Introducing Labocine, A New Platform for Science Cinema Worldwide

Edward Shepard
Sep 3, 2016 · 5 min read is a new, ever-growing platform for science cinema worldwide, with a goal of extending Imagine Science Films mission to a broader and more diverse audience.

Part archive, part curated program, part experiment, Labocine challenges the way you understand, interpret, and appreciate scientific ideas and perspectives through compelling science cinema.

From lab footage to documentary to fiction, Labocine will have 1,000 films streaming in our collection by fall 2016. We aspire to become one of the largest curated destinations for science cinema.

As a portal, Labocine will make it easier for educators, filmmakers, scientists, and curious people everywhere to discover captivating new science films. The platform also provides visibility for extraordinary films that might otherwise get buried online or forgotten after a festival or broadcast run.

We are committed to provoking scientific intrigue and understanding by experimenting with cinematic form and style, while always ensuring compelling and well-founded narratives.

Still from “Other Voices

Labocine Has Three Main Components

On the first Tuesday of each month, Labocine releases a surgically curated monthly issue of approximately fifteen films connected by a theme. Our inaugural theme was “Model Organisms,” followed by “Dark Matters.”

Issues are organized in an interactive network-viewing experience, branching out as interconnected nodes from the central theme —a phylogenetic tree of movies and ideas that connect the science new wave.

Trailer for our first issue, and how our Neural Film Network connects the science new wave.

Spotlights focus on topical events, films, filmmakers, or places for a set period, typically a week.

The Archive is a mix of public and private films kept in our permanent collection.

Still from Dharini (Earth)

Labocine presents diverse types of science films from artists, scientists, filmmakers, and educators.

These include archetypal “science films,” which focus on explaining scientific ideas. They often take a direct, talking head approach, but increasingly rely on innovative graphics and compelling filmmaking to explain their subject.

A beautiful example is “Empty Space,” which explains the concept of dark matter and its role in the future evolution of the universe.

Labocine also presents non-fiction science documentaries, which use narrative technique to tell the story of a breakthrough or relay the drama and importance of ongoing research.

A recent short example is My Mind’s Eye — Mapping the Mind: An Interview with Eric Kandel which explains how Kandel used giant slugs to prove how neurons in the brain form short and long-term memory.

Still from “Mapping the Mind: An Interview with Eric Kandel” —

Beyond those traditional categories, Labocine also presents dramatic fiction films with science, research, and discovery driving plot or theme.

A short example includes Dharini (Earth), about a young woman coming to terms with tragedy in her life over the 16 days of the ill-fated Columbia space shuttle mission.

A feature-length example is “The Fly Room,” an original film distributed by Labocine set at the birthplace of modern genetics and told through the inner world of a child’s imagination. Follow The Fly Room on Facebook and Twitter and see the trailer below:

THE FLY ROOM: As Betsey observes her father Calvin Bridges meticulous quest to decipher the laws of genetics, she is exposed to his emotional imbalance and insatiable nature, transforming their relationship for life.

Creative “science fiction” films have a home on Labocine. It’s always tricky (and somewhat false) to classify science fiction as a genre separate from narrative or dramatic fiction. But generally science fiction takes an imaginative or even fantastic approach and relies on speculation or future scientific or technological advances to tell a story.

Other Voices” is a beautiful, enigmatic example of science fiction. It remixes botanical science to tell the story of a sound artist who has discovered how to let plants “speak” by amplifying the electrical current produced in their leaves and stems.

Still from “Other Voices

Other Voices” also stands out in the way it subverts the style and formula of traditional science movies. Another film that does this is “A Fly Called Fig,” which uses real lab footage to tell a tale of a mutant fly at odds with his fellow specimens.

Experimental films inspired and informed by science, research, and the aesthetics of scientific investigation are a particular interest for Labocine.

These include works that use scientific footage or themes to explore expressive, conceptual possibilities at the intersection of science and film.

For example, “Blood Film” is an oddly compelling and beautiful 1-minute piece featuring microscopic paintings of the filmmaker’s blood.

Still from “Blood Film

Another experimental work is “Open Field Delirium Error,” featuring corrupted lab footage of a mouse reconciling its fear of exposed spaces with its biological urge to explore.

Still from “Open Field Delirium Error

Finally, we want to present raw lab footage on Labocine. Scientists often capture dozens and even hundreds of hours of video in their research, from animal behavior to microbial evolution to chemical reactions to data visualization. This abstract footage is often as compelling as the finished studies themselves.

Lab footage fromForaging, Feeding, and Mating: the life of the free-living nematode C. elegant

Submit Your Work

If you have a science-focused film in documentary, fiction, experimental, or lab footage, send us an email at

Still from “Other Voices

Journal of Labocine

Updates from Labocine, a new platform for films from the science new wave.

Edward Shepard

Written by

Journal of Labocine

Updates from Labocine, a new platform for films from the science new wave.

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