SYDNEY, 21 August 2006: The winners of Scinema 2006, the 6th International Festival of Science Film, were announced on Sunday at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, celebrating a week-long showcase of the best science films.
The 45 films from around the world competed for 15 trophies and the winners were selected by a jury of scientists, journalists and film-makers.
“While our Festival celebrates science and the art of science film-making, the winning films all share a strong human element,” said Scinema director Cris Kennedy of Australia’s national science agency, the CSIRO. “It shows how science is making our quality of life better around the world, and how science is working to address the problems of our impact on the environment.”
“The films screening this year were finalists from hundreds of entries received from across the globe – from Uganda to Uraguay, and from Arnhem Land to Antarctica,” he added.
This year’s theme was sustainability, and films ranged from following two young doctors to a remote island community, to an investigation of the link between toxic pollutants in the air and the health of our planet.
“Successful filmmakers are able to capture the human and emotional side of their subject, and films like Richard Smith’s Catalyst episode ‘Planet of the Rings’ captures the excitement and wonder of working in space exploration and shares it with the audience,” he said.
The film festival began in 2000, only playing in Canberra at the Centre Cinema, where performances of ‘Sexy Skivvy Science’ featuring Dean and Rob from the 1970s and 1980s children’s television series, The Curiosity Show, would consistently sell-out.
This year Scinema screened in 89 venues around Australia over the past week to an audience in excess of 10,000, Kennedy said. “We’re also providing a showcase for Australian film-makers to have their work seen by the public, judged by their peers, and have the art behind science film-making celebrated and rewarded.”
“We were particularly excited about bringing National Science Week – and the fascination of science our films explore – to some of the more regional locations, from Bunbury in Western Australia and Port Lincoln in South Australia to a screening under the stars on the jetty at Cardwell in North Queensland,” he added.
The Scinema (pronounced to emphasise the science in cinema) displayed films narrated by actors Matt Damon and Ed Norton, and with visiting film-makers like Germany’s Joachim Pütz describing their craft. The films were showcased at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum for nine days in August, but it was also screened as a travelling program at over 80 venues as part of Australia’s National Science Week.
“We ran a major Festival in Sydney for the first time this year and our audiences were very warm and enthusiastic, ranging from families and film fans to more hard-core science geeks,” he said. “It is a testament to Australia’s documentary filmmakers that so many Australian films entered and were so successful this year – eight of our winners were from Australia. Australians have always loved film,” he said.
The jury consisted of Robyn Williams, Australia’s most respected science journalist and broadcaster; Dr Bryan Gaensler, former Young Australian of the Year and University of Sydney physics professor; Dr Cornelia Hentzsch, managing director of pharmaceutical company Mundipharma; Joachim Putz, German film-maker and special festival guest; Ian Cuming, award-winning producer and director of The Future Eaters, and Dr Jonica Newby, an author and former veterinarian who is currently a reporter and producer on the ABC TV science show, Catalyst. The jury was chaired by Wilson da Silva, editor of Cosmos magazine.
And the 2006 SCINEMA winners are:
Planet of the Rings
By Richard Smith, ‘Catalyst’, ABC TV
Prix du Jury
Crossing the Line
Producer Rod Freedman
Director Kaye Harrison
Strange Days on Planet Earth
Producer Johnathan Halperin
Director Drew Takahashi
Nerves of Steel
Allan Collins ACS and Warwick Thornton
For Five Seasons
Producer/Director Deborah Fryer
Best Short Film
A Stem Cell Story
Producer Kate Doherty
Director Cameron Duguid
Best Student Film
Director Samantha Rebillet
Best Narrative Film
Producer Paul Barkin
Director Su Rynard
Best Experimental Film
Producer Konrad Polthier
Director Beau Janzen
Best Science Television
Sex in the Bush
Producer Emma Ross
Series Producer Josie Matthiesson
Executive Producer Dione Gilmour
ABC TV Natural History Unit
Best Children’s Science Television
Executive Producer John Luscombe
Award for Scientific Merit
The Talking Star
Producer Lut Govwy
Director Jacquei Servaes
For VRT, Belgium
More information about SCINEMA, including how to enter your film for consideration in SCINEMA 2007.