel.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20 ROUNDTABLE NETWORKING BREAKFAST 8:30 - 9:30AM, WGBH Atrium Sponsored by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios
Seasoned industry veterans join emerging filmmakers for frank roundtable conversations and a chance to strategize for a week of networking and engagement! If you have signed on to be a mentor or mentee for more extended involvement, this will be your official first meetup.
NETWORKING LUNCH 12:00 - 1:30PM, WGBH Atrium Sponsored by Nature/WNET & PBS
Make the most of every networking opportunity by joining a table of people you DON’T already know. That is what this week is about!
IMMERSE YOURSELF SPECIAL RECEPTION & SHOWCASE 5:30 - 9:00, Calderwood, Yawkey & Atrium Sponsored by National Geographic and Terra Mater Film Studios
Here’s your chance to experience first-hand the power of being inside an unfolding story in the world of virtual experience, with an evening of hands-on demos with some of the year’s most compelling Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and interactive games and platforms. 5:30: Reception & VR Demos begin in Yawkey Atrium 6:00 (Fraser Studio): Bill Grant Memorial 7:00 (Yawkey Theater): Terra Mater & Red Bull sneak preview: DxM 8:00 (Yawkey Theater): National Geographic Premiere Screening: Continent 7—Antarctica 23
SOCIAL & NETWORKING EVENTS
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 ROUNDTABLE NETWORKING BREAKFAST 8:30 - 9:30AM, WGBH Atrium Sponsored by National Geographic Society
Seasoned industry veterans join emerging filmmakers for frank roundtable conversations and a chance to strategize for a week of networking and engagement!
NETWORKING LUNCH 12:00 - 1:30PM, WGBH Atrium Sponsored by PBS Distribution
Make the most of every networking opportunity by joining a table of people you DON’T already know. That is what this week is about!
SCIENCE MEDIA AWARDS GALA 6:00 - 9:30PM, Harvard Art Museum Sponsored by Jackson Hole WILD with Sony
Get ready for a night to remember as we recognize the films and filmmakers selected by this year’s jury as the 2016 award winners! Join us at the beautiful Harvard Art Museum for an evening of celebration, eating and drinks! 5:30PM: Buses begin leaving WGBH for Museum 6-7PM: Strolling Dinner 7-9PM: Awards Ceremony 9-10PM: After Celebration & Champagne Toast
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 Wrapping Things Up: A Lunchtime Dialogue 12:00 - 1:30 PM, Yawkey Atrium
Considering twelve provocative sessions to last night’s awards--and all the conversations in between--we’ve covered a lot over the past few days. What are the big takeaways and surprising revelations? Join a frank and interactive discussion that will lay the groundwork for continuing the conversation in Jackson Hole next year, and at SMASH18.
Public Forum: Survival Presented by The Leakey Foundation & NOVA 6:30PM, Yawkey Theater
Featuring Ruth DeFries, Daniel Lieberman, Stuart Pimm, Steven Pinker, Pardis Sabeti, Dan Schrag, and Richard Wrangham. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in attending. 24 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
JACKSON HOLE SCIENCE MEDIA AWARDS This year, over 500 entries competed for 23 awards, including the Best of Festival “Grand Teton” Award. Finalists were selected during a six-week process that involved the committed participation of around 120 international judges screening an aggregated 2,100 hours. The Jackson Hole WILD board is immensely grateful to each of the preliminary jurors who committed long hours to thoroughly screen and review each program entered into competition. Final award winners will be selected by a distinguished panel of five jurors who convened in Boston immediately
23 AWARDS 500+ ENTRIES
120+ JUDGES 2,100 HOURS
preceding SMASH. Their decisions will be announced at the Science Media Awards Gala Celebration on Wednesday, September 21 at the Harvard Art Museum in Boston. All programs entered into the 2016 Jackson Hole Science Media Awards are available to delegates for screening on our secure online screening room. Finalists will be showcased in special screenings in Boston after SMASH as well as in “Best of Festival” events around the world. Finalist Profiles and Trailers are accessed online here, and in the following pages.
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ONLINE SCREENING LIBRARY SMASH offers delegates an opportunity to view all films entered into the 2016 media competition. The Science Media Awards uses Vimeo, a secure online screening room for judging, that is available during SMASH, and up to two weeks after the event. Please use the link and password below to watch any film you would like.
Password for all Vimeo pages - jhfestiv16 (case sensitive) sciencemediasummit.org/2016-viewing-room
FINAL JURY CLARK BUNTING
With more than three decades as a senior leader in media and entertainment and championing environmental and conservation causes, Clark has successfully developed and managed comprehensive strategies for quality branded enterprises, incubating business units and cultivating talent. He is currently an entrepreneur, investor and developer of new businesses, platforms and services in a wide array of genres. Most recently, Clark was CEO and President of the National Parks Conservation Association, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of the country’s National Park System.
JULIE ANN CROMMETT
Entertainment Industry Educator in Chief, Google Julie Ann Crommett is the Entertainment Industry Educator in Chief at Google. Prior to this position, she was in charge of diversity initiatives at NBC Universal. She is also on the boards of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), Women in Animation (WIA), and the Barbie Global Advisory Council. She won ADCOLOR’s 2015 Innovator Award, and Univision named her one of “7 Latinos to Look Out for in 2016.”
Program Director, American Association for the Advancement of Science Bob Hirshon is Program Director for Technology and Learning at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and host of the daily radio show and podcast Science Update. He oversees a variety of science education programs, including Science NetLinks, Active Explorer and the family of Kinetic City programs, including the Peabody Award-winning Kinetic City Super Crew radio series.
Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances at Participant Media Lynn Hirshfield is Participant Media’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances. She joined Participant Media in September 2005 and is responsible for leading the development of strategic partnerships, integrating these partners into social action and advocacy campaigns across all of the company’s platforms, including the film divisions, Takepart.com and Pivot TV. Lynn is also responsible for launching Participant’s publishing division to complement the company’s films and social action campaigns.
Executive Producer and the Creative Director of Brian Leith Productions Brian is an Executive Producer and the Creative Director of Brian Leith Productions, a small wildlife production company based in Bristol, UK. He specializes in ‘man and nature’ films, and worked for many years in the BBC Natural History Unit – as an executive producer of major landmark series and productions for the BBC (including Human Planet, Nature’s Great Events, Wild China, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life – (with David Attenborough), often co-produced with major US and European broadcasters (Discovery, Animal Planet, CBC, Terra Mater). 28 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
he high caliber of the judges as well as the process and criteria for reviewing entries creates a competition that is thorough and unbiased. Every entry is screened in its entirety and scored by several preliminary judges from around the world who have access to entries via our secure online screening room, to ensure broad geographic and cultural representation.
Lauren Amable Caitlin Bailey JoDee Baker Sam Barton Eric Bendick Atreyee Bhattacharya Sarah Budello Yavuz Cakir Angelo Campanella Roy Campbell Katie Carpenter Stella Cha Christina Choate Victoria Clowater Shoshana Cohen Matt Cole Rocky Collins Carolyn Collins Petersen Maryanne Culpepper Nathan Dappen Roslyn Dauber Len Dickter Robin Doty Alain Douchinsky Stacey Douglas Laetitia Doyle Maya Drake John Dutton David Elkins Alexa Elliot Kerry Evers Stephen Fairchild Carol Fleischer Mark Fletcher Alan Franks Jorge Franzini Peng Gao Sam Gaty
Zuzana Gedeon Eleanor Grant Grant Graves Ali Grossman Meng Guo Adrienne Hall Martin Hammond Keene Haywood Julia Heinrich Jeremy Hogarth Denis Jensen Daniele Joerg Ben Jones Bethany Latham Melinda Levin Joseph Levine Brad Lisle Neil Losin Justin Lotak Trinity Ludlow Virginia Lynch Dean Laurene Mansuy Erica Martin Karen Martin-Stone Kevin Marvel Cathy McConnell Scott Meddaugh James Metcalf Mark Miller Laurent Mini Erick Montgomery John Mora Alexandra Moss David Murdock Rob Nelson Dusty Nichols Mary Nucci Liz O’Connell Larry O’Reilly
Jules Oldroyd Daniella Ortega Michael Parfit Rosh Patel Sai Pathmanathan Jim Peck Karen Perry Ingrid Pfau Julianna Photopoulos Kurt Przybilla Harry Rabin Kate Raisz Cari Ritzenthaler Cherie Rivers Joseph Rivers Sarah Robertson Jason Roehrig Janet Rose Gaelin Rosenwaks Hans Rosenwinkel John Rubin Melissa Salpietra Michael Sanderson Annette Scheurich Lalit Shastri Paul Sher Liz Smith Susannah Smith Akanksha Sood Singh David Statt Marvin Stodolsky Soames Summerhays James Swan Jeremy Tuttle Caroline Underwood Thomas Veltre Elizabeth Volkmann Elizabeth Wilk Jo Young Steven Zorn 29
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Optional Detachable Digital Drive
280 Degree Focus Rotation
T 3.5 (25-273mm) T3.85 (300mm)
9 Blade Iris
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PL25-300 shown w/optional servo
High Transmittance Electronic Beam Coatings (HT-EBC)
Large Diameter Aspherical Element
Multi-Group Zoom System
EARTH & SKY SPONSORED BY SKY-SKAN Awarded to the film that best explores the science of planet earth and the cosmos beyond. Relevant disciplines include Geology, Paleontology, Oceanography, Astronomy and Meteorology.
Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough: Episode 1 Builders
What impact do you hope this film will have? In the sixty years since David’s first visit, the Reef is now seriously under threat. Reflecting on his unique experiences, he explains how the Reef has lost almost half its coral since his first visit, and will look at what the future holds for it. He is determined to discover how it can be saved. In his quest he consults the Reef’s top scientists and visits its island research stations where researchers and their teams are trying to help corals cope with the climate’s rapid change. David’s journey also takes him to the deepest part of the Reef, where no one has ventured before, in the hi-tech Triton Submersible, to collect corals that may help scientists to better understand this natural wonder of the world.
Inside the Mega Twister
National Geographic Studios for National Geographic Channel
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film? There is a mountain of footage, and it all connects in the timeline of events, but figuring out exactly where in that timeline was most challenging. We had to look for landmarks, characteristics of the twister itself, road signs, etc. Was quite a feat, considering the amount of material. What impact do you hope this film will have? We want what Tim wanted. He dedicated much of his life to the study of tornadoes, in order to learn from them, better predict them, and save lives. We hope this film inspires more research that can one day save lives.
Making North America: Origins
A NOVA Production by Windfall Films for WGBH Boston
What inspired this story? Senior Executive Producer Paula S. Apsell has been wanting NOVA to tell the biographical story of our continent for several years, ever since she went for a guided hike in the mountains around Aspen. “On our way up to the starting point, the bus driver mentioned something called the ‘ancestral Rockies,’” says Apsell. “I was shocked to learn that the peaks around me were but recent cousins of mountains formed 300 million years ago, which had eroded away. I realized that my fascination with our continent’s tumultuous past might tap into the sense of pride and wonder so many Americans feel for the majestic beauty of the North American landscape.”
SCIENCE OF LIFE SPONSORED BY HHMI TANGLED BANK STUDIOS Awarded to the film that best examines the rich world of life on our planet. Relevant disciplines include Botany, Zoology, Genetics, and Evolution.
David Attenborough’s Light on Earth Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film? The biggest challenge is how to create a competing narrative out of such a large and sprawling subject as Bioluminescence. The trick was trying to find a way to make it a film about bioluminescence and not merely a disjointed collection of short pretty scenes about animals that use bioluminescence. Of course simply visualising not only the faintest ephemeral glow but also the animal producing that light in a completely dark environment it is doing is a huge and unique challenge.
Terra Mater Factual Studios/ Ammonite Films, CuriosityStream, with BBC, UKTV, ABC Australia
Islands of Creation
Produced by Day’s Edge Productions and Smithsonian Channel
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? Because our small, 2-3 person crew was embedded with Al Uy’s research team, we were automatically welcomed into communities with which he and his colleagues have spent years developing close personal relationships. We experienced parts of Solomon Islands life – feasts, funerals, celebrations – that most outsiders don’t get a chance to see. Being part of those intimate moments in a community halfway around the world was a wonderful privilege for us. Neil Losin
Mind of a Giant
Vulcan Productions, Off The Fence in partnership with Nat Geo WILD
What inspired this story? There are so many things that scientists are only beginning to learn about the mental and emotional lives of elephants. The irony is that they’re doing this precisely at a time when the species is under enormous threat, in the near term from poaching and long term from the expansion of human populations and accompanying encroachment of elephant habitats. When we learned about the scope and intent of the Great Elephant Census, a pan-continental aerial survey of African savanna elephant ranges spearheaded by Paul G. Allen, we wondered if the data uncovered might serve as a foundation for a film. We also thought it presented an opportunity to connect with the leaders in the scientific field to help ensure that these front-line findings would be shared with the widest audience possible. When world-renowned elephant scientist Joyce Poole shared an animation of some GPS “streaking” data from Kenya that showed elephants have been changing their movements in response to human pressures, the scientific heart of the film was set. Emre Izat & Geoff Luck
Discovery Channel presents a Natural Resources Defense Council, Imaginary Forces, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Diamond film Media Awards & Summit 32 Docs 2016 Science
What impact do you hope this film will have? Our hope is that Sonic Sea is emotionally engaging and scientifically informative enough to propel change. We can solve the problem of ocean noise pollution with better technology and policy. But that will only happen if a critical mass of people is aware of the problem and understands that solutions are feasible. Sonic Sea is being seen by millions of people around the world on Discovery Network and by tens of thousands of people in screenings targeted at students, ocean enthusiasts, ocean industry professionals, legislators and ocean policy makers. We believe the film has put the issue of ocean noise pollution on the table for discussion. Daniel Slocum Hinerfeld, Co-Director/Co-Producer
CHANGING PLANET SPONSORED BY NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF NATURAL SCIENCES This award is given for the best examination of our changing planet, including the environment, ecosystems, sustainability and climate change.
360 Degree Films Pty Ltd. for NOVA/WGBH Boston in association with ARTE and Unité Découverte Et Connaissance
Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea and Discovery Channel present an Oceanic Preservation Society film in association with Vulcan Productions, The Li Ka Shing Foundation, Earth Day Texas, JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, Diamond Docs, Insurgent Docs
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film Making films that have an environmental message - even when there is science at its heart is extremely tough. Many broadcasters are experiencing “eco fatigue” - a fear that viewers would switch off a documentary perceived to be presenting a future of “doom and gloom”. I had to find a way to tell the story that was more positive but still told what was happening and got them interested in the process of science. Initially most of the support came from Europe broadcasters in Sweden, France and Germany who all care about science and nature. The final broadcaster to come on board was PBS NOVA who knew how important it was to tell a story about ocean acidification. Sally Ingleton, Director
Racing Extinction What impact do you hope this film will have? Racing Extinction was seen by 36 million people the first weekend it aired, but to create a tipping point you need about 10-16% of the population to have an unwavering belief before the majority is won over. I’d like the film to have a voice in winning over the rest of the population, and see a vast reduction of carbon dioxide production. The film’s curriculum has been downloaded by over 44,000 teachers and used by more than an estimated 2 million students. What next? They say that when you finish making a documentary you are only halfway there. Our film ends with massive projection events centered around endangered species. We did them on the UN for the Secretary General Bon ki-Moon and on the Empire State Building, but now we have plans to take them global. We did an event for Pope Francis on the Vatican and we have plans for a dozen more on iconic buildings all over the world. Louie Psihoyos
Discovery Channel presents a Natural Resources Defense Council, Imaginary Forces, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Diamond Docs film
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? Making Sonic Sea was an adventure because the film introduced us to fascinating people dedicated to understanding and protecting marine life. For instance, we visited Paul Spong, PhD., the founder of Orca Lab, a small landbased whale research station nestled against the evergreen forest of Hanson Island in the waters of the “Inside Passage” of northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Paul and his team use hydrophones to listen to and record orcas. They can identify every pod and even every whale by their distinct dialect and calls. Hanson Island is a remarkably beautiful and peaceful place and the lab’s work is adding enormously to our understanding of whales without interfering with their lives or habitat. Sonic Sea also led us to Ken Balcomb, the former Navy pilot and acoustics expert who proved to the world that naval sonar is killing whales. His work has led to extensive reforms in the way the U.S. and other nations use sonar in testing and training. Ken’s Whale Research Center, on San Juan Island in Washington State, is a perfectly situated post from which to observe whales in Haro Strait. The building is full of amazing artifacts, including several enormous whale skulls that dominate the main room…and shock firsttime visitors. One of the most satisfying moments in making the film was meeting our narrator, the wonderfully talented actress Rachel McAdams. When Rachel arrived to record the narration she told us she’d just watched the film a second time and that it had once again reduced her to tears. Daniel Slocum Hinerfeld, Co-Director/Co-Producer
HEALTH & MEDICINE SPONSORED BY DISCOVERY Awarded to the project that best captures insights into human health, disease and treatment. Includes Clinical Science, Epidemiology, Pharmacology, Bioengineering, Neuroscience, Stem Cell Research and Public Health.
