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The 94th Element

‘94 elements’ is a new cross-media project launched by director Mike Paterson that aims to raise awareness for the rate at which we are consuming our mineral resources through studying our relationships with them.

Both new and established film-makers have the opportunity to film a human story linked to one of the 94 mineral elements and how it is used in our daily lives.  Fortunately – for me at least – chemistry doesn’t have to be your strong point to appreciate the 7 minute shorts, as they are very much focused on the ‘human’ element of the story.

The interactive site opens with a virtual periodic table allowing you to click on an element and watch the film based on it.  Despite a disappointing lack of recognition for the majority of the elements in the table, I did manage to identify Oxygen and therefore watch BAFTA winner Marc Isaacs’ film, Oxygen – The Old Man and His Bed which follows Bob, a man who is confined to his hospital room in London a ward for respiratory conditions.

In Nino Kirtadze’s film on Gadolinium – which is used to provide the contrast in MRI scans - the element takes more of a peripheral role. The Scan, set in Georgia, makes no mention of the element itself and shows the tragi-comic scene of a family discussing the possible ailments of a family member after he has an MRI scan on his shoulder.

Paterson says he is pleased with the positive response the films are receiving as so far donations have reached $18,000, which is enough for three new films.  Last week Dutch film-maker Helmie Stil won the pitch event at the Sheffield Doc fest for her film on Osmium, which will reveal stories behind the fingerprints of prisoners in the Netherlands. 

New or budding film-makers have the opportunity to pitch their film ideas to make the next two films.  The project is looking for ‘surprising, moving, funny and unique human stories involving the elements’.  If you have a good idea, you can submit your pitch for the two other film spots for the chance to win the $8,000 grant by following the links on the website, or alternatively donate to the project.

For more info click here

 

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