Science Goes to the Movies, from ‘Frankenweenie’ Science Fairs to Science on Screen Grants for Indie Theaters

Science Goes to the Movies, from 'Frankenweenie' Science Fairs to Science on Screen Grants for Indie Theaters

Theaters and distributors are figuring out innovative ways to make movies into events, from non-profit cinemas to the mighty Mouse House. Science is the lure for both the burgeoning Science on Screen program and Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie."

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Coolidge Corner Theatre are expanding their Science on Screen Program for non-profit theaters.  Twenty indie cinemas (including Los Angeles' Cinefamily) will now get a $7000 Science on Screen grant to develop Science on Screen programs.

It all started with the Coolidge Corner Theater's pairing of film screenings with science and technology speakers, which started in 2005. Their 2011 grants went to just eight theaters. Science on Screen will expand to an additional twenty theaters in 2013.

Past Science on Screen topics have included science writer Carl Zimmer talking about viruses at a screening of "12 Monkeys," discussions of the time loop that traps Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day," the neural basis of freestyle rap and "8 Mile," the amazing underwater lives of humpback whales and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and the physical feasibility of time travel in "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure."

Thanks to Disney, the Discovery Science Center and El Capitan Theatre are partnering to host the “Frankenweenie Science Fair: Sparking an Interest in Science" in conjunction with the release of Tim Burton's film on October 5 (check out our coverage of "The Art of Frankenweenie" exhibit at Comic-Con).

For details on the fair and how students can submit their own experiment, ‪à la‬ "Frankenweenie"'s Victor, see below and here.

In Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences. Participating students will conduct and submit their own inventive science experiment! This unique science fair will gather the best and brightest students to compete for three grand prizes.

The first 50 participating students will receive a ticket to see Frankenweenie at the historic El Capitan Theatre, and a pair of tickets to visit Discovery Science Center. The exciting first round of judging to determine the finalists will happen the week of September 10, 2012, and then finalists will be judged by VIP judges the week of September 27. Of all participating students, six finalists will be selected to have their projects on display at El Capitan Theatre from October 5 to November 1, 2012. In addition, the six finalists will each receive Disneyland tickets for them and three guests for reaching this distinguished level.

The Science Fair competition concludes at the El Capitan Theatre on October 5th when three Grand Prize winners will accept their awards at a special ceremony, on the El Capitan stage prior to the showing of Frankenweenie. Grand Prize winners will receive all prizes listed previously plus a behind-the-scenes tour of Walt Disney Studios.

Interested participants must be entering the 2012-2013 school year as a 5th – 12th grade student. All projects must present an experimentally based research design; illustrating scientific methodology or a demonstration/exhibition of a science or engineering concept based on themes from the movie Frankenweenie.

The recipients of this year's Science on Screen grants are listed below:

Athena Cinema, Athens, OH

BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Brooklyn, NY

Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Bryn Mawr, PA

California Film Institute, San Rafael, CA

Center for Contemporary Arts of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM

Cinefamily, Los Angeles, CA

Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington, NY

Civic Theatre of Allentown, Allentown, PA

Grand Cinema, Tacoma, WA

Maiden Alley Cinema, Paducah, KY

Media Arts Center San Diego, San Diego, CA

Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, MI

Nickelodeon, Columbia, SC

Provincetown Film Society, Provincetown, MA

Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT

SIFF Cinema, Seattle, WA

State Theatre, Traverse City, MI

State Theatre of Modesto, Modesto, CA

Tampa Theatre, Tampa, FL

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