BSFF 2020 Technology and Us 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.

The Most Ideal Place

Science Fact Professional

David Regos (Producer and Director)

When preparations were being made for the historic Apollo 11 moon mission, three space stations around the globe were needed to keep track of the spaceflight. One was in California, one in Australia and the third was in an unknown sleepy village in the middle of Spain. The Most Ideal Place shows the crucial role that Fresnedillas played in July 1969 and tells the story of the local Spaniards who unexpectedly became an important part of this monumental event.

Watch it here.

The Gapvoid

Science Fiction Amateur

Created by Giocele Vieira Rocha

Black the smuggler is in danger trying to deliver a very special package, forcing him to find unconventional solutions, but the results don’t always go as expected.

This short film was made by one person, with an iPad, no budget and despite the large amount of special effects, no 3D models were used. All the effects were made with miniatures, photos and drawings.

Watch it here.

"Watchmaker At Time's End" screenshot

Watchmaker At Time’s End

Science Fiction Professional

Shaheen Sheriff (Director, Writer)
Abida M Sherief , P V M Sheriff (Producers)
Vishnu Chandran, Kiran Ravindran, Sunakshi Puri, Shaheen Sheriff (Cast)

A watchmaker. Meteorites. Time is uncomfortably relative in this Keralan town, and our hero struggles to make the perfect watch to keep up with the times.

Shaheen Sheriff: “This movie is a mix of several things that I personally wanted to see on screen — an animated science fiction set in my hometown in Kerala, pulling together very regional elements to showcase a human story.”

"Bend or Break" screenshot

Bend or Break

Science Fact Professional

Isaac Kerlow (Director, Writer, Producer)
Lim Yu-Beng (Cast)
Wang Rui Fan (Animator)

Two playful pandas demonstrate how to best survive earthquakes in this happy story about the importance of using reinforced structures in earthquake-prone areas.

The World’s Coolest LEGO Set!

Science Fact Amateur

Created and presented by Joshua Chawner

A world leading team of ultra-low temperature physics at Lancaster University decided to place a LEGO figure and four LEGO blocks inside their record-breaking dilution refrigerator.

This machine — specially made at the University — is the most effective refrigerator in the world, capable of reaching 1.6 millidegrees above absolute zero (minus 273.15 Centigrade), which is about 200,000 times colder than room temperature and 2,000 times colder than deep space.

Watch it here.

A Day in the Life of a Molecular Biologist

Science Fact Amateur

Created by Patrick Capel

This short stop motion animation was made with the help of attendees of the 2019 British Science Festival. It follows a molecular biologist through their day, cloning a gene into their bacteria! A LabCut production.

Watch it here.

The Typhoid Swallowers

Science Fact Professional

Samantha Vanderslott, Claas Kirchhelle (Directors, Writers) 
Stuart Hobbs at Gold Filling Records(Filming)

In 2017, about 100 participants in the City of Oxford, UK drank live typhoid bacteria to test how well a new vaccine worked. Here is the story of two of the trial volunteers.

Watch it here.

"Qualia" screenshot


Science Fiction Amateur

Valeria Díaz (Director, Writer)
Rodrigo Moisés Bazán Bautista, Valeria Díaz, ENAC/UNAM (Producers)
Grissel Ocampo, Pedro Halil (Cast)

Contains scenes of an upsetting nature. Not suitable for younger viewers.

Locked in a large house in an undetermined future, two beings share isolation: Zaida is an android created by Said, a lonely man, who designs her to resemble a real woman and become his partner. After sharpening her physical abilities, Said decides that it is time to seduce her, which will provoke in her the gradual awakening of her own consciousness. She silently begins to wonder about her own desires, her own abilities, her own will.

"Artificial us - episode relationship" screenshot

Artificial Us — Episode Relationship

Science Fiction Amateur

Deborah Rhyner (Director, Writer)
Zurich University of the Arts (Producer)
Fiona Tobler, Yanik Kamer, Lara Ammann (Cast)

During a break from her home office session a woman curiously tests her latest smart tool, the “Droider“. With it comes a sex android, that can be optically adapted through a swipe function. Before using it, she wants to make sure it looks absolutely perfect.

Watch it here.

"Replica" screenshot


Science Fiction Amateur

Diane Carol Harder (Director, Writer)
Rebeka Herron, Heidi Tan, Diane Carol Harder (Producers)
Sergio Di Zio, Sonia Dhillon Tully, Saara Chaudry, Katrina Chalhoub-Begin, Leo Choy (Cast)

Contains scenes of an upsetting nature. Not suitable for younger viewers.

A picturesque family celebrates a daughter’s birthday, however a gift reveals their dark reality.

"Ether Waves" screenshot

Ether Waves

Science Fact Amateur

Created by Agata Perszutów

Ether Waves tells a story of a father whose extraordinary hobby is ham radio. The main character is very engrossed in his passion, which drags him away from reality. He gets lost in the world of old radiotelegraphy, with a dream to reach calls from all around the world.

"Good boy" screenshot

Good Boy

Science Fiction Professional

Brody Gusar (Director, Writer)
Mustan Dawood, Brody Gusar (Producers)
Zaden Lipman, Halley Kim, Roger Lee, Iain Roush, Jonney Ahmanson (Cast)

A dog receives a collar that translates his thoughts into speech.

Watch it here.

The Apocalypse will be Automated

Science Fiction Amateur

Created by Melanie Killingsworth

In the year 2021, a virus wreaks havoc, starting in Melbourne. The government shuts down the country, quarantine is established, and the recently-dead roam the streets.

Three friends have prepared for this, using all the technology at their disposal. In the fight between humans and zombies…who will machines side with?


Science Fiction Professional

Created by Farhad Pakdel

A smart city tracks and analyses a woman walking through the city. Things she does are interpreted and logged by the city system, but are they drawing an accurate picture of the woman?

Watch it here.

"Love, Automated" screenshot

Love, Automated

Science Fact Amateur

Melanie Killingsworth (Director)
Jack Nolan (Writer)
CJ Welsh (Producer)
Dushan Philips, Shamita Sivabalan (Cast)

It’s hard to surprise your girlfriend when technology keeps revealing your ideas. But this year — 2063, to be exact — Gemma has a daring plan.

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