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The 5th Annual
Symbiosis Competition

Themed Survival, this year's competition will again pair scientists and filmmakers who have never met to create short films in one week!
Apply now! Details here.
In four years of Symbiosis competitions, we have witnessed the power of concentrated exchanges between active scientists and diverse filmmakers. We structure this program with an eye towards facilitating this exchange and the emergence of new forms of science cinema. Symbiosis films have gone on to screen at International Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Film Festival, and beyond!
How does the competition work?
June 30: Applications close for the Symbiosis Competition.

July 15: 6 scientists and 6 filmmakers are chosen to compete in this year's competition.

Competitors will not be permitted to begin or plan their films until the first day of the competition, when each scientist will be paired with a filmmaker.

October 12: Competitors are paired during the Opening Night of the 11th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival. Each pair will be provided with a $2500 production stipend and let loose in NYC to create a film on the festival topic of SURVIVAL over the next week. We encourage experimental films that defy categorization.

October 15: Pairs will receive feedback and mentorship at a mid-competition event at the Bowery Poetry Club.

October 19: Competition films will premiere at the festival Closing Night. A jury of professional filmmakers, scientists and science communicators will select the winners, who will receive awards from the Tribeca Film Institute and Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation!
How does the competition work?
June 30: Applications close for the Symbiosis Competition.

July 15: 6 scientists and 6 filmmakers are chosen to compete in this year's competition.

Competitors will not be permitted to begin or plan their films until the first day of the competition, when each scientist will be paired with a filmmaker.

October 12: Competitors are paired during the Opening Night of the 11th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival. Each pair will be provided with a $2500 production stipend and let loose in NYC to create a film on the festival topic of SURVIVAL over the next week. We encourage experimental films that defy categorization.

October 15: Pairs will receive feedback and mentorship at a mid-competition event at the Bowery Poetry Club.

October 19: Competition films will premiere at the festival Closing Night. A jury of professional filmmakers, scientists and science communicators will select the winners, who will receive awards from the Tribeca Film Institute and Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation!
Theme: SURVIVAL
Crisis. Entropy. Extinction. Last year we celebrated the past ten years of the Imagine Science Film Festival's existence, but this year we take a hard look ahead at the high stakes for all life on an Earth facing climate change, species loss, nuclear proliferation, the imminent exhaustion of our energy resources. Existence itself is not assured.

But wherever we consider such direly high stakes, we can also aspire to a better world. New technologies constantly open new possibilities and sociopolitical change opens the way for new ideas to take hold. For every dystopia, a corresponding utopia may be within reach. It may be a struggle, but the record of all life is that of an eon-spanning fight to stay alive.

This year, we look for your speculative hopes and fears, your studies of tumultuous natural history and startling feats of adaptation, all your endings and new beginnings. Apoptosis versus immortal cell lines. Half-lives and radical life extension. Obsolete inventions inspiring crucial breakthroughs. Illness and regeneration. The deaths of stars and the necessary paths to SURVIVAL.
How to apply?

Please submit a resume including work samples (if a filmmaker) to symbiosis@imaginesciencefilms.org. Include a few paragraphs explaining how you could imagine working with the competition theme SURVIVAL.

Deadline: June 30
Participants announced: July 15

Please note: Competitors are required to attend Symbiosis events on the evenings of October 11, October 12, October 15 and October 19.
Of paramount importance is the level of equal collaboration between scientist and filmmaker - films will be judged on this basis.
A Symbiosis film's life does not end with the competitions. Instead, we ensure that these incredible collaborations continue to be seen by audiences all over the world. Through Imagine Science's always-growing infrastructure, these films have the chance to travel to other festivals and satellite events, and now appear on our Labocine video platform as streaming films and as profiles called Spotlights! Additionally, Symbiosis films have been submitted and screened at festivals around the world!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I do any creative work in advance of the competition?
Creating this film should be an equal collaboration between scientist and filmmaker. This means that all subject matter and strategy must be decided after meeting your partner on the first day of the competition, which is October 12.

All creative work must take place from October 12 to October 18.

Any work created in advance of the competition period will be prohibited. This includes Scriptwriting, Shooting, Costume & Set design, use of preexisting footage.
What kind of films are you expecting?
Startle us, surprise us, amaze us! We particularly love films that defy categorization: not just inventive documentary and gripping scientific fiction, but fictional documentaries, raw lab data aesthetics, thought-provoking experimental film, personal essay narratives, and innovative animation! We also provide a unique platform for sci-art collaboration: scientists and filmmakers working together, but also scientists making their films and artists conducting their own scientific experiments. It's all very open-ended.
Can you provide travel funds and equipment?
Pending availability, yes we have a travel fund as well as a collection of ISF equipment available to be borrowed during the competition.
I still have a question. Who can I ask?
Please send questions to Lauren at lkaye@imaginesciencefilms.org !
This project is supported by Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation initiative dedicated to engaging everyone with the process of science.
Science Sandbox is dedicated to inspiring a deeper interest in science, especially among those who don't think of themselves as science enthusiasts. We support and collaborate with programs that unlock scientific thinking in everyone. Science Sandbox is an initiative of the Simons Foundation.
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