In Defense of Food
What inspired the story? Our purpose in making “In Defense of Food” was to provide viewers with clear answers to a question that for many people is mired in confusion: “What should I eat to be healthy?” Based on the best-selling book “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” by journalist Michael Pollan, the program debunks the daily media barrage of conflicting claims about nutrition. And it distills his many years of reporting into a prescription for reversing the damage being done to people’s health by today’s industrially driven Western diet. Michael Schwarz
Memory Hackers How do you approach science storytelling? We aim to tell a story that represents some of the most significant science as well as engage the viewer on an emotional level. For us it’s not enough to report the findings that most scientists agree are important—we strive to find strong characters, engaging live-action sequences, creative visuals, and a narrative arc that ties everything together. We hope that viewers come away with not just an understanding of the ideas, but also a humanizing perspective on the scientific endeavor.
A NOVA Production by Little Bay Pictures for WGBH Boston
Vaccines - Calling the Shots
A NOVA Production by Tangled Bank Studios, LLC, in association with Genepool Productions Pty Ltd. for WGBH Boston
What impact do you hope this film will have? The topic of vaccines is an emotional one for many parents. We wanted to cut through the public confusion to give people a clear picture of how vaccines work and why they play such an important role in public health. And we wanted the film to be illuminating both for the majority who vaccinate their kids on the recommended schedule and for the minority who may delay or consider not vaccinating at all. Ultimately we hope this film can help trigger a new style of conversation around vaccination. That people who might usually argue, might instead discuss. We created a series of related short videos, explainer articles, and a guide for reporters on the topic of vaccine-preventable diseases, all in an effort to foster an informed conversation. The film and the supporting materials do not - and cannot - answer every question. But it can open a door to talking about what the questions - and answers – may be.
Twice Born: Stories from the Special Delivery Unit: Ep. 1
Trailblazer Studios 34 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? At one point during the filming of the series I sat in a hotel room outside of the hospital for 19 days waiting for a mother to deliver her baby. We had been put on notice that the baby would be delivered by caesarian 45 minutes after the onset of labor, meaning I would have 45 minutes to get there with a full crew, day or night. During this “siege,” as we called it, I had time to do some real soul searching about being a filmmaker and giving my life over to the profession. What I concluded was first, that this is all I know how to do. But second, that I know how to do it. I came to see that sitting in a hotel room was the natural consequence of telling the stories of people are taking part, in something that tests what human beings are capable of when faced with circumstances that change all the assumptions of everyday life. That for them parental love ( even for a child that hasn’t yet been born ) outweighs all other considerations, and that for me telling their story was the same.
PHYSICAL SPONSORED BY PANASONIC Awarded for excellence in conveying understanding of the infinitesimal and unseen. Relevant disciplines include Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience.
Inside Einstein’s Mind
A NOVA Production by Windfall Films Ltd. (part of the Argonon Group) for WGBH Boston, in association with the BBC
What inspired this story? The interest in this story was sparked by the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s theory of general relativity. It was the perfect time to explore the theory that is undoubtedly Einstein’s masterpiece. It’s a theory most of the public know very little about. Most of us think of gravity as a force discovered by Isaac Newton that mysteriously pulls things down towards the Earth. But 100 years ago Einstein figured out a much more powerful of description of gravity. I wanted to try to show the public what Einstein had discovered - that the familiar force of gravity is in fact warping of space and time itself! Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film The major challenge in this film was visualizing the concepts involved in Einstein’s theory. Einstein worked in mathematics - not a very visual medium! But he also famously used thought experiments to explore the concepts he was thinking about. We used visualizations of these thought experiments to communicate the key ideas at the heart of the theory.
The Beginning and the End of the Universe: The Beginning
BBC, The Open University
How do you approach science storytelling? There are always dangers that the subject may feel familiar to the audience – so the approach of the story telling itself is paramount; trying to find an angle, a fresh perspective becomes very important. The science may be the reason why the audience has come to the programme but the narrative is what will lead them through the programme itself. When investigating the science, it quickly became apparent there was a very human story at its heart – a story of maverick thinkers, of human fallibility, of determination in the face of adversity and equally belligerence in the face of evidence, of ego and prejudice and indeed serendipity. By focusing on these, sometimes unsung, people and their stories the science of a subject that could be remote, abstract and vast was lent a human scale. Nigel Paterson, Director / Series Producer
Uranium - Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
Genepool Productions, in association with Screen Australia, Film Victoria, SBS, PBS and ZDF/ARTE
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? The nuclear reactor at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization in Sydney is an open pool reactor. A stainless steel circular well about 5 meters in diameter and about 14 meters deep. It’s full of the most crystal clear water I have ever seen and at the bottom, glowing blue like a fusion of ice and fire, is the reactor itself. It’s about the size of a dishwasher. Permission to enter the reactor room is rarely given, and leaning on my elbows over the well, feeling the rising warmth of the water on my face I experienced something profoundly moving. At the bottom of that well they are engineering the fundamental particles of the universe. They are rearranging creation. The reactor made me feel for the brilliant creative energy of our species. It made me wonder at our capabilities. It gave me hope, and it made me angry, at the ignorant, the stupid, the deniers, and the people who read one book. There’s a difference between a nuclear reactor and great art, art that inspires like a piece of music, or a painting, or a dance, but maybe, less difference than I had imagined, and I hadn’t expected an encounter with nuclear physics to be so spiritual. Wain Fimeri, Writer/Director
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION SPONSORED BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PARTNERS Recognizing the project that most effectively examines innovation and technology in the realm of Robotics, Computer & IT, Artificial Intelligence, Mechanical and Systems Engineering.
Operation Lighthouse Rescue
A NOVA Production by Windfall Films LTD (Part of the Argonon Group) for WGBH Boston
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film The Gay Head lighthouse is on an extremely exposed peninsula, so filming out there was a constant challenge. Dense fog would roll in and completely soak all our equipment, even destroying one camera! If it wasn’t the fog, the wind was causing havoc for our sound. Capturing the precarious setting of the lighthouse and the scale of the engineering works also took great skill. We used drone photography to get above the cliffs to reveal the erosion and show how close the lighthouse was to the crumbling bluffs. Mini cameras rigged on the lighthouse, workers and machinery captured the drama of the engineering works - close-up as they unfolded - while the drone shots above helped convey the big picture scale and setting.
Raiders, Raptors and Rebels: Inside the Magic of ILM
Lincoln Square Productions, LLC
What inspired this story? With the release of the new Star Wars movie, and Industrial Light & Magic’s (ILM) 40th anniversary, it was a perfect time to take stock of how far not only Hollywood FX and ILM have come, but how the science behind all these hitech innovations have shaped the world, in ways few may have imagined. What impact do you hope this film will have? I hope viewers see that in today’s hi-tech world the delineation between entertainment and science have blurred, one innovation informing and propelling the other. Movie lovers may not realize how much FX companies like ILM have helped us understand, shape and manage the fast-forward world around us. Neil Laird, EP
Rise of the Robots
A NOVA Production by Terri Randall Productions for WGBH Boston
What impact do you hope this film will have? I hope this film gives the audience a deeper understanding of the many challenges researchers and roboticists face. Building machines that can do what humans do with ease is a surprisingly complicated and incredibly difficult task. I have enormous respect for the intelligence, ingenuity and passion of the roboticists who participated in the DARPA Robotics Challenge. Their work will no doubt shape the future. But I also hope the film will encourage the audience to think deeply about the future of robotics and the impact it will have on our lives.
