Imagine Science Films Announces Imagine Science Abu Dhabi 2018

Press Release

Imagine Science Films (ISF) announces today Imagine Science Abu Dhabi 2018, presented by The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, taking place March 8-10. This interdisciplinary festival celebrates science and art through three feature films, two short film programs, a science-art gallery exhibition ‘Hybrid Futures’, an art-science careers panel discussion, gallery talks, and educational workshops.

The film festival and science-art exhibition will take place at NYU Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island campus and is open to the public. The Hybrid Futures Exhibition is free. Tickets to the festival will be available mid February at

In its fourth year, Imagine Science Abu Dhabi continues exploration of the global intersection between art and science. Kicking off with opening night feature Jane, a personal and deeply inspiring celebration of scientific field research and the life of groundbreaking primatologist Jane Goodall, this year’s festival will continue to explore the human experience and its intersections with the natural, medical, and technological worlds.

The personal-scientific thread continues with Friday night feature Unrest, which follows filmmaker Jennifer Brea’s own struggles with and search for treatment for the little-understood condition of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and culminates with Saturday night’s closing film, director Michael Almereyda’s science fiction Marjorie Prime, which explores Alzheimer’s Disease and plausible artificial intelligence scenarios in the near future in order to turn a technological mirror on the complexities of memory, love, and familial relationship.

These themes will be developed further with two afternoon short film programs mixing documentary and fiction film from the UAE, the Gulf, and beyond. On Friday, Fragile Lives, featuring Jim Savio’s Tabiib and four other films, bridges themes of family and health to study the sometimes precarious state of human existence. On Saturday, Hybrid Creatures, which opens with an expedition to Mars complete with a live musical performance, brings together all of our themes in seven films that explore the interrelations of humans, animals, and technology. Together, this year’s films shed light on what it means to be a member of homo sapiens in the 21st century.

Festival Details

Hybrid Futures Exhibition

All sci-art is a hybrid proposition, a cross-pollination of aesthetics and information, the visual and the intellectual. In Hybrid Futures, five international artists working in film, virtual reality, and illustration will take this concept further, exploring cutting-edge zones of sci-art catalysis to better assess the present and future state of the human and natural worlds.

Student Film Lab

The Student Film Lab is a science film workshop to teach local middle schoolers the essentials of science 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 ‘Hybrid Creatures’.

Jury and Awards


  • Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation
  • Ramesh Jagannathan, Vice Provost for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Managing Director of startAD, New York University Abu Dhabi
  • Khansa Al Blouki, Director of Environmental Outreach, Environmental Information, Science and Outreach Management, Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi
  • Kamal Aljafari, Filmmaker & Visiting Associate Arts Professor of Film and New Media, New York University Abu Dhabi


  • 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.