LabCut: a science film project


This June, scientists and filmmakers will come together for LabCut, a new film workshop based in Warwick. Cansu Kuey, co-founder of the collaborative experience tells us more.

I have been captivated with the alternate worlds that films can create as long as I have known myself. During high school, I considered myself an amateur filmmaker, but soon had to concentrate on my scientific studies and hit pause on my film making.

After I finished my masters in 2014, I met the film director and scientist Alexis Gambis, on the tour for his first feature film ‘The Fly Room’. This opened my eyes to the possibility of combining my two passions, science and film, and how film is a great way to tell the human stories, struggles and successes behind the scientific discoveries we may be familiar with.

I was living in Istanbul, Turkey at the time and, although there was interest, it wasn’t possible to get funding for the workshop I had in mind. I kept my dream to myself for a while until I moved to the UK and started doing a PhD in Synthetic Biology in Warwick. There I met fellow co-founders Charlotte Gruender and Patrick Capel, who were also science communication enthusiasts.

Charlotte has worked at Science Gallery in London, where she helped with exhibitions, using art to open discussions on scientific concepts. She found art to be a medium that could help communicate complex topics, without dumbing down the science, but instead making it more accessible to a wide range of audiences.

Patrick has always been a communicator and gives talks to teenagers and adults about his own work on natural product biosynthesis a.k.a. making chemistry using biology (next talk here). We got together and LabCut was born! Thanks to funding from Wellcome-Warwick QBP, we plan to hold workshops that are interesting and engaging to both scientists and artists, and create watchable films for the public.

The concept of using scientific footage in an artistic way to create a film fascinated all of us (one of our favourite examples is the amazing Labocine film by Nipam Patel). We wanted to enable more scientists to collaborate with artists and filmmakers: to turn their terabytes of raw experimental footage into a media that is artistic and can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their science background.

There are similar initiatives around the world that have inspired us, such as Exposure Science Film Hackathon. Exposure run 3-day hackathons with scientists and artists and screen them in local cinemas around Switzerland. We are inspired by all these and other science communicators; like Stephen Hawking, who said: “Not only is it important to ask questions and find the answers, as a scientist I felt obligated to communicate with the world what we were learning.”

Our first workshop will be held at the University of Warwick, 13-15th June 2019. It’ll focus on human health, a topic close to all our hearts. We want to give guidance, but still leave plenty of room for creative freedom — there are no restrictions! We have teamed up with Jay Langdell, a filmmaker with 20 years of experience delivering filmmaking workshops and lessons to a wide demographic, from corporate clients to young children.

We are excited to combine our own passion to communicate science through film, and the participants’ experience in research and film making! Our applications are still open, so please check us out on social media and tell us why you would love to be part of our inaugural workshop!

Keep up with the team on:

What is LabCut?

LabCut is a science film workshop that brings filmmakers, artists and scientists together to create short science films. We do this by running crash course film workshops, the first of which will be 13-15th June 2019 at the University of Warwick.

The workshop will provide expert training on shooting and editing short films. The films will be screened at the British Science Festival here in Warwick in September 2019, and the public will vote for the best one! You can also submit what you make to Bristol Science Film Festival!

Who can attend?

It’s free to attend for anyone with a passion for communicating science about human health through the media of film. Filmmakers, artists, musicians, scientists and all others welcome.

How can I apply?

To apply, go to:
Deadline: 3rd June

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