March 19, 2019

National Week of Science on Screen starts tomorrow

27 film organizations from Alaska to Massachusetts feature science speakers at movie screenings between March 20 and 26.

Amherst, MA • Ann Arbor, MI • Athens, GA • Athens, OH • Austin, TX • Brookline, MA • Bellingham, WA • Birmingham, AL •Eureka, CA • Iowa City, IA • Ithaca, NY • Juneau, AK • Maitland, FL • Milwaukee, WI • Nashville, TN • New Orleans, LA • Astoria, NY • Omaha, NE • Philadelphia, PA • Phoenixville, PA • Richmond, VA • Salina, KS • Salt Lake City, UT • St. Helena, CA • Silver Spring, MD • Tacoma, WA • Tucson, AZ

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Coolidge Corner Theatre announce the 2019 National Week of Science on Screen, coming to Science on Screen® grantee theaters across the nation from Wednesday, March 20, through Tuesday, March 26, 2019. Over the week, participating organizations will use one of the nation’s favorite pastimes—going to the movies—to promote public understanding of science.

Twenty-seven Science on Screen grantees in 22 states, all art-house cinemas or museums with film programs, have signed onto the first-time week-long initiative. Each will host at least one event pairing a scientific lecture with a screening of a feature or documentary film.

The list of National Week events can be seen at

The National Week of Science on Screen—formerly the National Evening of Science on Screen®, which launched in 2015—is an annual celebration of the nationwide Science on Screen grant initiative.

"What excites us most about the expansion of the annual Science on Screen celebration from one day to a full week is the opportunity it gives us to schedule events that will appeal to everyone in our community," said Cathy Buck, proprietor of the Cameo Cinema, of St. Helena, Calif.

The Cameo, a three-time Science on Screen grantee, which is planning four days of lectures, film screenings, and interactive science demonstrations during the National Week, in collaboration with the Chabot Space & Science Center and the Charles M. Shultz Museum. "Between March 20 and 26, Friends of the Cameo will offer more than the traditional excellent film and speaker by adding additional films, speakers, exhibits, and hands-on workshops that will reach people of all ages and backgrounds—from preschoolers and parents whose first language is Spanish to retired PhDs in physics.”

The Cameo’s programming focuses on space and astrophysics. Other theaters are tackling topics from DNA testing and genetic engineering to the nature of consciousness and killer plants. Several theaters are hosting panels about the continuing issue of gender inequality in science. (See the schedule of National Week events below for more information about topics and speakers.)

Science on Screen grantee theaters run three or more Science on Screen events per year, creatively pairing screenings of classic, cult, science fiction, and documentary films with presentations by notable experts from the world of science and technology. Each film serves as a jumping-off point for the speaker to introduce current research or technological advances in a way that engages general audiences.

The grant is funded by the Sloan Foundation’s Program for Public Understanding of Science, Technology & Economics and administered by the Coolidge Corner Theatre, the celebrated Massachusetts art-house cinema that launched the Science on Screen format in 2005.

Since launching the national Science on Screen grant in 2011, the Sloan Foundation and the Coolidge have awarded a total of 201 Science on Screen grants to 82 independent theaters nationwide, including 36 this year. (Participation in the National Week is voluntary for each year’s grantees.)

"We're delighted to partner with our great friends at the Coolidge in celebrating a National Science on Screen week in 22 states across America,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "While recent Sloan awarded films such as Hidden Figures and Bombshell: They Hedy Lamarr Story bring us amazing tales of true scientific achievement, Science on Screen shows that more and more mainstream films—from this year’s Oscar-winning First Man about Neil Armstrong to next year’s highly anticipated Radioactive about Marie Curie—can inspire an entertaining dialogue about the role of science and technology in society.”

According to the Motion Picture Association of America’s most recent Theatrical and Home Entertainment Market Environment Report, more than three-quarters of the population of the U.S. and Canada over the age of 2—some 263 million people—attended a movie in 2017, purchasing an average of 4.7 tickets over the course of the year. The National Week of Science on Screen aims to spark a love of science, technology, and engineering in America’s movie-goers by giving them a taste of scientific discovery along with their popcorn.

The 27 cinemas participating in the
2019 National Week of Science on Screen are:

• AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, Silver Spring, Md.

• Amherst Cinema, Amherst, Mass.

• Athena Cinema, Athens, Ohio

• Athens Ciné, Athens, Ga.

• Austin Film Society, Austin, Texas

• Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, Tenn.

• Byrd Theatre, Richmond, Va.

• Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.

• Cinemapolis, Ithaca, N.Y.

• Colonial Theatre, Phoenixville, Pa.

• Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, Mass.

• Enzian Theater, Maitland, Fla.

• Eureka Theater, Eureka, Calif.

• FilmScene, Iowa City, Iowa

• Film Streams, Inc., Omaha, Neb.

• The Grand Cinema, Tacoma, Wash.

• JUMP Society, Juneau Public Libraries, and Gold Town Theater, Juneau, Alaska

• The Loft Cinema, Tucson, Ariz.

• McWane Science Center, Birmingham, Ala.

• Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, Mich.

• Milwaukee Film, Milwaukee, Wis.

• Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, N.Y.

• Philadelphia Film Society, Philadelphia, Pa.

• Pickford Film Center, Bellingham, Wash.

• Salina Art Center, Salina, Kan.

• Shotgun Cinema, New Orleans, La. (on March 28)

• Utah Film Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

For more information about the Science on Screen grant initiative, visit the Science on Screen website at and the 2018−19 grant award announcement at

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, is a nonprofit philanthropy that makes grants for original research and education in science, technology, and economic performance. Sloan's program in Public Understanding of Science, Technology & Economics, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.

Sloan's Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past two decades, Sloan has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country—including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC—and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the best Student Grand Jury Prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, SFFILM, the Black List, the Athena Film Festival, and Film Independent's Producing Lab and Fast Track program and has given early recognition to stand-out films such as The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, First Man, Searching, The Martian, and Hidden Figures. The Sloan pipeline has also helped develop such film projects as To Dust, The Sound of Silence, The Catcher Was a Spy, The Imitation Game, The House of Tomorrow, The Man Who Knew Infinity, Operator, and Experimenter. The Foundation has supported theatrical documentaries such as The Bit Player, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Particle Fever, and Jacques Perrin's Oceans.

The Foundation has an active theater program and commissions about twenty science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the National Theatre in London, as well as supporting select productions across the country and abroad. Recent grants have supported Charly Evon Simpson’s Behind the Sheet, Lucy Kirkwood's Mosquitoes, Chiara Atik's BUMP, Nick Payne's Constellations, Lucas Hnath's Isaac's Eye, and Anna Ziegler's Photograph 51. The Foundation's book program includes early support for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, the best-selling book that became the highest grossing Oscar-nominated film of 2017 and continues to have a wide-ranging cultural impact.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, visit

About the Coolidge Corner Theatre

The Coolidge Corner Theatre is located in Brookline, Massachusetts and is one of the nation’s most prominent independently operated movie theatres, run by the nonprofit Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation. A beloved movie house, the Coolidge has been engaging audiences with the best in cinematic entertainment since 1933. In addition to premiere theatrical engagements of independent film and art house releases, the Coolidge presents numerous special programs including: Science on Screen®, high-definition live broadcasts from London’s National Theatre and world renowned opera and ballet companies, Big Screen Classics, midnight screenings, The Sounds of Silents®, and weekend kids’ programs. The Coolidge has won numerous awards and honors for its creative programming.

For more information, visit


For a continually updated list of National Week of Science on Screen events, including dates and times, see visit


5 p.m.
Science Fair screening at Cameo Cinema
Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.

5:30 p.m.
Fabric of the mind, fabrics of space
Athens Ciné, Athens, Ga
Film: First Man
Program: This "resilience"-themed event compares mental toughness to the flexible strength of space suit fabrics. Launching with a reception and fashion show of space suits, period pieces from the 1960s, and costumes created by local organizations, the evening features psychologist Keith Campbell on the mental resilience required to be first in any field, using Neil Armstrong as an example.

6:30 p.m.

Health, disease, your genes…and why doctors would want to cut them

Milwaukee Film, Milwaukee, Wis.

Film: Gattaca

Program: CRISPR genomic editing technology has given scientists the power to permanently alter a cell's DNA—a power that might one day be used to treat genetic diseases. At this event, pediatric genetic disorder expert James Verbsky provides a brief background on genetics, explains how genetic variants may or may not cause disease, and introduces CRISPR technology and the ethical issues related to its use.

7 p.m.

Cause and effect in mass incarceration

Colonial Theatre, Phoenixville, Pa.

Film: The Stanford Prison Experiment

Program: Criminologists Andrew Owen and Vivian Smith discuss the controversy surrounding the Zimbardo prison enactment experiment, the implication that built environments contribute to the formation of oppressive attitudes and behaviors, and the meteoric rise of mass incarceration that has directly resulted from the ‘War on Drugs.’

