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Science Goes to the Movies, from 'Frankenweenie' Science Fairs to Science on Screen Grants for Indie Theaters

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood July 31, 2012 at 4:26PM

Theaters and distributors are figuring out innovative ways to make movies into events, from non-profit cinemas to the mighty Mouse House. Science is the lure for both the burgeoning Science on Screen program and Disney's "Frankenweenie."
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"12 Monkeys"
'12 Monkeys' "12 Monkeys"

Theaters and distributors are figuring out innovative ways to make movies into events, from non-profit cinemas to the mighty Mouse House. Science is the lure for both the burgeoning Science on Screen program and Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie."

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Coolidge Corner Theatre are expanding their Science on Screen Program for non-profit theaters.  Twenty indie cinemas (including Los Angeles' Cinefamily) will now get a $7000 Science on Screen grant to develop Science on Screen programs.

It all started with the Coolidge Corner Theater's pairing of film screenings with science and technology speakers, which started in 2005. Their 2011 grants went to just eight theaters. Science on Screen will expand to an additional twenty theaters in 2013.

Past Science on Screen topics have included science writer Carl Zimmer talking about viruses at a screening of "12 Monkeys," discussions of the time loop that traps Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day," the neural basis of freestyle rap and "8 Mile," the amazing underwater lives of humpback whales and "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" and the physical feasibility of time travel in "Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure."

Thanks to Disney, the Discovery Science Center and El Capitan Theatre are partnering to host the “Frankenweenie Science Fair: Sparking an Interest in Science" in conjunction with the release of Tim Burton's film on October 5 (check out our coverage of "The Art of Frankenweenie" exhibit at Comic-Con).

For details on the fair and how students can submit their own experiment, ‪à la‬ "Frankenweenie"'s Victor, see below and here.

This article is related to: News, Tim Burton


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.