Athena Cinema To Participate In National “Science On Screen” Event

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On this edition of Conversations from Studio B, Kelee Riesbeck talks with Ruth Bradley and Alexandra Kamody about the upcoming national "Science on Screen" event, taking place Monday, March 31 at the Athena Cinema.

Seventeen independent theaters across the country will participate in the event, which will feature a unique film and speaker presentation at each venue as part of its Science on Screen program.

The Athena will screen Soylent Green with a talk featuring Ohio University Russ Professor of Chemical Engineering Gerri Botte, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Athena chose to feature the 1973 sci-fi thriller for several reasons.

"We wanted to pick a fun film that would get our audience excited about the topic," said Athena Cinema Operations Director Alexandra Kamody. "Soylent Green had a campy, cult classic aspect but still retained the message of societal anxieties concerning the environment. The Athena has been very involved with Ohio University’s sustainability initiatives and we realized this would be a great way to integrate Science on Screen into that discussion."

Before the film, Botte will discuss her work with clean, renewable energy sources and technologies–including converting human wastewater into hydrogen for use in fuel cells, also known as "pee-to-power"–followed by an audience Q&A.

The Athena’s next Science on Screen, slated to take place during the 41st Annual Athens International Film + Video Festival (April 11-17) will feature a screening of Particle Fever paired with a talk by Professor and Chair of the Ohio University Physics and Astronomy Department, David Ingram.

Particle Fever is a documentary that explores a group of physicists on the cusp of one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time.

With Science on Screen, theaters pair a variety of films with science and technology experts. Each film serves as a jumping-off point for the expert speaker to explore a related scientific or technological topic in a way that engages general audiences – from time perception in Inception to the theoretical neurobiology of the zombies in The Night of the Living Dead.

This program began in 2005 at Coolidge Corner Theatre in Boston, Mass., and has since expanded to other independent cinemas through a national grant initiative funded by the prestigious Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and administered by the Coolidge.

The Athena was among only 20 cinemas to receive a Science on Screen grant in 2013. This was the second year the Athena was selected to receive the grant.

"We're delighted to join with the Coolidge in expanding Science on Screen to independent theaters across the country and to celebrate the surprising insights and sheer fun of looking at great movies from a fresh scientific and technological perspective," said Doron Weber, vice president, Programs, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "Science and technology are fundamental to both the making of the modern world and our understanding of it, and the movies are a gateway to that exhilarating convergence of our two cultures, whether it's original films honored or developed through our own independent 'studio system,' Oscar-winning films like Gravity or Her, classic and cult favorites, and so on."

The national evening of Science on Screen aims to highlight the rich and varied connections between science and film. Movie-and-speaker pairings will address such diverse concepts as time travel, human memory, robotics, space exploration, and green energy.

Each participating theater will present a different program, with audiences nationwide experiencing the excitement of discovery as they enjoy some scientific enlightenment along with their popcorn.

The 17 cinemas participating in the national evening of Science on Screen are as follows: Amherst Cinema, Amherst, Mass.; Athena Cinema, Athens, Ohio; Athens Ciné, Athens, Ga.; BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Brooklyn, N.Y.; Belcourt Theatre, Nashville, Tenn.; California Film Institute/Smith Rafael Film Center, San Rafael, Calif.; Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe, Santa Fe, N.M.; Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, Mass.; Dairy Centre for the Arts, Boulder, Colo.; Enzian Theatre, Maitland, Fla.; Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul, Minneapolis, Minn.; Hollywood Theatre, Portland, Oreg.; The Little Theatre, Rochester, N.Y.; Michigan Theater, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Nickelodeon Theatre, Columbia, S.C.; SIFF Cinema, Seattle, Wash.; and The State Theatre of Modesto, Modesto, Calif.

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