Masters Thesis

A look at Anza-Borrego through scientific short film

Due to the many misconceptions about science and the general lack of scientific literacy in our society, there is a need to better distribute accurate, comprehensible scientific ideas in an engaging way. Science education films can be powerful tools in this effort. They can be used to explore and explain relevant scientific concepts, and have the potential to reach the general public and scientists alike. As more science documentary films are produced, the general public naturally increasingly turns to films as an important source for scientific knowledge. Unfortunately, much of the scientific media being produced are designed to entertain and not necessarily to educate. Most science film producers do not hold scientific degrees, and they also do not have experience in scientific knowledge and research. Through this project I take a look at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park through a series of short films that were produced after extensive scientific literature review, direct communication with scientists, and visits into the field. Thus, as a scientist myself, I am using a “Scientist as Filmmaker” production model with the aim to create engaging natural history film without sacrificing scientific relevance and accuracy. It is increasingly important that the drivers behind science media production, not only have the skills to captivate audiences through visual storytelling, but also possess an extensive understanding of the scientific process in order to ensure the distribution of accurate and diverse scientific information.

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