The Third edition of Science Film Festival of India with an acronym SCI-FFI has been a four-day-long extravaganza of blockbuster films, interactions by experts and scientists from 16th to 19th January 2018. The festival pre-events have rolled out about a month ago with pre-fest screenings in close to 30 schools in different parts of Goa. These pre-fest screenings sets the tone of the festival with topics such as Climate Change, Diving and Marine Expeditions, Mariana Trench, Antarctica, Underwater Robots, Solid Waste Management, Stem Cells, Virtual Reality, Medical Electronics and so on. All these topics depicted the vastness of Science and its true potential. All these pre-fest screenings are facilitated by experts from respective fields.
Report of SCI-FFI 2017
Inauguration of SCIENCE FILM FESTIVAL 2017-01- 17
The second edition of Science Film Festival of India SCI-FFI 2017 organised by Vidnyan Parishad in collaboration with NIO-Goa, ESG, and in association with Dept of Science and Technology Govt of Goa, ICAR and National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, was Inaugurated at the hands of the Vice Chancellor of Goa University, Prof. Varun Sahni at the ESG complex, on 17th January 2017. The program started with melodious chorus song under Prof. Taranath’s guidance, presented by students from various institutions of Goa, followed by lighting of traditional lamp at the hands of dignitaries on dais.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Guest Prof. Sahni said that Film is a powerful medium to bring together all aspects of Culture, Visual Arts, Science and Technology and can bring about Social Transformation. He encouraged the attempt made to popularise science through films. He also mentioned that presently careers in Science other than Medicine and Engineering are rewarding and lucrative and it should be a National mission to attract students to take up Pure Sciences and strengthen the Scientific base. Lamenting the fact that Science Based films are mostly made in English, he urged Indian film-makers to produce science-films in Indian languages. Appreciating the organisers, he said the SCI-FFI 2017 has attempted to bridge the gap between Science and Films in India and encouraged making it an annual feature.
Advising the student audience Shri. Rajendra Talak the Vice Chairman of ESG, gracing the function, citing his own example said that children should fearlessly communicate with their Teachers and Parents about their career choices and interests and pursue their dreams to achieve it.
Mr. Shekhar Sardesai, Chairman and Managing Director of KINECO Kaman Composite and Patron of SCI-FFI 2017, said that Science and Technology are important for developing countries like India to build new technology and Innovations which lead to progress. Pursuit of Science is a tool every country adopts to grow economically and provide a better life to its citizens.
Earlier Dr. Prasanna Kumar, Officiating Director of NIO and Chairman of SCI-FFI 2017welcomed the Guests, Subject Experts and student audiences. Shri. Suhas Godse, President of Vidyan Parishad, Goa briefed the audience on the Festival elucidating the aims of Vidyan Parishad and the various events undertaken as pre-activity to the festival and the films to be screened during the four day long festival. He stated that over 8000 students were reached out to in 68 schools of Goa by as many as 28 experts as a part of pre-festival screening of films.
Prof. Sucheta Naik, the compere, ably conducted the inaugural ceremony with subtle references and quotes. The inaugural function was followed by the screening of documentary ‘The Genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan’ and later in the afternoon, the film ‘ The man who knew Infinity’. The expert Dr Mandar Bhanushe, Professor of Mathematics from Mumbai University, explained to the students the contribution of Ramanujan to the world of Mathematics and how his single minded passion blossomed into Mathematical theories. There was also a quiz on the films screened. Spot prizes were given out to students who asked the best questions.
650 students from various Higher Secondary Schools participated in the screening.
Dr. Shekhar Mande, Director of NCCS, Pune and Dr. Sharmishtha Banerjee, faculty from Dept of Biochemistry, University of Hyderabad, were the resource persons for the screening of movies ‘The Fly room’ and ‘Contagion’.
