BSFF 2020 Earth and Environment shortlist

For the past several months we invited submissions from amateur and professional filmmakers alike to our short science film competition. The submissions could either be science fact or science fiction, but had to be less than ten minutes long.

We received 450 films from around the world and whittled them down to our final 32!

The shortlisted films were sent to our judges, who included Malcolm Love, science communicator and lecturer at the University of the West of England; Andrew Glester, host of The Cosmic Shed podcast; and Gabriela Staniszewska, Bristol-based multi-award-winning filmmaker.

Read on to watch some of the shortlisted films. To find out who won, check out this blog post.

"Good morning" screenshot

Good Morning

Science Fiction Amateur

Joonas Ennala (Writer and Director)

Far in the future, after the annihilation of the earth, it’s time for humankind to bloom again. Just need to wake up first. Watch it here.

"The Murmuration" screenshot

The Murmuration

Science Fact Amateur

Alice Greary (Director)
James Hanson (Presenter)
Nina Blampied, Esme Hedley, Kate Daw (Editors)
Filmed by: Alice Geary, James Hanson, Meg Barstow, Nina Blampied, Cristian Robson, Esme Hedley, Elva King, Tom Sparham

‘The Murmuration’ is an amateur film shot by students in the Wildlife Film Society at the University of Bristol. The students explore how and why starlings undergo this incredible phenomena. Watch it here.

"Those in Grass Houses" screenshot

Those in Grass Houses

Science Fact Amateur

Christian Lawes (Director, Writer and Producer)
Georgina Makhubele (Narrator)
Moritz Wanger (Composer)
Dominika Latusek (Sound Designer)
Marco Valerio Caminiti (Colourist)

Sociable Weavers engineer the biggest nest built by any bird. Within these enormous structures they live a fascinating social life, but can their family bonds protect them from the dangers of life in the Savannah?

"Pet Planet" screenshot

Pet Planet

Science Fiction Professional

Ratimir Rakuljic (Director, Writer and Producer)
Monika Drahotuski (Producer)

Pet Planet is the best toy you’ve never had! Once unpacked and switched on, it forms an entire living world. Take good care of it and witness the rise of civilisations right on your tabletop. Nothing could ever go wrong.

"A natural code" screenshot

A Natural Code

Science Fact Professional

Cristina Ceuca (Director, Writer and Producer)
Natasha Ellison (Writer)
Natasha Ellison, Dr Philip Ball, Professor Philip Maini, Irthisham Zareer (Cast)

A Natural Code unveils patterns in nature, inspired by the great mathematician Alan Turing, who was able to see patterns in a different way. Nowadays, we use Turing’s knowledge to help endangered species around the world. Watch it here.

"Night of the crabs" screenshot

Night of the Crabs

Science Fact Amateur

Elyas Masrour (Director)

A group of citizen scientists take on the task of helping a peculiar species with unique characteristics — the horseshoe crab. Elyas Masrour’s film explores the history of the horseshoe crab and how modern science is trying to save it. Watch it here.

"Monster Sitter" screenshot

Monster Sitter

Science Fiction Professional

Elena Beatrice, Daniele Lince (Directors, Writers, Producers)
Sofia Falchetto, Matteo Tarditi (Writers, Producers)
Giacomo Pratelli (Cast)

In a world where lake monsters exist, we follow the daily life of Giacomo Rosetti, who takes care of Isy, the monster of Lake Iseo. This mockumentary talks about the growing need to preserve the beauty the world.

Through a fresh and funny story, they aim to show the importance of being united and cooperative to defend and protect all the precious things of Earth, whether they are human, animal or plant.

"The Adventures of Alice in Typhoidland" screenshot

The Adventures of Alice in Typhoidland

Science Fact Professional

Samantha Vanderslott, Claas Kirchhelle (Directors, Writers)
Ben Leighton (Animator)

On a golden afternoon in 1864, Alice Liddell went on a magical tour. Whilst being rowed in a boat, she heard a story about a rabbit in a nice coat. But this is not the story of the trip that led to Wonderland. Glide with us on a murky ride as we journey down the sewer hole into Oxford’s underside – there is much to show in typhoidland. Watch it here.

