Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

Are you an amateur filmmaker? Are you a scientist, or do you enjoy filming scientists? If so, then the Imagine Science Film Festival 2009 is looking for you! ISFF 2009 seeks narrative films with a scientific or technological theme and story line, or films that have a scientist, engineeer or mathematician as a leading character. All submitted films are competing for the right to be publicly screened between in NYC between August 1st and November 30th, 2009. All screened films will also be competing for a $2,500 Scientific Merit Award and a $2,500 People’s Choice Award.

I am so excited about this that I am tempted to try my hand at filmmaking.

Below the fold is a wonderful example of what they are seeking: a film entitled A Fruit Fly in New York.

A Fruit Fly In New York from Imagine Science Films.

2007, 12 mins. (NYFA)
Director/Writer/Editor: Alexis Gambis
Composer: Daniel Wohl
Voices: Alexis Gambis

Yeasts, worms, fruit flies … to most people, these beastly animals roam around rotten fruit in the kitchen or are used to bake pound cake for the holidays. For scientists however, these creatures are powerful model organisms that have been the pioneers in advancing the field of genetics. In the last 100 years, they have led to incredible scientific breakthroughs in understanding human development, behavior and neurobiology.

Alexis has been studying for about 2 years in a fruit fly genetics lab in New York City and decides to embark on a fruit fly adventure around New York City. Armed with a vial of fruit flies, Alexis asks both young scientists and by-passers in a downtown farmer’s market about what a fruit fly reminds them of. Through this quest, the fruit fly symbolizes the gap between the perception of science inside and outside of the laboratory. The air travel of the fly from the lab into the street evokes the need to bridge the gap and communicate science to the public.

A Fruit Fly in New York is a 12-minute flight over New York City, the laboratory and the history of fruit fly research. Beyond the informational content, the film also explores the personal rapport that a scientist may have with his model organism as a painter may have with his canvas. Through the microscope lens, the fruit fly appears human-like — a monstrously beautiful animal that has sacrificed itself in the pursuit of science.


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    February 23, 2009

    Don’t tell Sarah Palin about that film!

  2. #2 Jeff Knapp
    February 23, 2009

    If you are serious about this, I would be very happy to provide any graphics or animations, editing, etc. for your project. This is, after all, my area of expertise. Let me know.

  3. #3 Alexis Gambis
    February 23, 2009

    I want to thank you for putting up this post about the film festival. My name is Alexis Gambis and I am the artistic director & founder of Imagine Science Films. I encourage you all here at ScienceBlogs to visit the website, submit films and volunteer if you can. Jeff we would love your expertise. Email me at and we can discuss. I need somebody to help me make an animation for the festival opening trailer, etc.

  4. #4 Jeff Knapp
    February 25, 2009

    Alexis, you’ve got mail.

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