The Science behind the Movies – Film Festival

1.1   Description

Everyone likes movies: we like to think of the impossible, of the future, of different versions of what the world could be; but we rarely think about the veracity of the stories, especially when tackling scientific topics. This event is a space where several blockbuster movies are dissected by experts in order to discuss the truthfulness of the STEM concepts presented in the film. A dynamic Q&A between the experts and the audience is encouraged throughout each session.


1.2   Objective

  • Enhance the critical thinking of the audience.
  • Facilitate the understanding of scientific concepts through entertainment.
  • Inspire future scientists to pursue a career in STEM related fields.


1.3   Structure

General Structure: Complex Project

The Science behind the Movies Film Festival could be organised to run at least twice per year. The event should last at least three days, with one session a day, preferably during a weekend, to attract a greater audience. Each session would include a full screening of the movie, with the required pauses for the experts to make comments and the audience to ask questions. Refer to Section 4.2 for the detailed structure.


1.4   Duration

Main Event Duration: 3 days

Each day will feature a movie screening with comments from the experts and questions from the audience. Attendance is free, tickets will only help to measure the attendance.

Project Duration: Indefinitely repeated
The Festival will have at least two editions per year.

2.1    Staff & Volunteers

Core team to organize the event / Two volunteers during the event
The whole festival can be organized by a small team (i.e. one to contact the experts, one to arrange the venue and dates, one to take care of the publicity, etc.). During the festival, it would be really helpful to have a couple of volunteers to take care of other logistic details (i.e. tickets, refreshments, etc.). Also, we would need the help of someone from the venue (i.e. a technician who will handle the projector and the microphones).


2.2    Venue Hire

Venue: Indoor
Capacity: 21 – 100 people

It needs to be an indoor space with a projector in order to play a movie: it can be done in a big lecture room or in an auditorium. It is important for people to feel comfortable since they will be seating in the same spot for at least two hours.


2.3    Partner Institutions

Partner Institutions: Required

Although the event can be done independently, it would be of great benefit to have the support of an institution. A partner institution would facilitate the contact with field experts, the reach of a broader audience and even a venue to hold the event.


2.4    Budget

Yearly / Project Budget: 5001€ – 10000€

Budget Point Details Event Cost
Personnel Fees
  • Only the core organizing team is required (voluntary).
  • The two volunteers helping throughout the event would be students.
  • A technician responsible of the projection and microphones during the screenings, who would be part of the partnered institution.
Venue Hire Ideally, the partnered institution would provide a space to hold the event. 0€
Marketing Design / printing of posters or buying advertising space in local papers / on social media. 400€
    The venue should be able to cover any basic needs (projector, microphones, etc.). If not, then it needs to be taken into consideration the purchase of a projector, wireless microphones and speakers (single expense).
0- 2000€
    Refreshments could add an extra cost per event.
Total 6000-8000€

3.1   Target Audience

econdary School (12–17) / Youths (18–25)

The film festival is aimed at young people in order to inspire them to pursue STEM related careers, but older audiences are welcome as well in order to broaden the discussion. No adaptation would need to be done to the format.


3.2   Marketing

Marketing needs to be done at least two months in advance. The Film Festival needs to have social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) in order to make proper publicity. Facebook advertising can be used to great effect to reach the target audience, as well as direct contact with high-influence profiles that could share the event information.

Social media posts should include information about the event, the experts, the movies, and the partner institution. Also, it is important to use proper hashtags to track and evaluate the strategy at the end of every festival edition.

Since the festival is aimed at young people, local school visits could be arranged in order to invite all the students interested in a STEM related career. Printed publicity would also work. There could be posters or flyers in public libraries, coffee shops, cinemas, parks, etc.


3.3   Dialogic Strategy

The main idea behind the festival is accessibility: the language used by the experts needs to be understandable for the target audience. It would be helpful hold work meetings with all experts to review their notes/comments on the movies and give them pointers about science communication basics if they need them. Also, it is really important to have ground rules for audience interaction during the screening.

4.1   Project Timeline

Time Activity
Six Months in advance
  • Signing an agreement with a partner institution (it can be different in each edition).
  • Defining the date for the festival.
  • Contacting experts to confirm their availability
  • Deciding which movies will be screened based on the experts feedback.
Two Months in advance
  • Marketing: social media strategy, school visits.
  • Work meeting with experts.
On the day
  • Purchasing of refreshments and venue set up.


4.2   Single Event Structure

Time Activity
10 min
  • Greeting and presentations.
120 min – 160 min
  • Screening of the movie with comments from experts and questions from the public.
15 min
  • Final remarks from the experts and the audience.


4.3   Personnel roles

Person Activity
Core Team
  • Arrive at venue an hour in advance to set up any needed equipment.
  • Should arrive 15 minutes in advance to set up their microphones.
  • Arrive at the venue an hour in advance to collect tickets and provide refreshments to the public.


4.4   Materials

Aside from the basic equipment provided by the venue (projector, microphones and chairs), there are no particular materials required. Film rights should not be needed since it is a non-profit event.


4.5   Other Logistics

Additional needs include refreshments for the audience.

Events like this enhance a horizontal dialogue between scientists and the general public. It allows the latter to become more conscious of the scientific and technological aspects of our daily life, even if it is in entertainment material like blockbuster movies. Ideally, this event would increase the interest of the public in the validity of science facts portrayed on films or TV, and therefore they would become more critic of the entertainment they consume.

On the other hand, explaining how relevant STEM is, even in entertainment, could increase the number of young people interested in pursuing a career in a related field. An added benefit would be to hand out information about the academic offer of the partner institution.

The basic evaluation strategy is to count the number of attendants and classify them by their demographics. Also, this should be complemented with a survey conducted at the end of the event or via e-mail. The questions should address their expectations of the event, their interests, their feedback for future editions, and the way they knew about the festival. The results will show which target was reached and how.

The marketing strategy needs to be evaluated as well through software analytics: how many followers do you have on social media, how many interactions, how many times did the hashtag appear, etc.

One final source of data could be the number of enrollments to the partner institution after the event. This would allow you to check if their numbers increased and if that increase is due to the event.

Although these are other types of Science Film Festivals, they are worth the reading:

InScience Film Festival

Raw Science Film Festival

Bristol Science Film Festival

Imagine Science Films

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Event Duration

Project Duration


Location Capacity

Partner Institutions


Cite this Activity

Martin, D., & Styles, C. (2020, October 20). The Science behind the Movies - Film Festival. Retrieved from

First published: October 20, 2020
Last modified: October 20, 2020