"Every drop counts" screenshot

Every Drop Counts

Science Fact Amateur

Created by Alexander Colman, Andrew Amato and Sam Landsman

In Alexander’s study of America’s water pollution crisis we hear interviews with local expert Bill Lucey at his home in Killingsworth, Connecticut. We also get insight from the town’s Representative Jonathan Steinberg and state Senator Richard Blumenthal. Watch it here.

"Timeout" screenshot


Science Fiction Amateur

Laura Bucher (Director)
Collectif des jeunes de Passeurs d’Images 2018 (Writers)
Chantal Sacarabany-Perro (Producer)
Shekina Mangatalle-Carey, Sylvère Mothmora, Nicole Percin, Maurice Lugsor (Cast)

Timeout is a fictional response by artists to the very real pesticide bioaccumulation in their home of Martinique: one study found that 95% of the Martinique population has the pesticide chlordecone, a potential carcinogen, in their blood. As director Laura Bucher explains: “As we are the generation which will inherit the island in the future, we wanted to express our fear and our hopes in a touching cinematic story … [as well as] our love for our island”.

Sugboanong Alibangbang

Science Fact Amateur

Created by Edward Laurence Opena

This film tells the story of a self-taught lepidopterist, Julian Navarro Jumalon, who was a pioneer in butterfly studies in the Philippines in the early 1900s. His research found that there were approximately 200 butterfly species in his island-province of Cebu in the central Philippines, out of the nearly 800 species in the country. Watch it here.

"Unreality" screenshot


Science Fiction Professional

Kevin Rahardjo (Director)
Agnes Hernadi (Cinematographer, Producer)
Kevin Rahardjo, Agnes Hernadi, Cindy Winardi (Writers)
Cindy Winardi (Cast)

All human beings participate in destroying nature and wildlife habitat. No matter how big or how small our actions are they affect the destruction of ecosystems and animal life. For Director Kevin Rahardjo: “This short is an analogy on the Covid-19 Pandemic. VR is here interpreted as a tool to escape reality.” Watch it here.

Hal Holmes – Down to the Core

Science Fact Professional

Created by Alex Keefe and Angel Sharp Media

Hal has always had a passion for building things, and now he is out to use his skills to slow the destruction of the natural world. At first his outlandish idea to repurpose a unique ultrasound tool, usually used for cancer treatments, to rapidly break down and read the DNA of timber baffled fellow scientists. However, Hal’s brainwave might just provide an answer to the vast illegal logging trade: A way to instantly tell the origin of every single piece of wood. Watch it here.

"Red" screenshot


Science Fiction Amateur

Created by Paula Szczyrba

Set in a dystopia, ‘Red’ deals with the reality of climate change and global warming when the temperature rises to an unacceptable and dangerous level. What happens when a lonely girl lives in lockdown for what seems like forever?

The Magnificent Mesopelagic

Science Fact Professional

Mair Perkins, Beth Francis (Directors, Writers)
Mair Perkins (Producer, Animator)
Andrew Clark (Voice Over)

This short film explores an amazing and often forgotten world beneath our waves. Enter the magnificent mesopelagic, or twilight zone. The depths of the ocean between 200-1000m are estimated to contain up to 10 billion tonnes of fish, almost 90% of the fish biomass in our oceans.

The animation was made as a collaboration between art and science, with the incredible artwork done by Mair Perkins, and the science by Bangor University PhD student, Beth Francis. Watch it here.

"Sustain" screenshot


Science Fiction Amateur

Jake Bentley (Director)
Nathan Rawlings (Writer)
Carmelo Viviani, Megha Dhingra (Cast)

A group of astronauts survey potential homes for humanity as our own world dies. Watch it here.

The Man with Monet

Science Fiction Professional

Thomas Chan (Writer and Director)
Thomas Chan, Alex Lau (Producers)
Hao Tang, Pei Wang, Huiqing Shi (Cast)
Thomas Chan, Shuai Ni (Editors)

The last person on earth is working in an office. He has only a Monet painting with him, and decides to go out to watch the sunrise.

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