The theme of the 13th Imagine Science Film Festival is "MIGRATION"

Pathogens are currently migrating from animals to humans The flight of the arctic tern, the multi-generational travels of the monarch butterfly, the return of eels to the streams they hatched in. The arduous journeys of displaced peoples. Data systems in flux. The complex movements of cells, from embryonic origins to developed organisms. This year we seek MIGRATIONS of all kinds.

Though this subject is the special focus of this year's festival, we'll also be accepting films of any and all other genres, methodologies, and subjects, as always.


Founded by scientists in 2008, the Imagine Science Film Festival is committed to promoting a high-level dialogue between scientists and filmmakers. But not only through the usual channels -- where many other science film outlets focus on classic televsion-style documentary or science fiction, ISFF radically expands the conversation and reaches diverse audiences through a blend of inventive documentaries, thought-provoking scientific fiction, data and visualizations straight from the labs, and stunning experimental film. The resulting hybrid programming defies preconceived notions and provides a unique forum for new ideas and interdisciplinary collaboration, as well as some of the finest filmmaking in the world. The festival also actively cultivates forward-thinking scientific cinema through annual Symbiosis competitions challenging scientists and filmmakers to work together to create groundbreaking new work.

The festival takes place over one week each October at locations around New York City, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Rubin Museum, National Sawdust, the New School, Museum of the Moving Image, BRIC Arts, Rockefeller University, and NYU.

All of our short films, fiction or documentary, are eligible for several awards, with cash prizes ranging from $500 and up, including the Scientific Merit Award (given to the film that best portrays credible science in a narrative context), the Scientist Award (given to the film, made by or about a scientist, that best portrays a scientist's life and work), the Visual Science Award (given to the film that best illustrates scientific principles in a visually stunning manner), the SciArt Award (given to the film that best bridges art and science), and the Audience Choice Award (as determined by audience voting).

ISFF seeks all films that address scientific or technological themes and stories, or that have a leading character who is a scientist, engineer, or mathematician.

SUBMISSIONS need to adhere to the underlying requirement of IMAGINE SCIENCE which is that science and/or scientists need to be presented in a narrative framework - in a compelling yet credible manner.

Submissions must be in English or have English subtitles, and there must be a preview AND screening copy available in English or with English subtitles, excepting music videos and films without dialogue.

If your film is accepted, ISFF generally screens from digital files. We may also be able to discuss screening in other formats as allowed by our venues and programming each year.

All filmmakers will receive notification, whether or not their film is chosen to screen. Notifications will be sent out on or before October 1st. Please DO NOT contact us to find out whether or not your film has been received. We do not have a large enough staff to respond to such inquiries.

ISFF accepts submissions for PREVIEW through private screener links

Feel free to send along any additional press material, cast and crew bios or any other information about your film. We will say, however, that it will most likely NOT influence our selections in any way.

Should your work be selected to be part of the Imagine Science Film Festival, Imagine Science Films will reserve the right to show your film through the end of that year in case of rescheduling.

We will also ask filmmakers if they would like to participate in our Satellite festivals and be exhibited in our new online video archive and magazine,

If your work is accepted as part of ISFF we would love for you to be able to attend the screening of your work. Unfortunately, Imagine Science Films is not typically able to cover travel or accommodation.

Overall Rating
  • Nidhi Gupta

    Great festival and great people running the festival.

    October 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks so much, Nidhi.