The movie – The Fly Room – is based on correspondence between lab members and interviews with Calvin Bridges' daughter Betsey (who died in 2014). It focuses on the relationship between the 10-year- old girl and her father, with flash-forwards to Betsey's later life. The movie includes a witty script and clear scientific messages. The film is based on the actual FLY ROOM lab which worked on Drosophila insects which secured a NOBEL prize for Genetics
The movie Contagion is about Beth Emhoff (Gwenyth Paltrow) who returns from a business trip to Hong Kong with a stop over at the Chicago airport. Beth feels ill, but thinks the problem is jet lag. She travels back home to Minneapolis and spreads the virus to her son Clark and her husband, Mitch. When Beth and Clark die, Mitch goes in quarantine where the doctors realise he is immune to the mysterious virus. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, London and in a small province, cases of the mystery illness are cropping up, as the American CDC and the World Health Organization give their best effort researching the virus. A race against the clock begins, as the virus is spreading in a geometric progression, and if no solution is found – very fast – humanity will cease to be.
Experts answered the queries raised by students on genetic mechanism as well as on spread and control of contagious diseases. The experts explained the concept of genes and inheritance to the students. Students were made aware of diseases caused by viruses and other microbes and also about the working of human immune system including vaccination.
The documentary film ‘The Quantum Indians’ is a compelling new film by Raja Choudhury that tells the story of three forgotten Indian scientists Satyendra Nath Bose, CV Raman and Meghnad Saha who revolutionized Physics and Indian Science in the early part of the 20th century by giving the world Bosons, the Raman Effect, the Saha Equation and India's first and only Nobel prize for Science. The expert for the session was Dr. Arvind Ranade, Scientist from Vigyan Prasar (DST), Govt. of India. He explained students about how interstellar mission is possible, what is black hole and how gravity can be increased near black hole. He also enlightened students about Higgs Boson particles and why the colour of sky changes during rising and setting of sun. Mr, Deepak Pathania is a compulsive hands-on inventor/problem solver and has a very popular youtube channel showcasing science videos. He showcased some of his videos which were loved by the students and queried about the science in the videos.
Mr. Deepak liked the concept of SCI-FFI because the films are the easiest medium to share ideas and to teach and inspire science education in young students. He thinks that in India there are no films produced based on science and funds should be provided to produce such films. Young students should be encouraged to perform activity based projects which they can perform based on what they learn in school. This will inspire them to enjoy science.
Two popular films ie Contact and Sunshine were screened on the penultimate day of SCI- FFI 2017. The audience consisted of students of Engineering colleges in Goa. Dr Mayank Vahia, Prof from TIFR-Mumbai interacted with students and gave his expert comments. The Question and answer session was very lively and questions from the students on String Theory, Black hole, Extra-terrestrial existence of life, kept Prof. Vahia busy. The festival ended with the valedictory function at the Maquinez auditorium in the evening.
Valedictory session on 20th Jan at 4,30 pm at Maquinez palace
Speaking on the occasion the Chief Guest Dr. Satish Shetye, former VC of Goa University, lauded the attempt made by Vidnyan Parishad in organizing the festival to attract curiosity and interest in science through films. He advocated that society should support the scientists so that the scientists, in turn, would come out with the best of discoveries and inventions. Guest of Honour Dr. Eknath Chakurkar, Director, CCARI-ICAR, with words of appreciation to the organizers wholeheartedly offered his institutions support to provide experts and infrastructure for the next edition of SCI-FFI. Jayantrao Sahasrabuddhe, National Organising Secretary, Vijanana Bharati to which Vidnyan Parishad Goa is affiliated, briefed the audience about the initiatives of the Vijnana Bharati and appealed the students to participate with full enthusiasm in the activities of Vidnyan Parishad. Mrunal Walke, GM, ESG graced the function and also appreciated the concept and offered full support for the future. Mementoes were presented to the experts who had conducted sessions during pre-festival activities in 68 schools of Goa.
Dr. G.K. Naik extended Vote of Thanks on behalf of organizers. The program ended with recitation of National Anthem.
Achievements of SCI-FFI in Nutshell:
Pre-fest from Dec 16 to Jan 17:
Main fest from 17 th to 20 th Jan 2017
Engineering colleges: 6
Higher secondary: 20
Total delegates: 2500
Dr Mandar Banushe Prof, Mumbai University
Dr Shekar Mande Director, NCCS
Dr Sharmishta Banerjee Assoc. Prof., Hyderabad university
Dr Arvind Ranade Scientist, Vigyan Prasar
Mr Deepak Pathania Inventor
Dr Mayank Vahia Prof, TIFR
1. The Genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan
2. Man who knew infinity
3. The Fly Room
6. Quantum Indians