The Origami Code
La Compagnie des Taxi-Brousse, Fact+Film, Leonardo Film, ZDF/3Sat 36 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film? This topic is a genuine case of art inspiring science. Age old artistic practises inspiring an incredibly vast array of researches in the most surprizing fields (medicine, industry, robotics, astrophysics...). One of the main challenges was to keep the right balance between art and science. To bring science issues to the foreground but constantly doing our best to show how art and nature can inspire such cutting edge science. And of course, doing this keeping a high and graphic standard of image all along the film. François-Xavier Vives, Director
BEING HUMAN SPONSORED BY VULCAN PRODUCTIONS Awarded for excellence in examination of human and social sciences, including Psychology, Anthropology, Sociology, Linguistics, and History of Science.
Dawn of Humanity
A Production of NOVA and National Geographic Studios for WGBH Boston
What inspired this story? The inspiration for the story came directly from the astonishing finds being made by Lee Berger in South Africa. At the time of filming, he had already made one remarkable discovery: the remains of a new species of human ancestor. As we were filming that, he made another! This gave us a unique opportunity to film one of the great paleoanthropological finds of our time as it happened. Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film The greatest challenge was that the remains of Homo Naledi were deep underground in a cave system only accessible by experienced cavers. So I had to hire a caver/cameraman who could film deep in the cave system while I directed most of the shoot remotely from above. The other great challenge was to weave the two amazing finds (and two very different species of human ancestor) into a coherent and compelling narrative about Human evolution.
First Peoples: Asia
Wall to Wall, PBS, ARTE France
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? I remember our cast of South African actors going through hours of prosthetic make-up work and emerging in their skins as Neanderthals, Denisovans and Homo erectus. That was the moment I realized the truth of our story - that up-close these people looked different to us, but not so differentâ€Ś If our ancestors met them tens of thousands of years ago, itâ€™s easy to imagine a shared sense of humanity crossing the species barrier. Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film Across the series, we set ourselves the task of finding the oldest Homo sapiens remains on each continent of the world. For Asia, that meant travelling to the tropical rain forests of Laos, negotiating access to a massive but remote cave and hiking in with archaeologists, a team of excavators and an escort of a dozen Communist Party dignitaries. Logistics were easily our biggest headache. Tim Lambert, Producer
Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman: Are We Bigots?
Produced by Revelations Entertainment for Science Channel
What impact do you hope this film will have? The message of this film is, we believe, vital, especially in these turbulent times. We must accept the biological roots of prejudice run through us all. Once we recognize that we are all prone to bias, we will have taken the first step to overcoming it, and to achieving a life without prejudice. The episode has a very hopeful message. Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? In one experiment conducted on a target range, a psychologist is seen using a video game simulation to test whether or not study participants are more likely to open fire on a suspicious black man rather than a white man. The scene was filmed after the Michael Brown incident and a few days before the death of Freddie Gray in police custody sparked the chaos in Baltimore. A few days later, Tamir Rice was shot in Cleveland. The events drew the team even closer together and intensified our resolve to deliver a film that would help make a difference. Producing Team for Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman
SHORT FORM SERIES SPONSORED BY PBS DISTRIBUTION Awarded to the thematically unified mini-series or ongoing multi-season series that most effectively communicates science themes and scientific principles (under 20 minutes).
Nature Boom Time!
World By Charlie Productions for Nat Geo KiDS
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film? Our budget for this show was incredibly small. We were a three-man crew – me, my sister, and my best friend. Editing, shooting, recoding audio, everything was learned in the field on the fly. We spent 55 continuous days on the road shooting, camping in the same tent, and surviving on a strict oatmeal and mac n’ cheese diet. No one took a paycheck. We spent weeks without showering. Voice overs were recorded in a basement closet. And I think we would all agree, it was an absolute blast. What impact do you hope this film will have? I worked hard to make this show as relatable as possible. It almost reads like a souped-up school project. I hope kids will watch this and be inspired to do their own natural investigating. I hope they watch the show and see a group of friends getting jacked up about the environment, and think that they could do the same. Charlie Engelman, Host, Creator, Writer, Editor, Producer
American Museum of Natural History
What inspired this series? In 2014, AMNH received an amazing collection of 540,000 marine fossils (ammonites! trilobites! sharks!) that in one fell swoop pushed us over the mark of having 33,000,000 specimens and artifacts. It gave us a chance to sort of step back and have a collective “WHOA” moment. This is one of the largest and most important research collections in the world. There are 33 million things here. The scope and scale is just phenomenal and while the Museum has gorgeous galleries and fantastic exhibitions, visitors only get to see a tiny fraction of our collection. And just as importantly, visitors rarely get the chance to interact with all the incredible folks who are doing active science here. The curators, collection staff, students, and researchers love the Museum collections and are really excited to be able to share their work and the stories behind the specimens. So, one video wasn’t going to cut it—there’s way, way, way too much science and history to fit into a single five-minute YouTube video. Honestly, we’d probably need 33,000,000 videos to do the collection justice, but creating Shelf Life seemed like a good first step. Erin Chapman, Creator and Producer of the series
Think Like a Scientist
Produced for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute by Day’s Edge Productions
38 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
What inspired this story? Each film in this web-series tackles a unique science story. However, the theme “Think Like a Scientist” was an idea developed between Day’s Edge Productions and the BioInteractive team at HHMI to tackle science stories that try to bridge the gap between the technical and philosophical mindset of being a scientist. The goal is to communicate to audiences the lessons about thinking like a scientist that anyone can apply to their lives when faced with challenges. Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? I was moved by many of the stories our characters shared with us. In particular, Greg O’Brian shared with us his deeply personal struggle with Alzheimer disease. Our episode about Alzheimer Disease was nominated for a Webby and I’m certain that that nomination was thanks to Greg being willing to share such a personal story. Once we launched the film, I received so many emails from people who were profoundly impacted by Greg’s story. So, we are very, very grateful to have had the opportunity to spend with him. Nathan Dappen
LONG FORM SERIES SPONSORED BY THE NATURE CONSERVANCY Awarded to the thematically unified mini-series or ongoing multi-season series that most effectively communicates science themes and scientific principles (longer than 20 minutes).
Genius by Stephen Hawking
Bigger Bang Communications, PBS, National Geographic Channels International
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? As someone who has overseen and created many science based programs, we tend to be jaded and think we’ve seen and heard it all – but at least twice over the course of working on Genius, I had genuine epiphany moments where I felt I finally understood some of the complexities of the universe. The first was when I realized that the universe didn’t begin in one place, because they universe began everyplace – because for a moment, everyplace was in one place. The second was when I realized that the law of conservation of matter prevented time travel into the past, and thoroughly dashed the dreams of owning a time-traveling Delorean.
Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough What inspired this story? In 1957, Sir David Attenborough first visited, and scuba dived on one of our planet’s most extraordinary creations, the Great Barrier Reef. Shrouded in mystery, and mostly inaccessible, he always wanted to go back to further explore the ecosystem he describes as “like no other in the natural world”. Sixty years on, using brand-new technology and the latest scientific research, David has the opportunity to unlock the secrets of the Reef as he embarks on a personal journey that reveals the true extent of its diversity, characters and complexity along the way.
Making North America How do you approach science storytelling? We hold a strong belief that science films should inform viewers by explaining what scientists have discovered, while also inspiring them by showing how they did it and why it matters. Presented this way, science is not a body of received wisdom but a way of understanding the world that anyone can understand, appreciate, and sometimes marvel at. We’re always trying to convey that science is not a strange priesthood but a natural outgrowth of our innate human curiosity.
A NOVA Production by Windfall Films for WGBH Boston
Uranium - Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
Genepool Productions, in association with Screen Australia, Film Victoria, SBS, PBS and ZDF/ ARTE
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film Making the series was quite simply the most arduous, intensive, exhausting, dangerous and wonderful working experience. We shot the series in eight weeks in nine countries. Our crew was small, only five people, and they humped equipment up cliffs in Northern Australia in 45 degree heat. They rattled down a dilapidated Soviet mineshaft in a squealing metal cage in wet darkness, and they suited up with spacesuits and respirators and descended into lethal radiation zones. Shooting in high radiation environments has some unique challenges. The main danger in a radiation zone is time. In one place inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone, we were limited to only four minutes exposure to the intense radiation. It’s surprising how scary this can be. Walking in torchlight through abandoned underground buildings holding a shrieking Geiger counter concentrates the mind wonderfully. All in all, not an ordinary day at the office and not, ordinary film making. Writer/Director, Wain Fimeri
SHORT SPONSORED BY WGBH Awarded to the short program, twenty minutes or less in length, that best communicates a scientific subject to a general audience.
