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While we are unable to screen this year’s winning films at your local cinema, you can sign up to watch them for FREE during August as part of our community screening program in support of National Science Week!


From great apes to rats trained to detect landmines, this year’s winning films are sure to amaze and delight the inner scientist in us all.

SCINEMA 2020 Award Winners

My Year of Living Mindfully
Winner: Best Film

1 hour 36 minutes

Directed by: Julian Harvey, Shannon Harvey

An investigative health journalist enlists a team of scientists to put meditation to the test, but after a 30,000-kilometre journey around the world from the bright lights of Manhattan to the dusty refugee camps of the Middle East, what begins as a year-long self-experiment transforms into a life-changing experience…

Jury comments: “This story is inspiring and the subject relatable”. “A really compelling and thorough approach to an often misunderstood issue and a great way of storytelling not just to invite those who are already doing meditation but those who are interested or sceptical and want to know more”.

Scratching the Surface
Winner: Best Short Film

12 minutes 15 seconds

Directed by: Bethany Staley

Scratching the Surface follows the extraordinary work of the APOPO and their scent detection rats, nicknamed ‘HeroRATs’, as they help to rid the world of landmines and tuberculosis –returning safe land back to communities for development and freeing people from serious illness so they can get back on their feet.

Jury comments: “Totally impressive and evocative”. “This does what film should in making the viewing experience a physical experience – I’m not sure I took a breath in during any of the mine detection sequences. Also the rats! With their little harnesses!”

She Walks With Apes
Winner: Award For Scientific Merit

1 hour 30 minutes

Directed by: Caitlin Starowicz & Mark Starowicz

Narrated by actress Sandra Oh, the epic story of three legendary women – Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Biruté Galdikas – who fought to save the Great Apes – and inspired a generation.

Jury comments: “I loved the juxtaposition between past and present, and was glad this wasn’t just another faux-inspirational life story. Whether you know a lot about primatology and the trimates or nothing, this doc has something to give you”. “Really interesting story and way of introducing a walk through the study of primates from early research”.

Winner: Best Experimental/Animation

15 minutes 45 seconds

Directed by: Beau Janzen

Bugbottle explores the possibilities in constructing structures that extend beyond our traditional three-dimensional space.

Jury comment: “This was so simple and yet elegant and held my attention throughout. As someone who battles with getting my head around the idea of a 4th dimension, this seriously helped!”

Animal Therapy
Winner: SCINEMA Junior

2 minutes 52 seconds

Directed by: Caitlin Vass

A short film exploring how animals affect mental health. This young filmmaker interviewed ten, very different people on their views regarding animal therapy.

Jury comment: “I applaud the visual and graphic communication skills on display here – and loved the use of illustrations! Great effort from such a young filmmaker!”

Winner: Best Online Format

19 minutes

Directed by: Dimitri Kourtchine

A scientific web series that leads the investigation on some not always obvious links between our everyday life and science. 

Jury comments: “Fun production values and a great script, shows the value of a talented voiceover artist”. “The use of music, narrational pace and bright playful visuals were wonderful for engaging the viewer in what could otherwise be dry topics! I was fascinated by the examples of complex systems and can imagine this being a great introduction to these concepts for anyone watching.”

Winner: Social Impact Award

3 mins 39 seconds

Directed by: Tom Mustill

#NatureNow is a personal and passionate call to arms from Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot to use nature to heal our broken climate. Made with no flights, recycled footage and zero net carbon.

Jury comment: “Compelling focus on three things viewers can do. Great choice of talent and balance between two different styles of an environmental advocate to appeal to the audience”.

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