30 Films from the Science New Wave
Science fiction, used well, is a universal tool of empowerment, an exceptional means of dissecting, analyzing, and reimagining one’s reality and reclaiming one’s narrative. While the same tired storylines may be recycled with ever-increasing budgets by certain louder elements of modern cinema, historically suppressed voices — with a little imagination and a story worth telling — often have much more to say. In this issue, films made by and about indigenous populations around the world mix history and myth, tradition and technology, cultural identity and the changing modern world.
From Rio de Janeiro’s beaches to the Amazon wildlife crossing though the urban jungle of Sao Paolo, Campo Experimental explores the state of science and art in Brazil as the World Cup takes over the country. Soccer becomes not only an obsession but also a distraction, a fear, a hope and the platform to discuss emerging technologies, advances in body and mind communication, the preservation of culture and the future of our planet. Meanwhile, Brazilians poets and artists provide the connective tissue to this personal narrative told through Brazilian voices. Meanwhile, the cacophony of fans, music and FIFA beats loudly in the background.
Young Indian girl Naiá falls in love with the moon after listening to the story on how the stars in the sky came to be. Based on an indigenous legend from the Amazon Rainforest.
An office is possessed by a divine force that has come to prophesy the rise of a new golden civilization in Los Andes. LOS ANDES is a stop-motion animation film in which a flowing mass of waste, paper and electric artifacts moves around a room, being constantly transformed into the colossal parts of a giant body.
Anishinaabe stories of the Moon People are retold through an experimental steampunk animation by Irish, Anishinaabe, and Métis Elizabeth Aileen LaPensée with music by Cree cellist Cris Derksen. Named in honor of Basil Johnston’s work. Curated in the Museum of Contemporary Native Art’s Turtle Island Rising: Past and Futures Program.
Winning entry of the Lockheed Martin / NM Film Foundation filmmaker grant. A science-fiction short film about the first human born on Mars, told from the perspective of a Navajo family living in Gallup, New Mexico.
After watching Back to the Future 2, an imaginative young girl and her stuffed teddy bear try to invent a real, working Hoverboard.
Centuries into the future, when the government has imposed restrictions, making it illegal for spiritual leaders to practice their beliefs. The ‘world powers’ mandate an inoculation called ISE (Imagination Suppression Elixir), which require monthly shots to ensure the loss of history via this psycho-pharmaceutical agent. A young woman, Promise, receives the wrong shot from her doctor, leading to a techno-biological spirit growth that begins to form on her arm. She soon learns of her foretold responsibilities and the prophetic role she holds for the continuation of culture, individuality, and spiritualism. After she meets Adita, the last medicine man alive on the planet, who is currently on death-row because of his conflicts with the restrictions of society.
Navajo Astronaut Tazbah Redhouse is a pilot on the first spaceship sent to colonize Mars. But a mysterious dream the night before her departure indicates there may be more to her mission than she understands.
A short film set in a dystopian future where Natives undergo gruesome surgery to fit into the dominant white culture.
Featuring stunning footage from seven winters in the Arctic, People of a Feather takes you through time into the world of the Inuit on the Belcher Islands in Canada’s Hudson Bay. Connecting past, present and future is a unique relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters. Traditional life is juxtaposed with modern challenges as both Inuit and eiders confront changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydroelectric dams powering New York and eastern North America. Inspired by Inuit ingenuity and the technology of a simple feather, the film is a call to action to implement energy solutions that work with nature.
Over a day, Giulia Grossmann follows the Huichols, one of Mexico’s most ancient Indian ethnic groups, in search of the peyote they use to reconnect with divinity. In the night, the bodies unwind around the fire. Under the effect of this hallucinogenic drug, the celebrants decide which sacrifice will take place at dawn. The pilgrimage can then resume.
In the city of Merida, Mexico, a group of young urban Maya operate mysterious technological instruments to carry out a kind of archaeological survey of a ruined site. The film prowls the outer limits of science fiction and documentary to deconstruct the imaginary around Mayan culture and identity today.
A short documentary about the forging of a Javanese Gamelan gong, highlighting the rhythmic nature of the methods employed by traditional gamelan makers, including the firing, moulding and tuning of a new bronze instrument.
At the Gaomeigu Observatory in China, the Naxi people scan the sky, convinced they are the descendants of immortal beings living there, abandoned on earth to watch them. Between astronomy and legends, Marko Grba Singh (Pale, VdR 2013, At Least We’ve Met, VdR 2012) seems to compose a mysterious and polysemous tableau. From folk tales heroes such as William Tell, Prince Marko or Sanduo for the Naxi, passing by a miraculous catch, Gods besotted with each other, or the absence of walls built around a city because of the ambiguity of Chinese characters, Stars of Gaomeigudresses the bodies and contemporary images of mythological tales. Beyond the narrative fertility of this device, through the careful presence of the filmmaker throughout the film, we see the emergence of his perspective of a country that probably constantly eludes him and on which he can project only his own images, with humour and sensual audacity.
