Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Imagine Science Film Festival 2011

Somewhat against my better judgment (I am currently working a graveyard shift), I headed down to the beautiful Bell House to attend the Secret Science Club sponsored night of the Imagine Science Film Festival- yeah, I'm going to pay for it later, but I had to show solidarity with the S.S.C. and the I.S.F.F. staff. I limited my imbibing to two beers, and am currently drinking enough yerba mate to keep the entire staff of the Biblioteca Nacional de Argentina buzzing for days.

Imagine Science Film Festival impresario and all-around good-guy Dr. Alexis Gambis was the M.C. for the event, which was a night of shorts. The shorts are available on Vimeo, so I'll embed my favorites:

Fossil Carrion Feeders from The Field Museum of Natural History on Vimeo was particularly enjoyable. The fossil carrion beetles are extraordinarily well-preserved in exquisite detail. To think that these eaters of dead dinos were fossilized so beautifully is mind-boggling. The fact that certain structures found in modern beetles are present in these Jurassic coleopterans is even more of a mind-blower.

E. chromi from Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg on Vimeo was another lovely film, with a sometimes hilarious extrapolation of the uses to which genetically engineered pigment-secreting bacteria could be put.

Breast Stem Cells (sorry, Vimeo doesn't seem to have the video), was an interesting computer animation of the changes which occur in the creameries during pregnancy, resulting in the production of milk.

Blank was a starkly beautiful short about genetically engineered mice with Alzheimer's navigating a water maze. The dark eyes of the swimming mouse were set off rather dramatically against the stark background of white fur and white maze. I had a brief conversation with director Boris Hars-Tschachotin before the program- he's one of the good guys. We spoke primarily about therapeutic approaches to delay the onset of Alzheimer's and he indicated that social interaction was a key component in staving off the affliction. In Germany, multigenerational multi-unit dwellings are being built so the elderly can have social interaction with a wide range of neighbors.

CreatureCast - Footage From The Deep
from Casey Dunn on Vimeo was a gorgeous film of live siphonophores, diaphanous relatives of jellyfish.

The Chosen from Catherine Chalmers on Vimeo was my favorite short of the night. First of all, I have been a sucker for leaf-cutting ants since writing a term paper on Acromyrmex and Atta for my college "Bugs for Thugs" (just kidding, it wasn't a gut course) class. Secondarily, the film had a great vibe- a "what if Clark Ashton Smith wrote comedies instead of weird horror tales?" vibe. When the "reveal" in the film took place, I couldn't contain my laughter- I'm sure glad I wasn't drinking anything at the time.

All told, it was a fun night, and I'm glad that I trekked down to Brooklyn (as if I'd blow off the Imagine Science Film Festival). I'll be dragging my ass after this graveyard shift, to be sure, but ya gotta pay for your entertainment, even when it's free.


Laura said...

I watched all the films and my favourite was E. chromi. It really was quite funny!
The Chosen was stunningly beautiful-wasn't it? All the ants bringing beautiful leaves to their bronze high queen! :P I loved how they decorated her. Smart little buggers, aren't they?
And, I couldn't believe how well preserved the carrion beetles were! To think, they are millions of years old??? I need to find whatever water they were drinking when they died.

"Bugs For Thugs"? Hmmm... sounds like I can call on you the next time Mass needs a tooth out. ;D

Great post! I learned a lot. :)


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

just kidding, it wasn't a gut course)

Not like Rocks for Jocks?