Thursday, May 03, 2012

Cinema and Synthetic Biology: The Bio:Fiction Film Festival

The first Bio:Fiction film festival took place in May 2011 in Vienna, and since then has been touring the world. The festival was a celebration of synthetic biology, and includes short films, an art exhibition and science lectures and panels.

The film festival was part of the Cinema and Synthetic Biology (CISYNBIO) project.  The CISYNBIO advisory board is an international team of scientists, artists and scholars interested in the intersection of bioscience and the arts.

While the festival is more focused on science than sci-fi, many of the short-listed films have a definite science fictional feel to them. Some of the entries I found particularly  interesting:

  • All American Hero (now retitled Need a Hero) is a first-person "documentary" about an ordinary man turned into a superhero  (warning: possibly disturbing images) by artist and filmmaker Charlotte Jarvis.
  • Bruce is a slightly disturbing animation about the possible future of game play, by Tom Judd of the Royal College of Art in the UK.
  • Winged One by biologist, animator and composer Anna Lindemann starts with a lecture about the molecular mechanisms that guide the development of fly wings. That turns into an animated fantasy with lace proteins and yarn DNA.
  • Compound 74 by Christina Agapakis and Patrick Boyle is a fictional documentary set in a future where   recreational drugs can be created easily and cheaply in a petri dish.

You can watch all the 2011 short-listed videos and see the lectures and panel discussion on Bio:Fiction's Vimeo channel.

Also check out the CISYNBIO resources page to learn more about synthetic biology.

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