Announcing the Full Program for the 2017 Imagine Science Abu Dhabi Festival at NYU Abu Dhabi

A view of on of the highline bridges at the New York University Abu Dhabi campus on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi.

Press Release

Festival to open with acclaimed feature film Honey, Rain and Dust by Emirati filmmaker Nujoom Al Ghanem

The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi is proud to present Imagine Science Abu Dhabi 2017, happening at the NYU Abu Dhabi campus from March 2-4, 2017.

Returning to the Middle East for the third time, this interdisciplinary festival is a celebration of science and art through three feature films, 21 short films, a science-art gallery exhibition Spectrum, a science communication panel discussion, artist talks, and educational workshops. Showcasing the work of artists from the UAE and beyond, this three-day festival will be open to the public free of charge.

“The purpose of Imagine Science Abu Dhabi, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, is to facilitate an understanding of science for the common man by bringing together scientists who learn and decipher the world that we live in, and filmmakers who communicate this knowledge to everyone else,” said Alexis Gambis, visiting assistant professor of biology, film and new media at NYUAD, and founder of Imagine Science Films, a non-profit organization committed to promoting high-level dialogue between scientists and filmmakers since 2008.

Imagine Science Abu Dhabi 2017 will officially open on March 2 with the acclaimed feature film Honey, Rain and Dust by Emirati filmmaker Nujoom Al Ghanem. The film traces the developing dynamic in the context of occupational challenges that beekeepers face, whilst placing beekeeping in the spotlight.

Also opening on March 2 is Spectrum, the exhibit in the Project Space at the Arts Center, which is accompanying Imagine Science Abu Dhabi. It will present the subject of light examined through the eyes of five international artists. This will include Virtual Reality fly-through Fistful of Stars created by Eliza Mcnitt, a retrospective of the work of Pohjankonna Oy, a Finnish film production company, and the laser installation Bleu Gorgone by French artist Stéfane Perraud whose main subjects concern light and how it relates to knowledge and disaster both symbolically and scientifically. Several of the exhibitions offer a closer look at films that will be screened later at the festival.

Also among the films slated to be featured is English filmmaker Otto Bell’s The Eagle Huntress, which was shortlisted for an Oscar Award last year and is the story of the first female in 12 generations of a Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter. Following its screening will be a talk by Youssef Idaghour, NYUAD assistant professor of biology, on his research on developing genetic tools to facilitate population genetic analysis of falcons and other endangered wildlife.

The closing night of Imagine Science Abu Dhabi 2017 will include a screening of French filmmaker Antoine Viviani's film In Limbo, followed by a Q&A with the director. Viviani's poetic experimental documentary features interviews with digital luminaries such as Ray Kurzweil, Gordon Bell, and others. Alongside this historical and philosophical look at the internet age, we'll be considering the future of communication technology via a demonstration of M3diate, a multi-user VR environment that is being developed at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai.

For the full program of Imagine Science Abu Dhabi 2017, please visit


Notes to the editors:

Festival Details

Spectrum Exhibition
Light technology has always shaped how we see and understand the world, providing us new
insights, methods, and understandings of how to investigate our surroundings, and their scientific
and artistic subtexts. Spectrum will feature the subject of light examined by five international
artists. The exhibition will be in the Project Space at The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, and will
feature artist talks throughout the weekend. The exhibition is open from March 2-4, 2017, in
conjunction with the festival.

Student Film Lab
The Student Film Lab is a science film competition to teach local high schoolers the essentials
of storytelling and filmmaking. After gathering camera phone footage on a scientific theme,
students will be given a crash course in editing software. The competition prompt this year is
‘Shaping Light’.

Jury and Awards
This year’s jury includes Zaki Nusseibeh, cultural adviser to the Ministry of Presidential Affairs,
Wendy Bednarz, acclaimed filmmaker and photographer, and Pakinam Amer, deputy chief
editor of Nature Middle East.

Scientific Merit Award (500 USD)
The Scientific Merit Award is granted to the film that best exemplifies science in narrative
filmmaking in a compelling, credible, and inspiring manner.

The Scientist Award (500 USD)
Films made by and about scientists are eligible. The goal of this award is to encourage more
scientists to create films that let audiences into their minds, labs, and lifestyle.

Visual Science Award (500 USD)
The Visual Science Award is given to the film that best depicts science in a visually engaging manner.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.