Science Film Sprint

The World Congress of Science and Factual Producers, with the support of LiveLab at Griffith Film School, launched the inaugural Science Film Sprint film competition at Congress '18 in Brisbane, from November 27 to 30, 2018.

Five documentary and factual filmmakers were paired with five leading scientists to produce a creative short science film over 72 hours during Congress '18. Teams collaborated to bring compelling and clearly articulated science stories to international audiences. Each team developed the film’s concept using the scientist’s field of specialization and their scientific work as a jumping off point.

The selected filmmakers and scientists met on November 27. Teams had three days to collaborate and develop, write, shoot and edit their film.

The completed films screened on the final day of Congress and will be available online. Our esteemed judges, Shaminder Nahal from Channel 4, Takahiro Hamano from NHK and the new WCSFP conference director Paul Lewis, determined the winner following the screening.

The Scientists

Caitlin Curtis

The University of Queensland (Australia)


Peter Musk

The Edge, State Library of Queensland (Australia)


Leigh Ellen Potter

IDEA Lab, Griffith University (Australia)


Caitlin Syme

Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist (Australia)


Bruno van Swinderen

Queensland Brain Institute (Australia)


The Filmmakers

Tessie Liddell

Filmmaker (Australia)


Gabriel Murphy

Filmmaker (Australia)


Joshua Radford

Filmmaker (Australia)


Kirsty Slemint

Filmmaker (Australia)


Rosario Jiménez-Gili

Filmmaker (Chile)


Rules & Guidelines

Total runtime of the completed film must be no less than 2 minutes and no more than 5 minutes, including titles and credits. The competition organisers will consider requests for durations under 2 minutes if appropriate to the proposed film concept.

Completed films should aim for a PG rating; there should be no swearing, extreme violence, sexual content/nudity, or adult themes.

Stock Footage
If required to advance or explain the story stock footage and/or existing scientific footage or images previously created by the participating scientists may comprise up to 20% of the film duration. All other material must be generated by the film team during the official competition period.

Any video or film camera may be used during the production. Animation, motion graphics, and special effects are permitted but they must be generated during the official competition period, aside from the exceptions noted above.

The successful applicants may use their own equipment but will be able to access cameras and other equipment supplied by Griffith Film School, including post-production facilities, subject to need, availability and familiarity with the equipment. Inductions may be offered, if required.

There is no restriction on the type of camera or other equipment used, provided that the final delivery is in a digital file format, to be detailed to the successful applicants. Griffith Film School is not able to support, or process work done on celluloid.

Completed films must be delivered no later than 10:00 a.m. AEST on Friday, November 30. Delivery instructions and technical specifications will be outlined to the successful applicants.

End credits must include the LiveLab, Griffith Film School and WCSFP logos and the phrase “Produced with the support of LiveLab at Griffith Film School, for the Science Film Sprint at the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers.”

Filmmakers and scientists will be given a production stipend of $500 AUD per team, provided by Griffith Film School. This can be used for cast/crew, equipment hire, location fees, catering, and any other production-related costs. Expenses should be accounted for with all receipts and a cost breakdown provided. Any money remaining should be returned to the film competition after delivery of the completed film.

Any further costs which exceed the $500 provided are solely the responsibility of the filmmaking teams.

The rights to the films belong to the filmmaking teams, with a 50/50 ownership between filmmakers and scientists. Films can be freely distributed wherever the filmmaking team sees fit (festivals, online etc) beginning on December 1, 2018.

The World Congress of Science and Factual Producers and Griffith Film School reserve the non-exclusive right to use the film after the competition for non-commercial purposes including promotional or educational purposes for a period of 2 years from the film completion date ending on December 1, 2020.

The filmmaking teams shall not distribute or advertise their film in any way during the official competition period. Any pre-screening or online release of the completed films prior to the official screening on November 30 at World Congress of Science and Factual Producers is not permitted.

Access to licenced production music will be provided but each team must secure releases for talent, crew, locations, and any other applicable releases or paperwork, or any music outside that offered through the competition. All paperwork must be submitted with the completed film. Standard release forms will be provided.

The Teams must submit a certification statement with their completed entry, certifying adherence to all official rules and guidelines.

If any filmmaking teams are found to have breached the guidelines of the competition or acted inappropriately, the competition organizers reserve the right to disqualify the team and their film from official competition.

The official competition period will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 27 and end at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 30. The participating teams must deliver their completed films no later than 10:00 a.m. on November 30 to be eligible for screening and judging.

All creative work must take place during the official competition period. Any creative work started or completed in advance of the Competition is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Script writing
  • Rehearsing
  • Costume and Production Design
  • Filming
  • Editing
  • Sound Editing

SoundPound will provide free music and/or original composition for all films.

The only initial preparation that may be started prior to the film competition commencing includes the following:

  • Research
  • Securing Equipment
  • Finding Crew
  • Scouting/Securing Locations

All participants must attend two key events: the official competition launch on Tuesday, November 27, 10:00 a.m.) and the screening and judging panel on Friday November 30, 2:15 p.m. A no-show will automatically disqualify films from the final award.

The winning filmmaker will receive a pass to attend Congress '19, as well as return flights and accommodation from anywhere in Australia or the equivalent if travelling from a country outside of Australia.

The films will be judged by a jury of established industry members.

The completed films will be judged by the jury against the following criteria:

  • Creative approach - 30%
  • Technical quality - 30%
  • Clarity and communication of the science - 40%