The story behind the Festival

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Conceived as a way to forge new links between the sciences and the arts, SCINEMA has explored ways to enhance communication to raise public and stakeholder excitement and trust in science through the medium of film, while also celebrating the scientific advances in film technology itself. Inaugurated in 2000, SCINEMA opened as an internationally competitive festival playing in Canberra only, at the Center Cinema, to a paying audience. It was well attended, with sell-outs and repeat performances of its key event ‘Sexy Skivvy Science’ featuring Dean and Rob from the 1970s & 80s children’s television series The Curiosity Show talking about clips from the series and performing some of their more fun experiments (and, of course, wearing their trademark skivvies).

Visit our Archive of Past Programmes

In 2002 and 2003, a scaled-down version of SCINEMA ran over a week at the National Museum of Australia, playing a curated program of Australian and international science documentary film to full houses. In 2004, with a grant from the Commonwealth Government to grow the scope of the festival, SCINEMA played in 45 venues around Australia, before an audience of 4,500. Wanting to involve a school-aged audience in the excitement of film-making and science communication, we began the SCINEMA Student Short Science Film Competition with our 2004 festival, uncovering some truly inspired works from Primary, Secondary and tertiary institutions around Australia.

As word of SCINEMA spread, we found more venues wanting to take part, and our 2005 Festival played to audience figures of almost 10,000 at nearly 80 venues, with major new partners including the Museums of South Australia, Queensland and Melbourne, and new regional centres including Port Lincoln and Wagga Wagga. In 2006, we returned to our internationally competition, screening over two weeks at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, as well as playing our Travelling Film Festival in 100+ venues across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, adding locations across India in 2008. 2008 also saw a second tour from International multimedia artist Peter McLeish. From 2007 to 2011, SCINEMA has continued to grow a little each year, with 400+ venues taking part in 2012.

Visit our Archive of Past Programmes