7 p.m.

(Where are the) Women in technology

Film Streams, Inc., Omaha, Neb.

Film: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Program: Margertha McLean Artis, owner and executive director of Smart Start Learning Center, moderates a discussion on women in technology. Presented in collaboration with Mystery Code Society, which champions gender equity in tech through "HTMelle" training for women, femmes, and non-men of all ages.

7 p.m.

One of a kind: The genetics, normalcy, and compassion of Far From the Tree

FilmScene, Iowa City, Iowa

Film: Far From the Tree

Program: Producer Jamila Ephron joins neurological development expert Ece Demir-Lira for a conversation about the documentary Far From The Tree, diving deeper into the film's themes of families raising "abnormal" children: from compassion to nature vs. nurture, from tragedies to triumphs.

7 p.m.

Killer plants

Cinemapolis, Ithaca, N.Y.

Film: Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

Program: Scientists from the Boyce Thompson Institute for plant science introduce Earth's killer plants, covering the evolution of toxicity and even predatory behavior in a variety of flora.

7 p.m.

Cloning: The next tech revolution

Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Film: Genesis 2.0

Program: Featuring David Burke, Interim Chair and Professor of Human Genetics, University of Michigan Medical School

7:15 p.m.

Of blight and black holes

Byrd Theatre, Richmond, Va.

Film: Insterstellar

Program: Climate scientist Jason Hoffman and astronomer Justin Bartel discuss the real-life likelihood of a world-wide crop blight like the one that forces Earth’s residents into space in the film.

7:30 p.m.

The science of Jurassic Park

Pickford Film Center, Bellingham, Wash.

Film: Jurassic Park

Program: How do we know what dinosaurs were like? Are the dinosaurs depicted in Jurassic Park accurate? Geologist Thor Hansen explores the kinds of evidence paleontologists use to reconstruct how dinosaurs lived and just what Jurassic Park gets right and wrong about them.

7:30 p.m.

Eternal sunshine…with a chance of showers

The Loft Cinema, Tucson, Ariz.

Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Program: The memory-erasing technique used in the film by Lacuna Inc.—isolating specific memory locations by brain imaging and then zapping them away—is cool cinema but unrealistic science. Anesthesiologist and consciousness researcher Stuart Hameroff discusses scientific prospects for real memory manipulation, as well as our current understanding of consciousness, self, and our place in the universe.

8 p.m.

The history and future of manned space flight

Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, Tenn.

Film: First Man

Program: NASA aerospace engineer Tracie Prater leads a conversation on the history, challenges, and benefits of manned spaceflight with former astronaut and professor of medicine Drew Gaffney, an expert in the impacts of weightlessness on the body.

THURSDAY, March 21

7 p.m.

Afrofuturism: Reimagining space and time

Philadelphia Film Society, Philadelphia, Pa.

Film: Space is the Place

Program: Author Rasheedah Phillips, founder of The Afrofuturist Affair, discusses the foundations and future of Afrofuturism, a philosophy that challenges traditional notions of space, time, and technology to see alternative pasts and futures for the African Diaspora. The feature will be preceded by the short RECURRENCE PLOT: THE FAMILY CIRCLE (2018), adapted from a short story by Phillips.

7 p.m.

Traditional ecological knowledge

JUMP Society, Juneau Public Libraries, and Gold Town Theater, Juneau, Alaska

Film: Embrace of the Serpent

Program: Artist, storyteller, and traditional foods specialist Vivian Yéilk’ Mork talks about traditional ecological knowledge, focusing on traditional healing plants and the colonization of "harvesting."

7 p.m.

Librarianship in the digital age

Eureka Theater, Eureka, Calif.

Film: Obselidia

Program: A panel of librarians from local libraries, including the Humboldt County Library, discuss information and librarianship in the digital age.


The remarkably flexible human brain

McWane Science Center, Birmingham, Ala.

Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Program: To kick-off the celebration of Brain Awareness Week, an annual partnership between McWane Science Center and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, neurobiologist Kristina Visscher explores the complexity of the human brain and the of our memory.


12:00 pm to 4:30 pm

Interactive science with Snoopy

Charles M. Shultz Museum, in collaboration with Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.

Program: Four months before the first humans landed on the Moon in 1969, a beagle beat them to it…in the daily "Peanuts" comic strips. Snoopy and the Peanuts gang became NASA’s safety mascot; a partnership that has lasted 50 years. Now NASA has a new mission for Snoopy: to help promote NASA's future deep space exploration missions and its on-going efforts to engage students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) activities. At this event, families will enjoy fun, nature-related interactive exhibits created by the education staff at the “Peanuts Museum” in Santa Rosa.

