Science on Screen at BMFI

March 29, 2019


Media Contact: Gina Izzo, Director of Marketing, 610-527-4008 x110, 

Bryn Mawr, PA – March 29, 2019 – Philadelphia’s “science season” is officially in bloom as Bryn Mawr Film Institute presents a Science on Screen, a four-film series that will inspire the inner scientist in everyone. This program pairs a variety of films with engaging talks by leading experts, peeling back movie magic to reveal the facts beneath. All across the country, theaters like BMFI are presenting Science on Screen programs in their own communities, sparking scientific conversations everywhere this spring. Science on Screen® is an initiative by the Coolidge Corner Theater with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan foundation.  

Science on Screen begins with the original Jurassic Park on Saturday, April 13, followed by a talk with Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur advisor on the film, “Dino” Don Lessem. The following Thursday, April 25, Dr. Frank Lee, Director of Drexel University’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio, decodes Computer Chess, an analog mockumentary set in a 1980s game programming tournament. ASL and spoken English interpretation will accompany the Deaf Short Films Program, featuring works made by and starring Deaf artists on Thursday, April 25, followed by a discussion with Melissa Draganac-Hawk, Director of Student Affairs at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Over the Limit follows elite Russian gymnast Margarita Mamun’s intense path to the 2016 Olympics, which finishes the series on Thursday, May 2. Polina Kozitskiy of the Philadelphia Rhythmic Academy will perform a short demonstration prior to the film, and will be joined by Dr. Joel Fish, Director of the Center for Sport Psychology, for a talk after the screening.  

Jurassic Park with “Dino” Don Lessem  

“Hold onto your butts!” A group of experts are summoned to a millionaire’s remote island to preview his new creation: a nature reserve populated by living dinosaurs, cloned from prehistoric DNA. When the park’s security system fails, the visitors must brave the rampaging dinosaurs to shepherd their host’s grandchildren to safety. Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum star in the 1993 blockbuster that still reigns as the dinosaur movie of all dinosaur movies. After the screening, science writer and exhibit developer “Dino” Don Lessem will help us separate dino-fact from fiction.

Don Lessem is one of the world’s leading presenters of dinosaurs, the author of more than 40 books, and advisor to Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Mr. Lessem has excavated and reconstructed the world’s largest meat-eating and plant-eating dinosaurs in Patagonia and Mongolia. He creates giant touring exhibitions, is host and creator of NOVA documentaries, and advisor to Universal Studios and Disney theme parks. The Argentine dinosaur, Lessemsaurus, was named in honor of his contributions to dinosaur research. 

Jurassic Park will show on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at 1:00 pm. Tickets are $12.50 for general admission, $10 for seniors and students, and $8 for BMFI members and children under 18.  

Computer Chess with Dr. Frank Lee 

In the early 1980s, a tournament between chess-playing computers leads the attending programmers to personal, spiritual, and existential crossroads. Shot on period-appropriate analog video cameras, this comic (and occasionally surreal) mockumentary lovingly spoofs the early days of computing while foreshadowing the encroachment of technology into modern life. Dr. Frank Lee, Director of Drexel University’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio, will introduce the film and stay for a post-film Q&A.

Dr. Frank J. Lee is a Professor of Digital Media in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design at Drexel University with appointments in Psychology, Computer Science, and Biomedical Engineering. Lee received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University, and his B.A. in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley. Lee co-founded Drexel’s Game Design Program in 2008, which is currently ranked as one of the Top Best Game Design Programs in U.S. He is also the founding director of the Entrepreneurial Game Studio at Drexel University, a unique university initiative designed to teach students entrepreneurship and gaming by helping them to create their own game companies. Lee’s past projects have won national and international awards and recognitions that have received extensive media coverage. The Guinness World Records recognized one of his most famous projects, Skyscraper Tetris, as the Largest Architectural Video Game Display. He was selected as one of Polygon’s 50 most admirable gaming people of 2014, and one of Philadelphia Magazine’s Top Innovators of 2012. 

Computer Chess will show on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $12.50 for general admission, $10 for seniors and students, and $8 for BMFI members. 

