Monday June 24 at 12:00-15:00
How many times have you been working on a science story and thought “wow, this would make a wonderful film”?
Print and broadcast journalism are two worlds with many points of intersection, but they are usually governed by very different rules. Some journalists easily move from one world to the other, but the majority inhabits just one of them. This might be a pity, because producers and broadcasters are hungry for good story ideas, for powerful characters to appear on the screen, and for innovative scientific research to be seen by the public. Science journalists, for their part, frequently bump into precisely those kinds of items, and they know how to effectively incorporate them into a compelling narrative while granting accuracy and credible scientific background. Why not try and make those two worlds meet?
In this workshop you will hear from the perspective of journalists, filmmakers, and commissioning editors of science programs about the main ingredients needed to turn a good science story into a film, a documentary, or a science program, and how to develop your story, access the funds to produce it, and make a trailer to pitch your project.
The workshop will be open, but previous registration would be preferred.
Two thirds of the session will be devoted to lectures of speakers on the various aspects mentioned in summary (how to develop a story, how to access funds, how to make a trailer).
The remaining third will be devoted to a practical exercise: participants who wish to do so can try to pitch their idea for a documentary film on a science subject and get immediate feedback from the speakers on the validity/feasibility of the project. For practical reasons, participants wanting to pitch an idea need to specify in connection with their registration that they want to take part in the pitching exercise. If the number of people who want to do the pitching exercise is too high, a limited number of projects will be chosen on a first-come-first-served basis. The other participants can be “observers” in the session during the exercise.
Chiara Palmerini, Science Journalist, Italy
Valentine Kass, Program Director Informal Science Education program, National Science Foundation, US
Sue Ellen, McCann, Executive Producer Science and Environment at KQED
Pasi Toiviainen, Science Journalist and Filmmaker, Finland
Julianna Photopoulos, Researcher at BBC Natural History Unit, Science Writer & Filmmaker, UK
Valentine Kass has had an eclectic career in film and television, including being one of the first women Producer/Directors at KQED in San Francisco, the first Director of the Navy Pier IMAX Theater, and the Founding Director of the American Children’s Television Festival. During her tenure as Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry Director of Omnimax Production and Programs, she executive produced the IMAX film Antarctica, among other projects. For the past eleven years at the National Science Foundation (NSF), Valentine has served as Program Director in the Informal Science Education (ISE) program, where she manages the ISE media portfolio. Valentine also co-chaired the NSF working group for International Polar Year (IPY).
Numerous ISE supported programs have won prestigious awards and recognition such as the Peabody, Webby, Emmys, AAAS Science Journalism Award, the International Science Film Festival Grand Prize, Parent’s Choice Gold Medals as well as awards at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival and acceptance into Sundance.
Valentine has been an invited juror at the international Wildscreen Film Festival in Bristol, England, she has spoken at the Science Film Festival in Osaka, Japan, and has been a panelist at numerous conferences and festivals including RealScreen, KidScreen, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, the Large Format Cinema Association, the Giant Screen Theater (now Cinema) Association, the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, and SilverDocs. Valentine is currently the acting Deputy Division Director for the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings in NSF’s Education and Human Resource Directorate.
Sue Ellen McCann
Sue Ellen McCann is the Executive Producer in charge of Science and Environment at KQED, the public broadcasting station in San Francisco. The KQED team is among the largest science and environment journalism and education units in California producing news coverage for radio, web and social media, TV broadcast and web video, articles and blogs, multi-touch eBooks and on-line courses, and professional development and media training for educators and community partners. The team has recently been honoured with awards from AAAS, the Society of Environmental Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Northern California Emmy among others.
Sue Ellen specializes in multi-platform productions and has a long and successful history working on local and national media projects and informal science education initiatives. She is a Co-PI for the Center for the Advancement of Informal Science Education (CAISE), and a core member of the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS). Sue Ellen currently serves as the NSF PI for QUEST, a six-station public media science and environment reporting and education collaborative.
Pasi Toiviainen (b. 1967) is a Finnish science editor working in the science department at YLE (Finnish Broadcasting Company). In 2010 Toiviainen directed a two-part television documentary called Green City (YLE & ARTE). The film prompted the Finnish Association of Architects to give Toivanen their sustainable development award 2011 for the advancement of ecological building and climate awareness in Finland. In 2007 Toiviainen wrote an award-winning nonfiction book on climate change and in 2004 he directed the internationally renowned documentary film The Venus Theory. From 1998 to 2002 he hosted a weekly programme Environment News on YLE TV2. Toiviainen is an architect by education and before turning to journalism he worked for several years on eco-architecture.
Julianna Photopoulos is a science writer and filmmaker with considerable experience working in multimedia and television production. She holds a biology degree with masters in both Developmental Genetics and Science Communication. Currently she is a researcher at the BBC Natural History Unit and has worked on various BBC productions, including Wild Arabia, Monsoon (in production), Planet Earth Live, and Springwatch. She has produced and presented award-winning radio programmes, written and translated articles for magazines and websites, and has been involved in numerous film productions for the Institute of Physics, the National STEM Centre, The Royal Institution of Great Britain, the European Parliament, and the Green Man Festival. In 2011, she ran the UK national science film competition SciCast for schools and young people. In her spare time she likes to participate in direct science communication projects and helps out at science festivals and events organised by science centres and other science communication organisations.