Jason Silva: Transhumanism
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? Jason Silva is one of those unique individuals whose grasp of technology is exceptional. He has a near photographic memory of his extensive science readings, citing the world’s most ingenious thinkers. He is an incredible science and technology communicator who synthesizes and presents information in an engaging manner that gets the audience really thinking. For Transhumanism, his interview was preceded by a two-hour long Q&A with an audience. The whole time, he was high-energy and thoughtful, never missing a beat. It was a joy to watch as his knowledge of the melding of man and machine was deeply informed by both historical and philosophical contexts.
Tanya Cochrane Films & Levon Biss in association with Oxford University Museum of Natural History.
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film The film had to capture the incredible detail and resolution of Levon’s macro photography as well as describing the photographic process . Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? When time-lapse cameras were set up at Genesis Imaging in London to record the printing process of the very first large scale image. It was amazing to see the first image as it came off the printing bed and to see Levon Biss and everyone’s reaction to the mind blowing large scale detail. A very moving moment at the end of Levon’s detailed process of work. Tanya Cochrane
Moth Mimicry: Using Ultrasound to Avoid Bats
Gorongosa Media Project and Off The Fence, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
What inspired this story? Jesse Barber at Boise State University has long been studying how the long tails of one group of seemingly defenseless moths (Saturniids) are used to divert bat attacks. One lineage of these moths is abundant in Mozambique and so Jesse was planning to go to Gorongosa National Park to investigate how these moths have evolved to evade the over 40 species of bats there. We decided to follow him to Gorongosa to document his work. Carla Rebai
Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others
Spine Films, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
40 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
How do you approach science storytelling? I think, over the years, our most important science storytelling lesson has been this: People don’t learn about science very well from documentaries that ‘tell them the facts they didn’t know.’ To retain viewers’ and listeners’ interest, you need to have a story – a story with a character that struggles with an idea or question. And the struggle must connect to a process that eventually sheds some light on the question. Critical thought, problem solving, humans struggling with process, failure followed by a pivot – these have turned out to connect with our audiences more that spectacle and bare fact. Josh Rosen, Writer / Director
IMMERSIVE: FULLDOME, 3D & LARGE FORMAT SPONSORED BY FUJINON Awarded to the program created for distribution in an immersive experience or theater environment that best uses its technology and resources to advance an appreciation or understanding of a scientific discipline, discovery or principle. This category includes Large Format, 3-D, and Fulldome programs.
Asteroid: Mission Extreme
National Geographic, Sky-Skan
What inspired this story? I am inspired to create science films with a human story and am particularly interested in our connection with space. My last film To Space & Back followed this “human-space-connection” theme and has proven to be of interest to both general and school audiences - so I looked again for an original idea I felt would be informative, inspiring and popular. With asteroids being so topical, having a possible and significant impact on the Earth and consequently impacting humans - it seemed the right time to touch on a subject involving them. However, I didn’t want to linger on the dangers of Earth-colliding asteroids. Not what you want for a fun day out with the kids. So the idea of asteroids being an opportunity is what I wished to focus more on; the inspiring and exciting notion of utilizing their resources so humans can travel far beyond our moon. A scientific credible idea that would belong to our newest generation of aspiring scientists. This in turn allowed a story of human ingenuity, inventiveness, pioneering spirit and survival. Annette Sotheran-Barnett, Writer, Producer, Director
David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies 3D
Atlantic Productions, Sky 3D
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film? As 3D demands that subjects be filmed relatively close to the camera – far from ideal in a wildlife documentary – shooting this series represented an extremely tricky challenge. So the team liaised extensively with UAV designers, Macro rig engineers and Directors of Photography who helped us to develop entirely new systems that took 3D to places it had never been before. Another challenge is that the two cameras need to stay aligned or risk the shot being unusable, which meant the stabilising gimbal they were attached to had to be very robust. No gimbal had yet been manufactured that could take two Epic cameras mounted side-by-side, so we had to commission a bespoke gimbal solution.
From Dream to Discovery
Produced by the staff of the Charles Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Science, Boston
What impact do you hope this film will have? At our most optimistic, we hope that the show will be inspiring to students and young adults and others who are still making career choices and perhaps spark something in them that will lead them to a career in engineering or any of the STEM fields. But even more broadly, we hope that it offers people a window into the engineering process, maybe shifting any existing perceptions that engineering is boring or that they’re not smart enough to understand it, and helping them realize that engineering is not about sheer intelligence, but about critical thinking, planning, and perseverance. The basic principles of engineering are not beyond anyone’s abilities. We’re born engineers, we tinker and we play, and the idea of working through problems by planning and iterating solutions (and sometimes failing) until you’ve got it is something that we can carry with us no matter who we are or what we do in our careers or lives. Dani LeBlanc, Writer / Producer
IMMERSIVE: VIRTUAL & AUGMENTED REALITY SPONSORED BY TERRA MATER FACTUAL STUDIOS Awarded to the program created for an immersive experience that best uses its technology and resources to advance an appreciation or understanding of a scientific discipline, discovery or principle. This category includes virtual and augmented reality.
David Attenborough’s Great Barrier Reef Virtual Reality Dive
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film It was hugely challenging. At this time, shooting 360 live action was in its relatively early days. We were going to take multiple camera rigs beneath the waves on the Barrier Reef, inside and outside of a hi-tech submersible. We were re-writing the rulebook not just in terms of the technical execution but also the grammar of storytelling in this new medium. What next? From natural history and science to drama series – there are a lot of exciting developments happening at our side. Our first VR experience, First Life, which transports you through a CGI prehistoric ocean, and Great Barrier Reef, our live action dive with David Attenborough, has opened our eyes to the potential of this new medium. You can go anywhere in the world, visit ancient cities, explore the surface of Mars or travel through the human body. The cross-over with gaming technology will make the experiences increasingly interactive, significantly changing the way audiences engage with stories like this. They’re in the story.
Case Western Reserve University’s Interactive Commons and Cleveland Clinic
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? We have had more than 300 people go through our experience. Every time we ask people to walk from one side of the model to the other, 100 percent of the time, they walk AROUND our holographic person—even though he’s not physically there. It’s amazing how quickly our brains adapt to believing that this hologram is in the room with us. Another fascinating experience is siting without a HoloLens and watching groups of people interacting with holographic data. You see groups of people intently focusing and pointing at things in thin air. They are definitely talking about something that is real to them, but from the outside we see nothing. It is highly entertaining! Any tips for those interested in exploring VR/AR production? Be prepared to make a lot of mistakes, but don’t stop trying new ways to approach the medium. This is truly a new way of seeing and interacting with the world, and we are far from having this figured out. Do a lot of experiments with people who aren’t on your team. They will give you insight you would never find on your own. Mark Griswold, PhD., Case Western Reserve University
42 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
Any tips for those interested in exploring VR/AR production? Prototype rapidly, and frequently test your prototypes with users! VR is a brand new computing paradigm, and everyone is trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t in this new space - it’s very, very rare that we get something right on the first try. We joke on Tilt Brush that every feature has been re-considered three times before it makes it into a release build. What inspired this app? We were doing a number of VR/AR prototypes as the first consumer headsets were becoming available, back in 2014. One of those early prototypes was augmented reality chess, but quickly mutated into a drawing experiment. Turns out drawing in 3D is much more fun than playing board games!
INTERACTIVE SPONSORED BY BROOKLINE INTERACTIVE GROUP Awarded to the project that best integrates the interactive potential of digital media to advance understanding of science and scientific principles through web-based, mobile, downloaded and personal media technology.
