OTS grad course inaugural film festival – a resounding success!

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A quick post about our intense, crazy, magical, and much too short week at La Selva. The theme of this week was science communication and we were lucky to have Neil Losin and Nate Dappen from Day’s Edge Productions come down to La Selva and lead a 3 day workshop on video as a tool for communicating about science. We learned how to compose a shot, how to select shooting angles, how to use video and audio equipment, how to edit, and how to build a story (which proved to be the hardest part). Armed with these skills, the students began working with the best faculty we could have asked for: Terry McGlynn, Ralph Saporito, Marcia Snyder, and Gloriana Chaverri, who led field projects on frogs, ants, bats, and riparian spiders.

In the span of four days, each team had to design and carry out a research project as well as storyboard, shoot, and edit to make a three minute film about their work. There were many long days in the field and nights in the lab, working simultaneously on data and video processing. There were countless cups of coffee, enough Chicky (chocolate cookies) wrappers to fill a large trash can, and some very exhausted students. In the end, each group produced an amazing film. Each film was unique and told a story very much from their point of view. Each film was inspired. Each film was compelling. And if the audience’s reaction was any indication, these short films reached even the ¬†hardened La Selva scientists in the audience who have seen it all. I could call our first film festival a resounding success.

Now we move on to Cuerici and leave La Selva, begrudgingly. We could have stayed another week or month! But Cuerici is a magical place and this group needs some rest after an intense week of non-stop work. We will be without internet, without the distractions of the modern world. A chance to take a deep breath, to bond, to sit by the fire and drink hot chocolate, to walk in the paramo forest, and to do some independent research. We will rejoin the digital world in a week, so stay tuned. We will have stories to share.

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