Movies about Skoltech research will star superfly, carrot, and solar panel

On August 12, the Science Film Laboratory 2.0 pitched movie scripts to a panel of experts from the film industry and the academic community. Out of 19 projects, the experts selected the best 10 short film submissions to be supported by the laboratory’s grants. The filming will start this month. Half of the winning scripts explore discoveries of Skoltech labs.

Ksenia Kazazaeva’s “Phoenix” metaphorically describes a new solar panel developed at the Energy Center. The device is powered and simultaneously destroyed by the light energy it absorbs. The plot revolves around the researchers’ efforts to save the life of their much-cherished battery.

“Project Carondura” by Konstantin Zemlyansky chronicles the Agro Center’s pursuit of mechanisms to combat sclerotinia, a pathogenic fungus that destroys carrot crops. The director envisions his project as a mystery movie, exploring similarities between scientific research and detective work.

Artur Sukhonin’s “Super-Fly” pinpoints an upcoming famine that can only be warded off by a black soldier fly larva currently studied at the Agro Center. The fly is rich in protein and fat, but whether people are ready to eat larvae is a big question that hangs in the air until the end of the film.

Olga Domovtseva will shoot a short movie called “Situation: Hogweed,” offering a comedic perspective on the clash between the scientists who invented a technique to use hogweed for green energy batteries and activists of the anti-hogweed movement. Hogweed-based fuel cells are the subject of a collaborative study of the Energy Center and MSU.

Denis Danilov’s “Don’t Look at the Oil” portrays an innovative hydrogen production method under development at the Petroleum Center. The story about young enthusiastic scientists dreaming of a better future is sure to win the hearts even of those marginally familiar with chemistry.

The new documentaries will be included in an almanac scheduled to premiere in February 2024.