For the second time, the Goethe-Institute in Alexandria in partnership with the Planetarium Science Center of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Academy for Scientific Research and Technology (ASRT) is hosting a new edition of the Science Film Festival between 29 November and 19 December. This year, the theme of “Material Science” was selected to create an understanding of how materials can be put together, how they can be used, and how they can be changed and used to do amazing things.
“The scientific film festival is an international event that takes place in 16 countries around the globe and it is organised by one country in each region,” said Yousra El-Mallah, the festival’s coordinator in Egypt. “This year, Abu Dhabi was responsible for coordinating the event in the MENA region. There was an open call for films to participate, then a number of films were shortlisted and only 14 scientific films were selected to be screened in Egypt. Unfortunately, there are no participating movies from Egypt,” she added.
The festival will screen an impressive number of films from different countries including Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Thailand, Indonesia and many others. “The festival was only restricted to Alexandria last year but we decided to spread the festival’s activities to other governorates to capture the attention of more people so as to generate interest in scientific movies and scientific issues. Starting from 13 December, we will start touring other governorates including Gharbeya, Cairo, Sohag and New Valley,” she noted.
According to Goethe’s press release, the programme includes various activities such as workshops on material science, science shows by the Planetarium Science Center, planetarium shows and many more. To maximise the geographical coverage of Alexandria governorate, the programme will run at the Goethe-Institut Alexandria, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and at several schools across Alexandria.
“For the schools, we classified the movies and the target audience according to four age sectors: from five to eight years, from nine to 11, and from 12 to 16, as well as young adults above 17. This classification suits students in primary, preparatory and secondary schools and introduce them to some simple scientific materials such as paper, sand and rubber that are suitable for their ages,” El-Mallah added.
The programmes includes workshops about healthy food, electronics, chemistry, the Hydraulic Switch, paper recycling and making rubber using simple ingredients as well as screenings about biomaterials, self-healing tarmac, the rubber check and many others.
Alexandria is expected to organise the festival in 2018—a huge endeavour that requires a great deal of preparation. “This year is a new experience and a new test for us because we are targeting people all over Egypt for the first time and we are keen to know people’s feedback about the shows by distributing evaluation sheets to our audience after the screenings to collect their opinions and analyse how to improve the performance for next year,” she explained.
The programme aims to invite more filmmakers to pay greater attention to scientific topics. “We have a lot of people who are interested in producing documentaries and scientific movies and I hope this even will inspire more people to engage in producing more visual materials to raise awareness about scientific issues,” El-Mallah concluded.