Tuesday 19 June 2018

Science Fair - Film Review (Edinburgh International Film Festival)

We've just got back from a wonderful holiday in Shetland and I will in due course blog about the highlights of that but in the meantime it's Edinburgh International Film Festival and once again I have a press pass and films to review.

First up was today's press screening of  Science Fair, a documentary that follows brilliant young high school scientists across the world as they prepare their research projects for the International Science and Engineering Fair. There is a real mix of young people taking part. One US school had nine teams get through the regional and national competition to finally have seven winners at the fair, lead by their charismatic (and frankly sometimes scary) teacher Dr Serena McCalla. Kashfia Rahman meanwhile, a young Muslim attending a sports oriented school in the USA, has no research labs to work in and no science teacher prepared to oversee her work so she ends up being mentored by the school sports coach and even after she wins a prize at the fair her school does nothing to acknowledge her achievements. Robbie a US student failing in his maths class takes a project based on number theory to the fair and on the back of that is offered a paid internship to work on driverless cars. Anjali Chadha, a student in a strongly science oriented school in the US, researches new ways to test for and remove arsenic from drinking water while Myella and Gabriel two students from Brazil are working on the Zika virus - a project that they are now continuing at University level.

My only disappointment was that there were no featured projects that specifically dealt with the scientific challenges posed by climate change or biodiversity loss. However the implication is still there, the scientific challenges of our time will be met by brilliant people like those featured in this film.

Science Fair is screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival at The Vue Omni at 2040 Thursday 21 June and at 1300 on Saturday 23 June. You can find out more and book here

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