Play of abstract forms, patterns, rhythms and sounds. “Quimtai” is an abstract Animation based upon pre-colombian patterns of the now extinct Tairona and Quimbaya indigenous cultures of Colombia and is also inspired by the german absolute cinema.
Featuring speakers of Chinuk Wawa, a Native American language from the Pacific Northwest, Wawa begins slowly, patterning various forms of documentary and ethnography. Quickly, the patterns tangle and become confused and commingled, while translating and transmuting ideas of cultural identity, language, and history.
A young male oil worker, an Indigenous female, and a Dane-zaa drummer intersect in the historic oil-rush town of Fort St. John as they navigate the cyclical forces of industry, resource extraction and colonization that have shaped Canada for a century and a half.
Indigo is a stop motion animation story of confined woman who is liberated by Grandmother Spider while their opaque memories are projected in the background, in an effort to restore her spirit as their life nears the end.
“The Lodge” is a Stop-Frame Animated Fairy Tale set in the Canadian wild. War Bride, Pearl Simpson born in the slums of England yearns to rise up from the Animals that co-inhabit her new world to reign as their Queen. However the Manitous has something else in mind.
Elle Marja, 14, is a reindeer-breeding Sámi girl. Exposed to the racism of the 1930’s and race biology examinations at her boarding school, she starts dreaming of another life. To achieve this other life, she has to become someone else and break all ties with her family and culture.
The year is 2121. Brilliant billboards, seamless and seemingly endless, light up the flyway. A young man, sporting a black jetsuit and a dreadhawk, zooms through the air, propelled by a fusion-powered jet pack.
The first episode introduces us to Hunter in his environment. Tired of his life as a hired gun, Hunter wants to do something different. He realizes that he can use his edutainment system –his TimeTraveller™ — to find guidance to his own path. Thus begins his journey.
In the year 2961, the time is after humanity and nature has recovered the land. A hunter named Cygnus is called to protect his people. He travels across a desert valley to protect his tribe against a band of Heretics. Cygnus must find a way for his tribe to survive.
An ethereal portrait of the landowners, state officials, and oil workers at the center of the most prolific oil boom on the planet for the past six years. With a new focus on the relationship of the indigenous peoples of North Dakota to their surging fossil wealth, Deep Time casts the ongoing boom in the context of paleo-cycles, climate change, and the dark ecology of the future.
A poetic and contemplative film about an Inuk man hunting for northern lights with his camera.
Calvin is a young boy who has lost his father, his dream is to find him. In order to do so he builds a makeshift space rocket that he hopes to use and find his father against his mother’s advice.
Go Go Giwas is a science educational 3D animation series based in the natural life and culture of Taiwanese aboriginal people. The story depicts the struggles and experiences of the main character Giwas, a girl of the Atayal tribe, as she works toward her dream of becoming the leader of the tribe. The subject matter and concepts presented are based on elementary and middle school natural science curriculum, presented through story lines of natural world life experiences of aboriginal people, in order to inspire interest in science among the audience.
In a summer of intention and wandering, an Unangam Tunuu elder reflects on landscape and fauna, language students play and teach invented games, and a portrait takes shape of a place through the dim and distant glimpse of a visitor on an island in the center of the Bering Sea.
Faka’anaua is surrounded by family as they prepare for a funeral that turns out to be traditional only in appearance. To her dismay, Faka’anaua witnesses light-fingered relatives trying to steal a ring off the finger of the corpse, but when she tries to tell her Grandmother she is silenced and given chores to do. To prevent the loss of the jewellery, Faka’anaua takes matters into her own hands.
With Sarah Podemski. In the near future, the environment has been destroyed and society suffocates under a brutal military occupation. A lone Cree wanderer searches an urban war zone to find the ancient and dangerous Weetigo to help in the fight against the occupiers.
The universe of small souls who share our lives.
Labocine is an Imagine Science Films initiative to extend our film programming to a broader and more diverse audience. We have over 1,500 film titles from 200 countries for all ages brought to you by artists, scientists, filmmakers and educators.
By experimenting with cinematic form and style, we are committed to provoking scientific intrigue and understanding, always ensuring compelling and well-founded narratives. Periodically, we release Spotlights online. On the first Tuesday of every month, enjoy our issue selections which complement newsworthy science by proposing a surgically curated online festival. From documentary to fiction to lab footage, we hope to always challenge the way you understand, interpret and appreciate scientific ideas and perspectives.
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