12 p.m.

Next stop Mars!

Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.

Film: Journey to Space

Program: The film takes audiences on a behind-the-scenes tour of the international effort to send astronauts to Mars within the next 20 years, culminating in a virtual voyage to the Red Planet.

7 p.m.

Houston, we have a future

Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.

Film: First Man

Program: NASA shuttle mission controller Jay Trimble and physicist Brandon Brown, author of the upcoming book The Apollo Chronicles, discuss the life of the astronaut Neil Armstrong and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon.

SUNDAY, March 24

11:00 am to 5:00 pm

Interactive space-themed science projects

Chabot Space & Science Center, in collaboration with Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.,

Program: Walk-in interactive science workshops with fun and amazing projects that showcase the wonders of science, including Build Your Own Mars Rover, Cosmic Ray Planetary Theater, and Astronaut Training.

12:00 pm to 12:45

Fire and Ice

Chabot Space & Science Center, in collaboration with Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.

Program: Some like it hot! Dr. Scorch and guest presenters demonstrate the wonders of chemistry through a series of engaging chemical reactions, including chemical salts flame testing, magnesium burning, alcohol combustion, and more.

1 p.m.

Next stop Mars!

Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.

Film: Journey to Space

Program: The film takes audiences on a behind-the-scenes tour of the international effort to send astronauts to Mars within the next 20 years, culminating in a virtual voyage to the Red Planet.

2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Engineering the body

Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, N.Y.

Film: The Best Years of Our Lives

Program: Historian David Serlin and assistive technology expert Anita Perr discuss prosthetics engineering throughout history and the power and limitations of prosthetically repaired and enhanced bodies.

7:30 p.m.

Interstellar at AFI Silver Theatre

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, Silver Spring, Md.


Austin Film Society, Austin, Texas

MONDAY, March 25

5:30 p.m.

Using computers to fight crime

Salina Art Center, Salina, Kan.

Film: Searching

Program: Sergeant Jeffrey Swanson of the Kansas Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force discusses how computer forensics are being used to investigate crime, and what we can all do to stay safer.

6:45 p.m.

Flexible identities and social (media) selves

The Grand Cinema, Tacoma, Wash.

Film: Searching

Program: Media Studies Professor Alexandra Nutter discusses the brands and identities we create for ourselves online.

7 p.m.

What DNA tells us about who we are

Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, Mass.

Film: Flirting with Disaster

Program: Award-winning New York Times columnist and science author Carl Zimmer (She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Power, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity) discusses the explosion of genetic testing and what it reveals about our ancestry.

7 p.m.

Inventing Tomorrow at AFI Silver Theatre

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, Silver Spring, Md.

9 p.m.

Shark encounters

Enzian Theater, Maitland, Fla.

Film: Deep Blue Sea

Program: A marine specialist discusses shark behavior and the feasibility of genetic modification in marine life.

TUESDAY, March 26

7 p.m.

Science-ing the $%#& out of food cultivation

Utah Film Center, Salt Lake City, Utah

Film: The Martian

Program: Is Mark Watney’s potato farming on Mars realistic? Plant biologist Sylvia Torti Dean discusses whether it’s possible to grow food in an environment with limited resources essential to farming and how Earth’s changing climate might necessitate innovation in food cultivation.

7 p.m.

Beauty and brains: Women in science

Amherst Cinema, Amherst, Mass.

Film: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Program: Is it true that a woman is taken less seriously as a scientist if she’s beautiful? Who do you picture when you think of a scientist? Why is it that we often picture a guy with crazy hair? What are the current barriers for women in science? Mount Holyoke College Physics Department Chair Katherine Aidala leads a discussion about perceptions and realities of women in science.

7 p.m.

Now you see her, now you don’t

Athena Cinema, Athens, Ohio

Film: The Lady Vanishes

Program: Neuropsychologist Julie Suhr discusses the neuroscience behind the unconsciousness, memory impairment, and memory distortion in Hitchcock’s mesmerizing thriller.

7:30 p.m.

Illuminating dark matter

Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, Calif.

Film: Chasing Einstein

Program: At this world-premiere screening of CHASING EINSTEIN, director Steve Brown and dark matter researcher Robert McGehee discuss Robert's work reinterpreting direct detection experimental data to probe what dark matter can and cannot be.