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Film & Science Initiative

    Film & Science Initiative

    The Woods Hole Film Festival is excited to launch a new program designed to accelerate collaboration and conversation between scientists and filmmakers: the Woods Hole Film Festival Film and Science Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to provide opportunities to connect filmmakers and scientists to help them create films and other visual media that improve the public’s understanding of science.

    The Initiative will provide opportunities for scientists and filmmakers to work together to create impactful films about science. Through the Initiative’s workshops, panels, fellowships and conferences, scientists and filmmakers will develop expertise to collaborate and create visual media that is both informative and engaging.

    Aspects of this Initiative have been incorporated into the annual Festival previously as part of the broader mission. Through the ongoing Bringing Science to the Screen program, the Festival currently includes a substantial number of science-focused films in the annual Festival program and year-round series. The Science and Storytelling program brings together scientists, filmmakers and screenwriters during the Festival for topical panel discussions. Through the Film/Visual Media Production Partnership, the Initiative produced the short documentary Super Reefs: The Future of Coral which premiered on May 16th in Woods Hole at Redfield Auditorium to a packed house. Our first Fellows are working on their feature documentary about the North Atlantic Right Whale.

    New Programs

    • Film/Visual Media Production Partnership: create and produce science focused films and visual media.
    • Filmmaker Fellowship/Incubator: one year opportunity for up to 4 fellows to work on a film in Woods Hole. Connect filmmakers with studio space, access to leaders in ocean and environmental science, filmmaking mentorship and expert advice.
    • Intensive: 2 month program for filmmakers with science-focused works-in-progress
    • Bringing Science to the Screen Mini-Fests: event-oriented mini-fests throughout the year.
    • Fiscal Sponsorship: Festival to serve as a fiscal sponsor for science focused films.

    Key personnel: Judy Laster, Amy DuFault, Megan Sanchez-Warner, Hanumant Singh, Rachel Somer, Hortense Gerardo, Beth Murphy, Adam Howard

    Anne Cohen is a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution where she studies the impact of climate change on corals. Through her research, she and her team have discovered that some coral populations appear to be withstanding heatwaves that cause other corals to bleach and die. Called “Super Reefs”, these corals are of great scientific and conservation interest because they have potential to survive ocean warming and produce larvae that can help to regrow reefs devastated by climate change.

    So far, just a handful of Super Reefs have been discovered but there are more.  Anne and her team are working to locate them and provide coral reef nations with the information needed to incorporate Super Reefs into Marine Protected Areas to maximize their chances of survival.  Through her scientific research she is working to understand what makes reefs “Super”.

    It is this scientific understanding that will provide the best chance to locate and save the reefs.

    The short film Super Reefs: The Future of Coral tells the story of Anne Cohen’s science and is the first project produced under the auspices of the new Woods Hole Film Festival Film and Science Initiative. This film was produced in conjunction with Boston’s Northern Light Productions with funding from the Atlantic Donor Advised Fund.

    Production still from Follow the Journey

    Follow the Journey: The North Atlantic Right Whale Documentary (working title), feature documentary work-in-progress by Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth, Film-Truth Productions

    Follow the Journey: The North Atlantic Right Whale Documentary is a feature-length documentary that follows the epic journey of endangered right whales from their calving grounds off of Florida and Georgia to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in Canada, woven with the stories of the researchers, rescuers, artists and advocates who uncover challenges that face the species and illuminate discoveries along the way.

    To support the Film and Science Initiative, please contact us at info@woodsholefilmfestival.org for more information or Donate Here.