Camp 4Science

What is Camp 4Science

The mission of this training and networking workshop is to stimulate the production of new popular science projects, educate creators of popular science audiovisual works, help projects reach the next stage of development and establish important connections within the documentary industry.

The workshop is open to popular science films, series, VR or TV formats and new media focused on communicating scientific findings. Every year, it supports the development (topics, visual approach, production, funds and distribution channels) of a wide range of science-related projects under the supervision of seasoned lecturers. The works include projects discussing the latest scientific development for a broad audience and highly artistic films with scientific elements and everything in between.

The workshop has been organized by the AFO festival since 2013. It has provided a space to interconnect audiovisual creators with science popularizers from the ranks of leading scientists and academics from the Czech Republic and abroad and to better communicate scientific research. This is possible thanks to the workshop being organized simultaneously with the AFO festival, which attracts the attention of the international audiovisual popular science industry and top science experts. The six-day workshop is concluded by public presentations (pitching) of projects from all over the world at the AFO Film Festival. The filmmakers have a chance to present their projects to international decision-makers, TV and festival representatives, producers and distributors.

Who can apply

It’s focused on producers and directors working on documentary projects in the development, production or post-production stage. We welcome participants with experience in documentary film production who are willing to learn more about the different perspectives of science. We are also happy to see participants with a scientific background or experience in communicating science who would like to learn how to present their research to the public via the medium of documentary film.

We support a wide range of projects with various scientific aspects. The works include projects discussing the latest scientific development for a broad audience and highly artistic films with scientific elements and everything in between. We are open to topics such as scientists’ biographies, historical topics from a scientific perspective or educational series for children. We accept projects dealing with any area of human knowledge and research (from philosophy to life sciences).

You can apply with a feature film, short film or series, VR/AR and immersive project, TV film in 52’ format and multimedia and gaming projects. Six projects will be selected for active participation in the workshop. To participate, knowledge and presentation in English are required.

Sandbox Award for Best Pitch

In 2023, we started a cooperation with Sandbox Films, setting up the Sandbox Award for the best pitch presented at the conference, accompanied by a financial reward of $25,000. Sandbox Films is an Emmy-winning production company nominated for an Academy Award that specializes in creative and groundbreaking documentaries based on scientific ideas with the potential to enrich society and culture. Thanks to this generous support, the workshop organizers were able to present the Sandbox Award for Best Pitch 2023 A Certain Civilization ($25,000), Ghost Dads ($10,000), Carbon Permanence ($10,000).

Mentors

Jess Harrop

Jessica Harrop is an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has dedicated her career to inspiring passion about science through film. She is the Head of Production and Development and a co-founder of Sandbox Films, where she shares responsibility for all project decisions and company strategy and acts as an executive producer for Sandbox Films documentaries including Oscar-nominated Fire of Love; Sundance Special Jury-Prize winning All Light, Everywhere; Emmy-winning Fathom; and Fireball, a documentary directed by Werner Herzog.

Ivo Bystřičan

Ivo Bystřičan (1980), director and dramaturg, graduate of sociology and social work at the Faculty of Social Sciences MU and documentary filmmaking at FAMU. For more than a decade he has been working on social issues in documentary filmmaking and public space. He is the author of such films as Copper Age (2011), Byeway (2013), My Latest 150 000 Cigarettes (2013), Near Twilight (2015) and Kovy Fixes History (2020).

Kumjana Novakova

As an author, her research lays between cinema and contemporary video art, often exploring how moving images address identities, memories and the collective self. Her last film Silence of Reason, in which she follows the experiences of women with violence during the war in the former Yugoslavia, won the Award for Best Documentary Film at the Sarajevo International Festival and the Award for Best Director of Documentary Film in the Envision section at the 2023 IDFA Festival.

Katerina Cizek

Katerina Cizek is an influential figure in international media, with over 25 years of experience as a Peabody- and Emmy-winning documentarian, author, producer, and senior leader working with collective processes and emergent technologies.

Hannah Critchlow

Dr Hannah Critchlow is an internationally-acclaimed neuroscientist, broadcaster, author and Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge. Best known for demystifying the human brain, she has appeared on BBC, ABC and Korean TV and Radio, notably in the Great Minds Series, Tomorrow’s World Live and BBC Radio 4’s Destiny and the Brain.

Important Dates

APPLICATION DEADLINE: 7 February 2024
LIST OF SELECTED PROJECTS PUBLISHED: March 2024
WORKSHOP DATES: 22 –  28 April 2024

Program

Group Work

The initial joint meeting of participants and mentors offers a space for mutual feedback and sharing of experiences. Participants and mentors gradually discuss the basic aspects of their projects, their intentions, and also their progress so far.

Masterclass of mentors and experts

Mentors focus on introducing their areas of expertise in case studies of their own practice. With regard to the selected projects, the topics of authorship in popular science film, narrative and visual style, funding opportunities, local and international co-productions, honing skills in presenting to an audience, networking or innovations in marketing and promotional practices are highlighted.

One-on-one meetings

Each participant will meet with up to 8 mentors and consultants. Mentors are dedicated to the projects throughout the workshop, working with the participants to find solutions to the main problems in the development process and offering comprehensive and expert guidance from the dramaturgical conception to the production and distribution phase. International consultants and other festival guests help the projects with other parts of the development such as research work, script writing, conducting interviews, and working with the protagonists.

ACCOMPANYING LECTURES AND OTHER FESTIVAL PROGRAM

The program also offers a series of accompanying lectures that develop the themes of environmental and sustainable filmmaking or present additional case studies of works by former project participants. Participants also take part in the festival’s public program, attending screenings of selected films and having the opportunity to discuss with the filmmakers.

NETWORKING

Networking meetings and a rich supporting program at a number of attractive venues facilitate future cooperation with world leaders in the popular science film industry and science.

Final presentations (pitching)

The public pitching of projects is the highlight of Camp4Science. In the unique venue of the Baroque Chapel, the participants will present the projects they have worked on to a professional audience, producers, distributors, representatives of scientific institutions, and the festival audience. The presentations are followed by individual meetings with selected guests, who discuss the individual comments in more detail with the participants.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Ivana Formanová
Head of Camp 4Science
formanova@afo.cz

Dominik Vontor
Coordinator of Camp 4Science
vontor@afo.cz

Barbora Zůnová
Coordinator of Camp 4Science
camp@afo.cz