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New and exciting research can provide a number of good stories, which could be recorded, edited and transformed into a short film. These films could then be viewed by an audience at a film festival, either one specifically designed to showcase short films about science or submitted to an externally planned event.

Short films are a creative way of presenting the story behind the research and the potential impacts this work could have upon society as a whole. This can then be presented in a way that is engaging, but also educational at the same time.

During the film festival, films can be separated into a number of categories, and usually, a panel of judges will decide on which films best demonstrate the theme, category, or some specific judging criteria. At the end of the event, there is an award ceremony for the winners of the festivals, a select few from each category and perhaps an overall winner, depending on the format you chose.

Target Audience
  • Adult citizens
  • Children 3-6
  • Children 7-12
  • Families
  • Policymakers
  • Stakeholders
  • Teenagers

You can do it with all those groups, but we did it with professionals from different fields like public engagement or the cultural and creative sector.



Films are an easily accessible medium for most people, and through effective cinematography, they can present new perspectives on the world around us, such as the “day in the life of a chemical molecule”. A well-made film can communicate a lot of information in a way that sparks people’s interest, but also it can also provide filmmakers and academics with a deeper understanding of the social relevance of their research and can give them an opportunity to learn how to present their research in a novel way. Films like these can be especially appealing to young people.


  • (Decide on a theme for the festivals).
  • Rent a cinema hall or another suitable event location.
  • Decide on the film categories.
  • Put out a call for film submissions, contributors may be producing films specifically for your festival, so you need to allow for a long period of time between the opening of submissions and the deadline.
  • Invite a panel of experts to judge the entries.
  • Organise a panel discussion on your selected theme, or about science filmmaking.
  • Promote your event
  • Consider catering
  • Recruit sponsors


  • Film festivals can be combined with other formats such as debates, discussions and lectures. It has been found that visitors are much more interested in a combination of formats, so you may want to showcase the film, and follow it with a discussion with a relevant scientist or expert.
  • These sorts of events can be costly to run e.g. the rental cost for a suitable venue.
  • Depending on if you are asking researchers to submit films they have already created, or are wanting submissions especially made for this festival, you may need to put out a call for submissions a long time before you want to organise the festival. You may also ask for factual or fictional films depending on the aims of the festival.