Updated: Sep 14, 2020
People continue finding flexible and creative movie watching methods as Covid-Nineteen restrictions continue. For instance, Reno’s science film festival called Sci-on goes completely online next Monday rather than use its usual base at the National Automobile Museum.
As a longtime judge for the event, I always streamed entries ahead of time, then showed up in person as a panelist. This year, attendees will also stream the films in their homes, then hear from panelists and filmmakers via Zoom. Test runs went well for the event; I spent four hours one Friday watching through Zoom with other judges, and then talking with filmmakers in their homes at locations ranging from Reno to Canada, Wales, and Ireland.
Sci-on attendees will do the same at home on their personal computers, with the chance to ask questions, gain insights about the projects, and vote on their favorites. Picking a favorite proves challenging since quality remains strong, with filmmakers venturing to such places as Mongolia and Jordan. Topics range from health conditions to space exploration and robots. While most films take a serious approach, a few put tongue in cheek, like the well-made and funny live action short, Body Hackers. Technological complexity varies too and includes works shot on cell phones as well as computer generated images from N.A.S.A.
Supported by the Challenger Learning Center and U.N.R.’s Fleischmann Planetarium, the non-profit event encourages both education and enthusiasm for science. The goal of nurturing enthusiasm starts the show May Fourth with an evening devoted to science fiction projects about such fan-inducing films as the Star Wars series. This explains the start date, a Star Wars pun: May the Fourth (be with you).
The festival runs May fourth through ninth nightly at seven. That’s Monday through Saturday with a lineup that includes shorts in documentary, live-action, and animated formats. The Sci-on website has all the details, just ask for Reno science film festival on your browser.