“May the fourth be with you” sounds like a great movie line but listen carefully: May the fourth as in the date next Wednesday when Reno’s science film festival provides the chance to see two Oscar related projects on the big screen. Called “Sci-on,” the festival promotes science related films, whether documentary, drama, or fantasy. Highlights include:
*Luca, an Oscar-nominated animated feature from last year inserts important, adult issues into a fantasy plot, in this case, one with sea creatures who take human form while on land. Like many Disney-Pixar collaborations, the animated feature addresses important and adult issues, in this case with a story of friendship and overcoming prejudice. Also typical for Disney-Pixar works, the project looks absolutely gorgeous, a trait enhanced by size. That makes it worthwhile to take advantage of any chance to see it on a big screen.
*My Octopus Teacher, the Oscar winning documentary from 2020, finds friendship in an unusual setting. Perhaps like me you already watched My Octopus Teacher on Netflix, but once again, fabulous camerawork justifies a bigger screen than any home t.v. The Oscar winning documentary for 2020, My Octopus Teacher recounts the interaction between narrator Craig Foster and the sea creature he discovered while swimming off the coast of his South Africa home. His discovery reveals an unexpected world. Foster learned how to free dive and stay under water for six minutes, and his filming partner managed to run the camera for a similar amount of time. This results in breathtaking cinematography.
Script wise, the film overcomes my issue with nature documentaries, my personal inability to avoid getting too attached to main characters. Foster’s narration and explanations about the life cycle of octopuses makes his project much more bearable to an animal wimp like me. Foster’s approach avoids sentimentality and enhances both understanding and appreciation.
Along with the two outstanding features, Sci-On screens many works by up and coming filmmakers in categories that include documentary and live-action shorts. For specifics, look at the schedule on the festival webpage, UNR’s Fleischmann Planetarium hosts all the screenings.