2019
SATURDAY, JULY 25 THROUGH
MONDAY, AUGUST 3, 2020
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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 are incorporated into the annual Festival 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.


    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


    Film/Visual Media Production Partnership

    In production, 2020:

    The Untitled Bruce Strickrott Documentary, co-production Seftel Productions and Woods Hole Film Festival Film & Science Initiative.

    Synopsis: The history and future of Alvin, one of the world’s only manned submersibles, as told through the eyes of long-time Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution pilot Bruce Strickrott.

    Our Future, Our Fight, Film & Podcast Series, co-production Principle Pictures and Woods Hole Film Festival Film & Science Initiative, in partnership with the National Children’s Campaign and WGBH Boston. Click here for more information about the series.

    Our Future, Our Fight is a 10-episode short-form film series featuring young environmental activists whose lives have been impacted and altered by climate change. In each series, the youth activist will be introduced to a mid-career scientist whose work focuses on the specific area of interest. Together they explore scientific advances, consult experts and travel to destinations around the world in search of greater knowledge and possible solutions. The featured youth activists serve as guides and mentors to a young demographic.

    Episode 1: Wildfires –  in production. Jonah Gottleib is an 18-year-old high school senior whose life was transformed in the summer of 2017 when wildfires tore though his Northern California community of Petaluma, sparing his home, but leaving a trail of devastation that affected many of his close friends and their families. This sudden and unexpected destruction and loss hit Jonah hard and transformed his life and sense of purpose. 

    From California, Jonah travels to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where he is introduced to climate scientist Dr. Marcia Macedo of the Woods Hole Research Center. Through stories passed down by her Brazilian ancestors, she was inspired to study the human toll of climate change on the Amazon rainforest. Together, Jonah and Dr. Macedo embark on an extraordinary journey to the Amazon to see Dr. Macedo’s scientific research in action. In the field station at the southeastern edge of the Amazon, Dr. Macedo shares her fire experiments with Jonah where they have been simulating the impact of widespread fires throughout the region and they explore the parallel’s with Jonah’s experience with wildfires in California. Ultimately, we gain a broader understanding of the global impact of wildfires.

    Production, 2019.

    Super Reefs: The Future of Coral, co-production Northern Light Productions and Woods Hole Film Festival Film & Science Initiative. The short documentary Super Reefs: The Future of Coral premiered on May 16, 2019 in Woods Hole at Redfield Auditorium to a packed house.


    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.