• Reechal Mevada

Migration: The 13th Annual Imagine Science Film Festival

Updated: Apr 24

The 13th Imagine Science Film Festival is here and the theme is MIGRATION!

“The flight of the arctic tern, the multi-generational travels of the monarch butterfly, the return of eels to the streams they hatched in. The arduous journeys of displaced people. Data systems in flux. The complex movements of cells, from embryonic origins to developed organisms.

This year we seek MIGRATIONS of all kinds.”

Submissions are now open on FilmFreeway.

Intrigued by this year’s theme, I immediately began brainstorming and came up with the following parallels within a few minutes: seasonal festivals, planets, food trucks, osmosis, voting, bird vs human, borders, religion, rainstorms and much more.

The US-Mexico border wall however, recently featured a temporary upliftment with Ronald Rael’s latest art installation, titled “Teeter-totter wall” which essentially comprised three pink seesaws that bobbed up and down, along the border, uniting children from both countries in a rare moment of shared play. Rael told the PBS NewsHour that the seesaws were rendered this specific shade of pink partly because the color has a deep connection to Juárez, where it’s used to remember women who have died from violence since the early 1990s. In his book “Borderwall as architecture,” he further explains how the simple line on a map transforms the way we experience the world.

While this art piece successfully communicated plenty of metaphors of inequality, of separation, of balances, psychological and emotional effects on children, this spotlight aims to cover some direct and broader perspectives of migration.

Render by Reechal Mevada


In the year 2154, a man desperately tries to get to Elysium, a space station where the ultrarich live in a luxurious world, while the rest of the human race remain on an overpopulated ruined Earth. The government will stop at nothing to enforce anti-immigration laws and preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium. However, the people on Earth continue to try getting in by other illegal means. On the other side (at Elysium), the defense secretary orders agents to shoot down refugees who try to land. In Neill Blomkamp worlds, robots and aliens mix with humans, high-tech body-modification is rife, and society is screwed. The seeds of this vision were sown in his youth. He grew up in apartheid-era Johannesburg and fell for sci-fi early, notably Alien and its sequel. By fourteen, he was a computer graphics whizz kid; at seventeen, he and his family, fleeing the violence of their homeland, emigrated to Canada, where he became a visual effects artist.

Monarch Scales

The first dive-in of a Monarch butterfly wing revealing the intricate scale structure, the pigmented scales, (fuzzy) borders. The borders of the wing evoke the borders between countries, notably between Canada, US and Mexico. The other films in these series, also directed by Alexis Gambis, cover additional by-products of the main research i.e., migration. In ‘When Butterflies Speak: Episode 2’, Cesar Maxit talks about his inspiration behind his artwork, notably the monarch butterfly poster entitled MIGRANT. He tells us how his art makes its way through the streets and how the monarch became a symbol to fight for undocumented workers.

Image via Labocine

Flu: The Great Migration

Where does the flu come from? How can science make the flu vaccine better? A scientist armed with pipe cleaners and 10,000 RNA samples explains.

Image via Labocine

This article was originally written for www.labocine.com/spotlights (an initiative by Imagine Science Films, NYC) and the short films featured on this post can be watched on Labocine.

Please reach out fictionmapper@gmail.com if you’d like to contribute to this space.

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