Deaf Short Film Program with Melissa Draganac-Hawk

Using comedy, romance, drama, and performance, this collection of five short films made by and/or starring Deaf artists explores the spectrum of communication and expression. Engaging for Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, and hearing audiences alike, this program will feature ASL and spoken English interpretation. The short films to be screened include, “Sign – a Silent Film,” “Boat,” “Sounds Like Us,” “Silent Moves,” and “To Know Him.” Melissa Draganac-Hawk, Director of Student Affairs at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and president of the National Association of the Deaf, will introduce the film and moderate post-screening discussion.

Melissa Draganac-Hawk is a first-generation American of deaf immigrant Peruvians, and received her Master’s degree in Linguistics and dual Bachelors in American Sign Language and Theater Production & Performance from Gallaudet University. Currently, she is the Director of Student Affairs at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf and president of the National Association of the Deaf. Engaged in the Deaf Community, Draganac-Hawk was the president of the National Council of Hispano Deaf and Hard of Hearing (now renamed Council de Manos) and the Executive Director of Deaf Women United.  

Deaf Short Films Program will show on Thursday, April 25, 2019, at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $12.50 for general admission, $10 for seniors and students, and $8 for BMFI members.

Over the Limit with Polina Kozitskiy and Dr. Joel Fish

“You’re not a human being, you’re an athlete.” Russian rhythmic gymnast Margarita Mamun strains against exhaustion, family tragedy, and the lacerating critique of her coaches as she prepares for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Exquisitely filmed, this gripping documentary explores the extremes of elite athleticism, contrasting Mamun’s astonishing grace with the physical and psychological intensity of her training regimen. Polina Kozitskiy, coach at the Philadelphia Rhythmic Academy, will open the program with a rhythmic gymnastics demonstration. After the screening, she’ll be joined by Dr. Joel Fish, Director of the Center for Sport Psychology, for a talk and Q&A.

Polina Kozitskiy is an American individual rhythmic gymnast. She represented her nation at international competitions, including at the 2011 World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. She is now a coach at the Philadelphia Rhythmic Academy

Dr. Joel Fish, Director of the Center for Sports Psychology, is a nationally recognized expert in sport psychology who has worked in the field for the past twenty-five years. He is a licensed psychologist who has worked extensively with athletes of all ages and skills levels, from youth sport through the Olympic and professional ranks. Dr. Fish has been a sport psychology consultant for the Philadelphia 76ers, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Philadelphia Phillies Organization, the USA Women’s National Field Hockey Team, and the USA Women’s National Soccer Team. He is one of the only sport psychologists in the country who has worked with three professional sports teams in the same city at the same time. Dr. Fish has also served as a sport psychology consultant for Saint Joseph’s University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Temple University. Dr. Fish is a visiting lecturer at the Wingate Institute and Zinman College in Netanya, Israel, where he teaches about applied sport psychology and elite athletes. He has spoken nationwide on sport psychology at over 300 universities and is a popular presenter at a variety of athletic functions. 

Over the Limit will show on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $12.50 for general admission, $10 for seniors and students, and $8 for BMFI members.  

Media Assets

Images, logos, and links to trailers are available in the BMFI 2019 Science on Screen Media Kit.

About Science on Screen®

The Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Science on Screen® series has enhanced film and scientific literacy with this popular program, which launched in 2005. In partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and its pioneering nationwide film program, the Coolidge has expanded Science on Screen to 72 cinemas nationwide.

About The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation makes grants primarily to support original research and education related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics. The Foundation believes that these fields—and the scholars and practitioners who work in them—are chief drivers of the nation’s health and prosperity. The Foundation also believes that a reasoned, systematic understanding of the forces of nature and society, when applied inventively and wisely, can lead to a better world for all.

About Coolidge Corner Theatre

The mission of the nonprofit Coolidge Corner Theatre is to entertain, inform, and engage — building a vital community through film culture. Since 1933, audiences in the greater Boston area have relied on the Coolidge for the best of contemporary art house and independent film. Widely regarded as one of New England’s most beloved cultural landmarks, the Coolidge Corner Theatre is one of the nation’s most prominent independently operated movie theatres, run by the not-for-profit Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation. The Coolidge has won numerous awards and recognitions for creative and innovative programming.

About Bryn Mawr Film Institute

Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) is a nonprofit, member-supported motion picture theater and film education center located in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. BMFI is dedicated to promoting shared experiences that entertain, engage, and educate audiences through a diverse range of independent-minded films, a full curriculum of courses, and an extensive program of special events. BMFI was established in 2005 and has since become one of the nation’s largest and most successful art house theaters.