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Raw Science Film Festival: Bridge Between Science and Media

Event comes to Santa Barbara Jan. 5-7

Participants in last year’s Raw Science Film Festival awards event:
UCSB’s Philip Lubin, left; fashion designer Mojan Hos; Supremes singer Susaye Greene; scientist Azam Shaghaghi; educator/actress Janet Ivey-Duensing; entrepreneur Farnaz Ghadaki.
Participants in last year’s Raw Science Film Festival awards event: UCSB’s Philip Lubin, left; fashion designer Mojan Hos; Supremes singer Susaye Greene; scientist Azam Shaghaghi; educator/actress Janet Ivey-Duensing; entrepreneur Farnaz Ghadaki. (Courtesy photo)

The 4th annual Raw Science Film Festival, which honors films on science and technology worldwide, will be playing in various Santa Barbara venues, Jan. 5-7.

Keri Kukral, CEO/founder of Raw Science TV, has announced the lineup of events. Categories include fiction and non-fiction for students and professionals.

“The mission of the festival is to ensure fact-based scientific experts stay at the forefront of popular culture. The festival brings science fiction to life during an inspiring weekend of fun, entertainment and public service,” Kukral said.

Kukral is a bioengineer and ballet dancer who is interested in the intersection of science and media. She is active as well in empowering girls and women in STEM through access to energy and connectivity.

Kukral earned a degree in bio/electrical engineering at Purdue University and has worked in R&D developing medical devices at Abbott Laboratories, EV3 Neurovascular, and ViaCyte.

She started the TV channel by winning an entrepreneurial pitch competition through Caltech and IdeaLab.

Kukral created the Raw Science Foundation to promote STEAM education globally through access to energy and connectivity, particularly for girls and women.

During the Raw Science Festival, there will be film screenings, exhibitions and workshops. The event event begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 5 with an opening-night VIP reception at the University Club.

A black-tie, red-carpet awards ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Lobero Theatre with Paul Hynek, president of EZ Numbers as emcee.

Recent Nobel Prize-winner, Kip Thorne will “roll down the red carpet via Beam robot” to present the annual Kip Thorne Gravity Award.

Entertainment will include a song by Susaye Greene, who was a member of Motown's The Supremes; plus performances by La Boheme Dance Company and WJM Band.

Among the speakers will be experts on interstellar travel, human longevity, scalable healthcare, the ethics of space travel, and the Afghan Girls Robot Team.

In true interdisciplinary spirit, Jatila van der Veen, project scientist I, UCSB Department of Physics, will perform with La Boheme Dance Company in the opening act.

Choreographed by artistic director Teresa Kuskey Nowak, former ballerina with NYC Ballet and American Ballet Theater, the opening act pays musical tribute to the great sci-fi films 2001 A Space Odyssey and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The performance also celebrates all races, nations and genders in the future of space exploration.

On Jan. 7, a series of workshops, with experts from the Hollywood and scientific communities is scheduled from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol.

Participants include film producer Lynda Obst (Interstellar, Contact) and writer/producer John Spaihts (Promethus, Dr. Strange, Passengers).

Purpose of the workshops is to bridge scientific and educational art/media fields to engage global communities in science communication.

“This festival will create a wonderful opportunity for cross-fertilization between filmmakers, scientists, and the public, stoking the imaginations of all who participate," said Phil Lubin, workshop presenter and UCSB physics professor.

Award ceremony and workshop speakers are: Dianne Newman, Caltech/Rosalind Franklin Society; Jason Derleth, NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts; Yvonne Cagle, astronaut; and Richard Garwin, physicist (via Skype).

Also, Roya Mahboob, Digital Citizen Fund; Esther Dyson, investor/philanthropist; Peter Samuelson, producer/philanthropist;  Lubin; Joon Yun, Palo Alto Prize; Afghan Girls Robotics Team; Nancy Conrad, Conrad Foundation; and Michael Waltemathe.

The Afghan Girls Robotics Team won a silver medal at the first robotics competition held in Boston in July. The team will be speaking and exhibiting its new robot.

The festival is trying to raise money for the cost of the team members' flights through GoFundMe, afghan-girls-robot-team-at- rsff2017.

Ticket prices for the festival range from $10 for students to $150 VIP which includes all the weekend’s events. To buy tickets and for full programming details, visit

Along with Kukral, the festival is produced by William Nix of Creative Projects Group and Michelle McIntosh of Willow Creek Pictures. Partners include:

UCSB Department of Physics, Arthur C Clarke Center for Human Imagination, Rosalind Franklin Society, Conrad Foundation, Explore Mars, Anti-Defamation League, Santa Barbara Film Commission, and Santa Barbara Visitors Bureau.

Also, Vortex Immersion Media, Lobero Theater, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, University Club Santa Barbara, and Fraunhofer MEVIS. The festival is through Raw Science Foundation. The 501(c) (3) fiscal sponsor is Partnerships for Change.

—  Rochelle Rose for Raw Science Film Festival.


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