NY Hall of Science, Design I/O
What inspired this story? The future wellbeing of humanity hinges on how well our citizens understand sustainability and make decisions based on the carrying capacity of the Earth. The development of Connected Worlds was based on a sense of urgency to deepen the public understanding of sustainability and the complexity of how human and natural systems affect one another. We are at a turning point where helping to create a citizenry that can use systems thinking to inform decisionmaking and solve the important environmental and social problems may be the most important thing we can do. Dr. Stephen Uzzo, Project Director
MIT Game Lab, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Museum of Science, Boston, Gerd Kortemeyer, Assoc. Prof of Physics, Michigan State University, Lyman Briggs College
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? We had a great moment during the main show. In special relativity, everything is based around your relative frame of reference. Mostly throughout the show, we either had other objects moving, or we moved while the world held still, which makes it easier to understand. At the Q&A portion of the show, someone posed the following question: since it’s all relative, if you move at the same speed as an object in the world, that object looks normal, right? We told them let’s try it out, and I moved the camera alongside one of our duckboats. Just as they predicted, the duckboat was entirely normal while the world changed. It was the exact moment we had all hoped to see. If I had thought of it ahead of time I would have planted someone to ask that question, it was so perfect. Rik Eberhardt, Studio Manager, MIT Game Lab
The Zooniverse, Gorongosa National Park, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
What were your primary goals – what were you trying to achieve – in creating this project? The primary goal of this project is to engage students and the public in the process of scientific inquiry and data collection in an authentic, ongoing citizen science project. An additional goal was to use the power of crowdsourced data collection to support the scientific work by the researchers at Gorongosa National Park. The citizen science interface allows the public and students to identify animal species, numbers, and behavior in trail camera photos. This engagement in data collection and interpretation allows users to understand the challenges that face scientists in the field – large datasets and sometimes ambiguous data that requires some level of training to interpret accurately. The “Lab” portion of the interactive was developed primarily for classrooms and allows students to practice inquiry-based ecology by posing questions and exploring image data generated by citizen scientists to answer their own ecological questions. Bridget Conneely, HHMI Program Officer
MICRO MOVIE SPONSORED BY AAAS Awarded to the short program, five minutes or less in length, that best communicates a scientific subject to a general audience.
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? Many people, specially in the cities, often think of mangroves as filthy swamps, unhealthy breeding grounds for mosquitoes with no value for society. While on location for the mangroves production we met a lot of families whose life is inextricably linked to this valuable ecosystem. It is their home and their livelihood. Spending time with them was an eyeopening experience Jamie Rojo
Dream Tree Film & Productions
What impact do you hope this film will have? Nature Rx is a not just a series of comedy films, but a media movement we are creating, around the ironic branding of nature. Of course nature has not business being branded as such, but that’s the fun of showing what gets missed in many branded messages – the value of things that defy marketing campaigns and branding – like a parent’s love for a child or a person’s love for the outdoors. We intentionally wanted to come at the conversation about the relationship between humans and nature in a new and innovative way. The hope was to impact a much larger audience to reconsider what personally matters to individuals and what’s really possible in their lives and bettering their lives when they team up with nature – when they see nature as a necessary and vital part of being human.
Pongo Media, Andy Maser Films, King Tide Motion Pictures, World Wildlife Fund, Natural Habitat Adventures
What inspired this story? Conservation messaging is frequently convoluted and heavy, causing audiences to become numb and skeptical. We take a different approach with Remember When? We celebrate the primal joy that everyone feels for wild places, creatures and adventures. Through a child experiencing the arctic region and polar bears for the first time, we hope to send a message that transcends politics to help instill a wide appreciation for the arctic region. Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film It’s difficult to tell a new story about one of the most iconic species: the polar bear. It is also challenging to tell a story filled with mostly negatives in a way that makes people hopeful and want to act. Jenny Nichols
44 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
What inspired this story? I became inspired by Joe Romeiro’s story of going from someone who was very interested in marine wildlife, specifically sharks and to what extent that passion eventually manifested itself in his life. This is also a story of how our passions tend to weave themselves into our lives. The Edge is a story of what it looks like to allow your passions to drive you to the cusp of what is being done in a given field. The narrative is further pushed by the dark, elusive nature of the footage and ultimately communicates a message of our role in this world and how we can cohabitat this space, respectfully. Carlos Toro, Director/Producer
SCIENCE JOURNALISM SPONSORED BY Awarded to the film that most effectively conveys a complicated scientific story, issue or process for a general audience.
Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea and Discovery Channel present an Oceanic Preservation Society film in association with Vulcan Productions, The Li Ka Shing Foundation, Earth Day Texas, JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, Diamond Docs, Insurgent Docs
How do you approach science storytelling? It’s counterintuitive, but scientific studies show that people don’t change behavior based on what they think but rather by what they feel. They then use science to prove what their emotions tell them. Knowing this, we try to open up people’s emotions up first before showing the science. Some scientists believe that in the next 100 years we could lose half the species on the planet. However, that is just a statistic. We first tell the story of the Kauai O’o bird, where we hear only the male singing his half of a duet because he is the last of a species, singing for a female that will never come. Louie Psihoyos
Discovery Channel presents a Natural Resources Defense Council, Imaginary Forces, International Fund for Animal Welfare, Diamond Docs film
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film The biggest challenge making Sonic Sea was that its subject – sound in the ocean – is both invisible and outside normal human experience. Whereas people depend primarily on their sense of sight, whales and many other marine species depend primarily on making and hearing sounds. In order to convey what their acoustic life is like, we used animations to depict sound visually, and also built a rich sound design based on thousands of actual underwater recordings. Our goal was to plunge the audience through the waves and deep into an ocean flowing with sound. Daniel Slocum Hinerfeld, Co-Director/Co-Producer
Vaccines - Calling the Shots What impact do you hope this film will have? We hope this film can help trigger a new style of conversation around vaccination. That people who might usually argue, might instead discuss. We created a series of related short videos, explainer articles, and a guide for reporters on the topic of vaccine-preventable diseases, all in an effort to foster an informed conversation. The film and the supporting materials do not - and cannot - answer every question. But it can open a door to talking about what the questions - and answers – may be. A NOVA Production by Tangled Bank Studios, LLC, in association with Genepool Productions PTY LTD. for WGBH Boston
While You Were Sleeping
Infield Fly Productions in Association with The Nature of Things, CBC TV; the Canada Media Fund, Rogers Telefund, The Ontario Media Development Corporation and CAVCO
Were there any unexpected surprises or breakthroughs during this film investigation? I was surprised that every scientist regarded themselves more like an astronaut on an exciting deep space mission: to them sleep was like a dark void and it was clear that they felt they had only scratched the surface of what’s happening in our brain and body as we sleep. Everyone on the crew came away from filming this documentary with a newfound appreciation for a good night’s sleep. I learned that I had been showing little respect for something vitally important to my mental and physical well being. And, I have changed my sleeping patterns because of it. I also learned that in the not too distant future everyone will know that a good sleep is just as important to your overall health as exercise and eating well. People who think that going without sleep proves their strength will be seen as fools. Decisions made by people on little sleep will hold as much value as decisions made by those who are intoxicated. Jeff Semple, Director
SCIENCE AMBASSADOR SPONSORED BY Awarded to the program that brings science and scientific discovery to life through the exceptional communication skills of an on screen presenter or featured scientist.
E.O. Wilson - Of Ants and Men
Shining Red Productions, Inc. for PBS Host: E.O. Wilson
Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? I think the most powerful experience was our filming with Ed in Gorongosa Park, Mozambique. The place and setting somehow inspired him to beautifully express and bring together all the disparate parts of his thought and passions: The natural world, conservation, the processes of human evolution and the instincts and emotions it has instilled in us. What impact do you hope this film will have? I hope this film communicates to a large audience the passions that have moved EO Wilson’s life. Probably the greatest of these is an abiding love of the natural world, expressed with such eloquence and fervor throughout his career. I hope the film inspires people to read more of EO Wilson’s work and allow themselves to fall in love with the natural world just as he has.
World By Charlie Productions for Nat Geo KiDS Host: Charlie Engelman
Why did you pick Charlie to be the on camera host telling this story? I thought it was important to have an on-camera host because the presence of an enthusiastic communicator gives the viewers just one more thing to potentially lock onto. It makes the episode seem less like a regurgitation from a text book and more like a story you’re hearing from a friend. I decided to take on the hosting duties myself because I have a relentless enthusiasm for the environment and when I learn about a topic I can’t help but tell someone about it. Charlie Engelman, Host, Creator, Writer, Editor, Producer
Secret Earth: Yellowstone Supervolcano What inspired this story? Craig Beals loves explosions. To keep his students’ attention, the Montana Teacher of the Year blows things up. But his passion for science extends beyond the classroom to a world where theory can be experienced. So when researchers discovered a second massive molten chamber deep below Yellowstone National Park, Craig Beals knew he had to investigate the explosive potential of the world’s largest supervolcano. Avela Grenier, Show Producer
Grizzly Creek Films, History Host: Craig Beals
Uranium - Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
Genepool Productions, in association with Screen Australia, Film Victoria, SBS, PBS and ZDF/ ARTE Host: Derek Muller 46 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
How do you approach science storytelling? Service the audience that you can count on to watch your film, but court the other audience, the one who isn’t automatically drawn to the subject. We apply dramatic principles to our stories. We thought of Uranium as many things, but mostly, as a character. Complex, beguiling, savage. And the series became an autobiography of this character. I think our audience understood this. This character thrilled them, scared them and intrigued them to watch three hours of science and story about a rock. Writer/Director, Wain Fimeri
ENGAGING YOUNG SCIENTISTS SPONSORED BY BOSTON MUSEUM OF SCIENCE Awarded to the project that most effectively communicates science and engages audiences aged 6 - 12.
Design Squad Global
WGBH Educational Foundation
How do you approach science storytelling? When choosing a story for a digital game, video, or design challenge, we look for topics that will spark kids’ interests, that are accessible, and will present engineering as a creative way to solve problems and make a difference in the world (something that particularly resonates with girls). We also organize our content (videos, hands-on activities, challenges) through “pathways,” or themes that appeal to kids (sports or music, for instance). This provides an avenue for a kid who doesn’t feel that they are interested in engineering, but are interested, for instance, in art. Marisa Wolsky, Executive Producer Melissa Carlson, Digital Senior Producer
discover science: Lets meet at the bottom What do you feel is most important to remember when telling science stories to younger audiences? The tagline of discover science Japanese version is “You never know till you try”. Historic scientists such as Galileo Galilei and Charles Robert Darwin challenged the accepted theories using their in-depth observation and examination. Observe nature carefully, develop basic interest and knowledge in science, and doubt the established theories if necessary. That is the message we believe audio-visual contents can convey.
NHK, UR, SABC2, SABC Education
Earth to Luna - the Sinking Grape Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film Our biggest challenge when we write these stories is to not “teach” the main characters the science behind what is happening, but to always have them discovering it themselves. We don’t want the answers simply handed on a silver platter to the character. We don’t want them getting answers from another character, book or anything, but to observe things, find things, put the pieces together, and encourage our audience to find answers for themselves as well.
TV PinGuim in association with Discovery Kids
Spanish Moss! Anything else you would like people to know? Nature Boom Time! airs today because a wonderful group of people at Nat Geo Kids were open-minded and willing to take a gamble on a kid with a pair of scissors. Too often, science media starts looking the same. It’s an honor to be nominated alongside some great media makers that are pushing beyond the cookie cutter format and creating new and inspiring stories. I look forward to meeting some of you over the next few days.
World By Charlie Productions for Nat Geo KiDS
STUDENT & EMERGING FILMMAKER SPONSORED BY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY Awarded to the best science program of any length created by someone currently enrolled or out of school less than two years. A copy of the applicant’s most recent student ID will be required.
What inspired this story? Mostly my upbringing. I’m from a small rural community in Iowa and wanted my Master’s Thesis Film to be a unique story focused on my part of the world. My grandpa raised cattle, and I originally wanted to make a film about how he traveled the state selling bull semen to other farmers, but then I happened on a story about Carl. You see the scars of what the meat industry (especially pork) has done in the Midwest, and to tell the story of a guy that is successfully combatting that by doing it the right way, and with a pig he invented himself, was something that really interested me.
Red Wolf Revival
Roshan Patel, Nestbox Collective
What impact do you hope this film will have? Over the course of the film, it became clear that many people simply do not know about the species or the specifics of the current tensions. After screenings in the area, we organized panels with landowners, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and various non-profits. This way, each event would provide a baseline of the history, science, and controversy outlined in the film, and end in a discussion with key stakeholders and decision-makers. We also organized private screenings and surveys throughout the more contentious regions of North Carolina in order to get a sense of how the film could shift perspectives, and found that the film is, in fact, contributing to people’s understanding of the species. Roshan Patel
Transistors: Teeny Tech that Changed the World
Vey Nou Lagon
Vey nou Lagon Ltd Vanina Harel, Zara Currimjee
48 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film We quickly realized that some fishers were uncomfortable talking about certain issues on camera. Mauritius is a small island, where everyone knows each other. Fishers were scared about the repercussions their testimonies would have on them and their families. It took some time to build a relationship with them and gain their trust, but they eventually felt comfortable talking about controversial issues with us. We also were very careful in the edit to protect our subjects Mauritius is in the southern hemisphere, where seasons are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere. Shooting during our summer break meant that it was winter in Mauritius. Moreover, making a documentary about fishers on an island implied that most of our shoots were outdoors. Vanina Harel & Zara Currimjee
AUDIBLE SCIENCE SPONSORED BY BBC Awarded to the best science story or program created for distribution via radio, Internet or mobile device.
National Public Radio
What are the biggest challenges of an audio–only medium? Is this a trick question!? We adore the audio-only medium of radio! Freed from visual judgments we believe that a listener can connect in a deeper way with the people in the stories. That said, every now and then, a visual is simply so stunning that radio can’t do it justice. For example: a blind man riding a bicycle or removing his eyeballs from his head. An atom becoming temporarily entangled with another atom, right before our eyes. These are all moments we have included in our stories and without visuals, it forces us to be extra vivid in our descriptions. Sometimes, we surely fail to capture the visual reality before us. Alas. That’s what video extras are for! Lulu Miller, co-host of Invisibilia
The Leakey Foundation
What inspired this project? The Leakey Foundation has been funding scientific research and sharing it with the public for nearly fifty years. The Origin Stories podcast started as a way to tell the fascinating stories behind important discoveries in the study of human evolution. How do you approach science storytelling? Science is not boring! Scientists have thrilling stories to tell that are full of curiosity, exploration, challenges, and discoveries. As a producer, I approach science storytelling with my own curiosity about how scientists do their work, what they have learned, what has challenged them the most, and what their discoveries mean. I believe that science stories have the power to transform the way you see yourself and the world. Meredith Johnson, Communications Manager
Science Friday How do you approach science storytelling? Most importantly, we follow our own curiosity. We assume that if it’s interesting to us, it’ll be interesting to the listeners. After that, we try and figure out what are the facts that we want to share with other people. Because odds are that’s what our listeners will remember. Or sometimes it’s just the stories that make you go “eeew” or “what?!?!”. What’s next? Another 25 years of telling great science stories!
Signal Podcast with Meg Tirrell and Luke Timmerman
What impact do you hope this podcast will have? The Signal team truly hopes our podcast will find a much wider interested audience out there. Launching inside a small startup is hard. We don’t have the visibility of an NPR or a PRI. They have huge, audio-conditioned fans. We have a health and life sciences news site that happens to have a podcast sometimes. But it’s more motivation for us to get out there and show what we’ve put together. Were there any surprising or meaningful moments/experiences you want to share? One of the most surprising things was getting nominated for a SMASH audio award next to radio giants like Invisibilia and Science Friday. Invisibilia has been crazy popular and Science Friday has been around for decades. We came into existence last November. Ours is the little show that could. If the judges saw fit to put us head-to-head with those lions of science radio, well, we must have done something really right. And that’s more meaningful to us than surprising. Jeffery Delviscio, Senior Editor of Multimedia, STAT
WRITING SPONSORED BY WORLD WILDLIFE FUND Awarded for the writing that most enhances a science program through the union of storyline, dialog and narration.
Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea and Discovery Channel present an Oceanic Preservation Society film in association with Vulcan Productions, The Li Ka Shing Foundation, Earth Day Texas, JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, Diamond Docs, Insurgent Docs Writer: Mark Monroe
What were the biggest influences on how you approached writing this project? The film is a result of as a child watching too many James Bond movies and Jacques Cousteau specials. Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film? The largest cause of ocean acidification is CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels, but the gas is normally invisible to the human eye. Working with a company that manufactures infrared technology called FLIR, we helped develop the best highdefinition camera that can visualize CO2. The camera has a special bandpass filter mounted inside with the sensor, which does away with the need to recalibrate in the field every few minutes—an improvement over previous technology. We mounted that camera stereoscopically next to a normal camera so we could switch between the hidden world of CO2 emissions—smokestacks, cars, trains, planes, weed whackers—and what our naked eye sees, so the audience could see how the greenhouse gas is created in nearly activity we do. Louie Psihoyos
Return of the River
Elwhafilm LLC Writer: Jessica Plumb
How do you approach science storytelling? Good science storytelling starts with good storytelling. I begin with curiosity and my belief in the power of story. Conflict, authenticity, emotion and characters are just as important to science storytelling as any other genre. To give one example from the many science topics addressed in Return of the River: How to make river sediment relevant to a general audience? When sediment starvation starves a tribe of shellfish, and creates a lunar landscape– sediment transport matters. Marine derived nutrients, the salmon cycle; all were introduced via a very human story of conflict and unintended consequences. Jessica Plumb, Producer / Director
Uranium - Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
Genepool Productions, in association with Screen Australia, Film Victoria, SBS, PBS and ZDF/ ARTE Writer: Wain Fimeri
50 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
What inspired this story? It began with a mad commitment to tell a cracking story of the most desirable and hated rock on Earth. Uranium changed the world. It revolutionized physics and changed the way we think about the nature of reality. Uranium bent our culture. Uranium is the rock in rock- and-roll. Uranium has the power to take us into a future of clean, limitless energy, or kill every single one of us on this planet. Those are high stakes, and that’s a story that needed telling. What impact do you hope this film will have? We hope this film will help in understanding uranium as something natural and integral to the fabric of our planet. Something inseparable from the development of life on our planet. A source of astonishing power to be understood. Before it is feared, before it is embraced. Wain Fimeri, Writer/Director
SPONSORED BY PBS
Awarded to forthe theproject editingthat thatbest most enhancesthe theinteractive science program through themedia union to of imagery, sound, music and Awarded integrates potential of digital advance understanding of story. science and scientific principles (including apps, games, video podcasts and websites).
Explorer: Warlords of Ivory
National Geographic Studios for National Geographic Channel Editors: J ennifer Honn and Seth Skundrick
What inspired this story? This story came on the heels of a 1-hour documentary our team produced that dug into the growing demand for elephant ivory from markets in China. After exposing luxury markets in Hong Kong and mainland China on the cover of National Geographic Magazine and though a one hour documentary, Battle for the Elephants, we were heartbroken to learn of an ongoing slaughter and the death of rangers who’d dedicated their lives to save a dwindling species. The final straw was a report that 23 elephants were militantly gunned down via helicopter in Chad. JJ Kelley, Director / Producer
Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea and Discovery Channel present an Oceanic Preservation Society film in association with Vulcan Productions, The Li Ka Shing Foundation, Earth Day Texas, JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, Diamond Docs, Insurgent Docs Editors: Geoffrey Richman, Lyman Smith, Jason Zeldes
What were some of the specific editing challenges you had to address? By far the most significant challenge of this edit was bringing together the many different topics of Louie’s interest into one cohesive narrative. From day one, we knew what the film wasn’t. It wasn’t a topical survey of the species extinction issue, it wasn’t exactly an eco-thriller like the Cove (although there were elements of that) and it wasn’t a traditional environmental issue film. It took us several months to come to the realization (even though it’s blatantly obvious now) that what we had on our hands wasn’t a linear narrative but a tapestry. The first challenge was to get each of the pieces right in length, tone, balance of exposition/information and heart. With over twelve hundred hours of footage there were a great many directions we could have gone with each scene so getting this right took a great deal of time. Then, as is the case with most tapestry formats, we had to assemble those pieces in such a way as to create the sense of structure. There was a lot riding on transitions and really nailing the balance of each scene. The most useful lesson was that we had to keep the intellectual and emotional sides of the film in perfect balance. If we neglected or overloaded either of them it started to fall apart. We recognized that the intellectual emotional nadir had to live in about the same place. That there was an intellectual and an emotional climax that occurred at different moments but had to be basically aligned for the whole thing to work. Lyman Smith, Editor
Rise of the Killer Virus
Docdays Productions, Yuzu Productions, Congoo Productions, Smithsonian Networks, ZDF Editor: Marcel Ozan Riedel
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film This film documents science in action. We didn’t know how the story would end until we finished filming. In addition, we were shooting in one of the most difficult and inaccessible regions of the world. We wanted to show that science doesn’t only happen in the laboratory. Without the difficult fieldwork in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and southeastern Cameroon, scientists in the US would not have been able to generate the data that shed a new and surprising light on the AIDS epidemic. Antje Boehmert, Carl Gierstorfer, Marcel Ozan Riedel
The Great Australian Fly
360 Degree Films in association with Screen Australia, ABC TV, Film Victoria and ZED Editor: Tony Stevens ASE, Assistant Editor/Animation: Alan Bennett
What inspired this story? There was a massive whole in Australia’s documenting of a ubiquitous being: The Fly. We felt something just had to be done. Tosca Looby, Writer & Director What were some of the specific editing challenges you had to address? The biggest challenge for me was understanding the subtle appearances between the different kinds of flies. Director Tosca Looby and I had to make sure that each sequence we edited was with the correct fly! I also found the maggot-therapy rushes initially confronting. Fortunately the characters within the scene were both genuine and wonderful (the nurse and the patient) and their story steered the edit into interesting territory. And of course the marvelous maggots rose to the occasion! Tony Stevens, Editor 51
SPONSORED BY SONY ELECTRONICS David Attenborough’s Light on Earth
Terra Mater Factual Studios/Ammonite Films, CuriosityStream, with: BBC, UKTV, ABC Australia Director of Photography: Martin Dohrn, Cinematographers: Jack Hynes, Fraser Johnston, Elliot Lowndes, Jonathan Esling, Ian Stewart
Did the film team use any unusual techniques or unique imaging technology? In order to make the images for Light on Earth, we had to dig deep into our 2 decades of working in the dark with infra red and intensified cameras. New cameras on the scene enabled us to do the same in 4k. But with almost all the imagery, we also had to develop our noise reduction techniques that went way further than we had ever achieved before. What next? There are plenty more amazing bioluminescent stories for films, and we are developing ideas. But funding for films about bioluminescence is, as we have discovered, very hard to find. In the mean time, we are making a film about ants.
Forces of Nature: Shape
A BBC Production with PBS coproduced by France Televisions Cinematographers: Simon de Glanville, Tim Cragg, Roger Munns
Describe some of the challenges faced while making this film? Technically filming the honey-hunters of Nepal was the most challenging story in the film. A drone camera would give a unique perspective but it wasn’t known how the bees would react. Not well it turns out! The drone had to give them a good margin or risk a swarming attack that could harm the bees, fell the drone and possibly lead the swarm to the operator on the ground. Although the Gurung people wear extremely little protection, our crew had donned full bee suits which made their work even hotter and more difficult. At one point the DoP took off his gloves and was stung - on his wedding finger. It quickly swelled up and the ring couldn’t be removed. To save the finger, the ring had to be cut off.
A BBC/Discovery Channel CoProduction
Did the film use any unusual techniques or unique imaging technology? Yes!! Lots! In particular we made a sequence with Swell Sharks off the coast of California. this species has recently been discovered to bioflouresce- proteins in the skin are activate by blue light. It is thought to be a form of communication that other swell sharks can see but humans can not. Working closely with Prof. Dave Gruber we developed an advanced camera and light system that could show the sharks as they ‘glowed in the dark’. Bio fluorescence has been reported previously in coral and jellyfish, and through the develop,net of fluorescent tags which allow researchers to track visually how cells work, it has led to major medical advances in cancer and AIDS. The discovery of these new proteins in the sharks will help further this research.
Uranium - Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
Genepool Productions, in association with Screen Australia, Film Victoria, SBS, PBS and ZDF/ ARTE Cinematographer: Jaems Grant, A.C.S.
52 2016 Science Media Awards & Summit
What next? The short answer is that one never knows what will happen next. I like making films that fuse information with drama. I love stories and finding the stories in every subject. Infotainment is a dirty word. It shouldn’t be. I want to reclaim the word to mean quality films that treat an audience with respect, dignity and patience. Films that entertain and inform. Simple. Anything else you would like people to know? Watching documentary, supporting documentary isn’t as passive as most people think. When we watch these programs, support and demand them, we push back on the Empire of Stupid. So be a revolutionary, watch documentary. Wain Fimeri, Writer/Director
From September 20 - 22, 2016, more than 300 science media stakeholders will gather to celebrate exceptional media, cutting-edge discoveries...
Published on Sep 13, 2016
From September 20 - 22, 2016, more than 300 science media stakeholders will gather to celebrate exceptional media, cutting-edge discoveries...