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FilmScene announces programming for Science on Screen collaboration


Chasing Coral

University of Iowa School of Music’s Voxman Building — Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.

‘Chasing Coral’ is the first installment of FilmScene’s Science on Screen collaboration. — video still

FilmScene has been selected as one of 36 non-profit theaters across the U.S. to receive a Science on Screen grant for 2018. Science on Screen, a program of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has been encouraging the exploration of science through film since 2005. The aim of the program is to pair films with panel discussions that dig into the science behind them.

The programming at FilmScene kicks off on Monday, Feb. 26 with a free showing of the 2017 documentary Chasing Coral. The film, which was produced by University of Iowa graduate Kevin Gruenich, follows a team of divers, photographers and scientists studying the rapid disappearance of the world’s coral. It is presented in conjunction with UI’s Climate for Change theme semester.

Chasing Coral will be shown at the UI’s Voxman Building (93 E Burlington St, Iowa City). One of the subjects of the film, Zackery Rago, will be present for a Q&A after the screening.

“This grant itself is a feather-in-the-cap, putting us in humbling company nationwide,” FilmScene Executive Director Joe Tiefenthaler said in an email. “We definitely hope to continue this Science On Screen series each and every year, but also look for ways we can extend this framework into wider event programming that investigates and instigates conversational elements in film.”

FilmScene’s Science on Screen offerings continue through the spring. See full schedule below. Not all films are documentaries, or even explicitly science-based. The core of the Science on Screen program is in the interaction between the films and the discussions, which draw out or illuminate scientific ideas suggested or inspired by the films.

The science/film collaborations include everything from a presentation on extraterrestrial life from the Des Moines Science Center, to accompany a screening of E.T, to a Women in Stem panel accompanying a showing of Bombshell, a film about actress and inventor Heddy Lamarr.

All of the films are locked in, but some of the panels/presentations are still in development.

“We’re hunting for the right spooky person to lead our fear experiment with The Babadook,” FilmScene Programming Director Rebecca Fons said in an email. “And regarding the lasers [for series closer Real Genius] — you don’t want to rush lasers.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome this amazing program to Iowa City and FilmScene,” said Tiefenthaler in the press release. “Film is the perfect artistic match for the wonder and curiosity of scientific exploration.”

Science on Screen Schedule

Feb. 26: Chasing Coral, followed by a Q&A with film subject Kevin Gruenich
Mar. 27: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, followed by a Women in STEM panel with UI’s Ananya Sen Gupta and Sarah Vigmostad
Apr. 22: E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, followed by a presentation on alien life by a representative from the Des Moines Science Center
May 22: The Babadook, followed by an exploration of the psychology of fear
June 10 : Real Genius, followed by lasers, and possibly including lasers popping popcorn


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