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Communicating science through filmmaking


The UPR-RP IGERT Program in collaboration with the Environmental Science Program had its first science filmmaking course from May 22nd – 31st, 2011 at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. The main purpose of the course was to teach students multimedia communication skills. Have students take their research and not only publish in a peer reviewed journal but also publish it in multimedia format for the general public. For IGERT fellows this special course was complimentary to the IGERT core course of Environmental Communication they were taking during this spring semester.

For 10 intense days, course instructors, Jeff Morales and Colin Bates, emphasized the importance of storytelling in science filmmaking. They stressed that natural history and science films that have beautiful images look great but if there isn’t a story behind those images than you will not captivate the audience. Students worked 10 hours day in the field and in the lab, conducting small exercises every day and developed a final short film about a science topic they were interested in. Most students had never even worked with a camera much less produced a short science film. This special course has motivated them to continue working with audiovisual communication. Today we have a few students already developing other short films about different environmental problems in Puerto Rico. Furthermore, a number of students are planning to create short science films about their dissertation work to show to the general public.

To see four short films developed in the course please visit our UPR-RP IGERT webpage ( Two of these films, For the Love of Turtles and Garbage: problem or treasure, were submitted to the first Short-films Festival of the San Juan Estuary Program held in San Juan Puerto Rico and they won first and second place respectively. See news article here: