Element Film Festival combines science and art

Film still from “Vitamin Conspira-C” (15:00) by Christina Choate.

At first glance, film and science seem like two unrelated and opposite disciplines, but this Friday the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program will continue its tradition of combining these two very distinct fields when it hosts the Element Film Festival. Since its debut in 2005, the festival has given students in the MFA program a chance to show their videos to the public.

Montana State University’s MFA program in Science and Natural History Filmmaking was started in 2000 and remains the one of the only programs of its type in the world. Its mission is to take graduate students with backgrounds in engineering and the sciences and turn them into filmmakers.

The short films created through the MFA graduate program aim to inform the public about an array of scientific topics. They range from documentaries on some of the world’s deadliest snakes to animated films about the life of an atom starting from the big bang.

Film still from “DisSOLVE” (14:16) by Taylor Johnson.

The Element Film festival is run by a different group of graduate students each year, resulting in a unique feel from year to year. In its early years, the event was held on campus and was not widely publicized. In the eight years since its beginning the event has grown from a relatively secluded film viewing to a much larger gathering in downtown Bozeman featuring films from around the world.

This year’s Element Film festival promises to both entertain and inform through an eclectic combination of content.

After receiving a record-breaking number of submissions, this year’s festival includes a total of 16 films, three of which were created by students from universities outside of the U.S. Past participants have been featured in international film festivals and have gone on to win numerous awards.

This year, the festival will coincide with the science-based Element Gallery, currently on display at the Emerson in the Weaver room. On the night of the festival, the gallery will host a special reception prior to the film screenings.

The festival costs $5 and the art gallery display opens at 5 p.m. Film screenings start at 6:30 p.m. For more information go to www.elementfilmfestival.com.