Transitioning to live venues and online access, Sci-On! will showcase more than 30 live action shorts, documentaries and animated films May 4-9. Participants will have access to six days of content, planetarium shows and special events.
"This year's shorts are some of the best ever, truly award-worthy," Paul McFarlane, director of the University of Nevada, Reno's Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center, said. "I think people will enjoy the range of films, from comical to serious themes, with incredible action and stories -- and provocative technological and ethical questions."
In addition to light-hearted fare and pop culture, filmmakers explore serious issues in space travel and medicine, biology and climate change.
Outstanding directors from Hollywood and NASA join filmmakers from a dozen countries – as well as filmmakers from Reno – to tell amazing stories. Movie content ranges from conflict with androids and AI (real and imagined) to the amazing research being done to protect endangered wildlife and ecosystems.
"This year people have the option to join us in person to see the films -- or access them in HD online, asynchronously," McFarlane said. "For the in-person screenings, masks and social-distancing will be required, but it still allows us to have a community experience. Only a small number of passes will be sold, with our theaters purposely kept to under one-third capacity.”
The online passes will allow people to access the majority of the finalists for six days. All participants, in-person and online, will have the chance to vote and choose the winners.
The festival is a cooperative effort between the University of Nevada, Reno Astronomy Club and the non-profit Challenger Learning Center of Northern Nevada, with venues at the National Automobile Museum and the College of Science's Fleischmann Planetarium. Sci-On! has been conducted for six years, with venues at the University and in the community. Hundreds of films have been submitted from 46 different countries, with 36 finalists and honorable mention shorts showcased this year.
The organizers and talent — from directors who work with Jimmy Kimmel to NASA experts working to bring back samples of a remote asteroid — invite viewers to catch a glimpse of the future, or travel back to galaxies far, far away.
All proceeds from ticket sales go to support non-profit science education with local and national partners, from the Challenger Learning Center to the Fleischmann Planetarium and Science Center.
For schedules, to purchase online passes or make a donation, visit www.sci-on.org. Film trailers can also be found at the website.
Based at the National Automobile Museum and Nevada Space Center in Reno, the festival seeks to recognize, reward and showcase outstanding science and science-fiction films and filmmakers.