SCINEMA International Science Film Festival 2021 Award Winners

We may not be able to travel but we can still explore the world around us.

 

From the natural wonders of South America to an intriguing cultural connection between Finland and Australia, this year’s winning films of SCINEMA International Science Film Festival are sure to amaze and delight the inner scientist in us all.

 

You can sign up to watch all of the winning films plus dozens of 2021 Festival entries for FREE during the entire month of August as part of our community screening program in support of National Science Week!

Seven Worlds, One Planet — South America
Winner: Best Documentary / Film

Directed by: Chadden Hunter
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Duration: 59 minutes

From the bone-dry deserts of the Atacama, where penguins weave their way through a minefield of snapping sea lions, to the lush cloud forests of the Andes, where Andean bears scale 30-metre trees in search of elusive fruits, South America is full of the unusual and ingenious.

Jury comments: “Unmatched footage and phenomenal sense of drama and cinematic editing that make you connect with these places and organisms.”

“Another gold standard example from BBC Earth. Fun to see them embrace modern autheniticity and give us a peek at how the sausage is made, while connecting that to the story and larger message of conservation without making it gimmicky.”

The Slime Minder
Winner: Best Short Film

Directed by: Katie Garrett
Country of origin: United States
Duration: 10 minutes 14 seconds

If you’re aiming to glean insights on how animals retain and use knowledge, you might think staring at a pulsating yellow splat on a dead log isn’t very productive. These are slime molds, often avoided amorphous, brainless blobs. For biologist, Audrey Dussutour, researching primitive slimes has led to surprising discoveries about the evolution of learning and collective behavior that she’s been pondering her whole life.

Jury comments: “Super intriguing story! A great reminder that the methods can be just as exciting as the results and that curiosity for the sake of curiosity deserves a place in our science storytelling. Well done on bringing these underappreciated but fascinating organisms to life!”

“The Slime Minder is an excellent use of visual language and filmmaking techniques, with amazing talent and smart directing. I love the use of timelapse for both the slime and the scientist. Smart and sophisticated but not overly complex work.”

On / Off
Winner: Best Experimental / Animation

Directed by: Nicolas P. Villarreal
Country of origin: Argentina
Duration: 7 minutes

Exploring the endless distractions that threaten to destroy creativity.

Jury comment: “The animation style, sounds, music and recurring symbols in this film meant that so much was communicated about the creators’ perspectives and concerns without the need for words. That made this stand out in both its experimentation and animation.”

A Hundred Year Journey
Winner: Indigenous / First Nations Award

Directed by: Antti Seppänen
Country of origin: Australia / Finland
Duration: 51 minutes

The documentary film is based on the Helinä Rautavaara Museum’s project. It documents a rare encounter between cultural objects, the heirs of their original owners and creators, and two museums.

Jury comments: “This film communicated so much about the history of colonisation and its ongoing impacts as well as the culture of knowledge and heritage sharing that continues for Arrernte people. A great reminder that museums and museum curators can and should work hand-in-hand with Indigenous people to decolonise their work and be a healing rather than harming presence.”

“This film shows the importance and the effects of connection, and I appreciate the centring of repatriation. Incredibly important global issue made personal.”

Jim Allison: Breakthrough
Winner: Award for Scientific Merit

Directed by: Bill Haney
Country of origin: United States
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes

The story of one man’s visionary quest to find a cure for cancer. Jim Allison is a name to be reckoned with throughout the scientific world, a 2018 Nobel Prize winner for discovering the immune system’s role in defeating cancer but for decades he waged a lonely struggle against the skepticism of the medical establishment and the resistance of Big Pharma.

Jury comment: “Amazing work weaving personal motivations of researchers and pharmaceutical professionals as well as the immense effort that goes into clinical trials. Personal narrative to drive story.”

How Deadly | World
Winner: Best Online Format

Directed by: Hannah Draper
Country of origin: Australia
Duration: 30 minutes

Nature journalist, Dr Ann Jones, explains the sometimes terrifying and often hilarious behaviour of deadly animals from around the world.

Jury comments: “The use of viral online footage and the awesome reaction-video style of Anne Jones’ presenting makes this a really clever and versitile format, perfect for YouTube! I loved this idea’s application to the topic of deadly animals and it opens up so many more possibilities for what can be explored.” 

“How Deadly is such an ingenious use of the form, merging internet culture, top class talent, and quality production techniques. I could watch a thousand hours of this.”

The Nature of Music 
Winner: SCINEMA Junior

Directed by: Malia Barrele, Ryan Twemlow
Country of origin: Australia
Duration: 9 minutes

Revealing the mysterious and mathematical roots of music, from Neanderthals to whales and Pythagoras to modern astronomers.

Jury comments: “I was hooked to this video the entire way through. The use of humour, the unexpected places that the story took us, the breadth of research, and the creative use of broll and original overlay made this a fun and informative watch. Well done on getting creative with characters, costumes and locations.”

“Really great. It flowed very well, and it was like a BTN report. The editing was good, and I was captivated. The film was really professional and was spectacular.” – Caitlin Vass, guest SCINEMA Junior judge and winner of SCINEMA Junior Award 2020

The Lady Anatomist
Winner: Social Impact Award

Directed by: Iris Fegerl
Country of origin: Germany
Duration: 55 minutes 13 seconds

The documentary drama The Lady Anatomist depicts an unknown chapter in medical history and its impact on the gender struggle. Exploring the mysterious wax potrait of a women, a long lost document now reveals the extraordinary story of this woman, recounting her relationship with the Pope and 80 models of male sexual organs that suddenly reversed the rigid role models of the 18th century.

Jury comments: “A well-told story where the narration and dramatic re-enactments communicated so much about science as a culture and the journey we have been on in anatomy and more broadly.”

“A well-told narrative with a great introduction to hook the audience. An interesting level of historical detail and a fantastic introduction to a little-known era of science.”

Phenomena (series)
Winner: Special Jury Award

Directed by: Josef Gatti
Country of origin: Australia
Duration: 44 minutes 59 seconds

In summary, this series is an audio visual experience that uses science and art to create mesmerizing photographic visualizations of natural phenomena.

Jury comments: “Great 101 explainer. The producers made an effort to link the film to personal narrative. Would be a great study tool for high school students.”

“Fantastic concept and visuals – very, very cool.”

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