"...a riotous mix of humor, video clips and audio clips, and behind-the-scenes photos to illustrate their production process..."


Bringing Science to Life With Experimental Documentary
Sunday, March 13, 2016
3pm-4pm, with Q&A 4pm-4:30pm
Rackham Auditorium, 915 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Free and open to the public.

Through a mix of paper craft, digital animation, documentary film and radio journalism, Lichtman and Shattuck, the co-founders of Sweet Fern Productions, engage audiences with science. Their New York Times Op-Docs series "Animated Life" highlights paradigm-shifting scientific discoveries using stringent journalism and handmade paper puppets. ‘Animated Life: Seeing The Invisible’ won the 2015 CINE Golden Eagle Award for best documentary short. 

Lichtman and Shattuck also created a two-part series, funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and published on the media website Vox, where they translated new scientific research papers into tiny films using experimental animation, documentary storytelling, and one deep-voiced, comically timed narrator.

In their talk, Bringing Science to Life With Experimental Documentary, Shattuck and Lichtman will divulge the forking paths that led them to become science storytellers and “accidental puppeteers.” They’ll use a riotous mix of humor, video clips, audio clips and behind-the-scenes photos to illustrate their production process, and they’ll reveal the ways in which they use traditional storytelling forms--documentary film, radio, and animation--to create unusual work that captures the imagination.

Flora Lichtman Bio

Flora has been covering science and the environment for the last decade. Her science reporting -- radio, video and writing -- has appeared on NPR, in The New York Times, Popular Science, The Atlantic and in a number of film festivals. She is the co-director of the New York Times Op-Docs series "Animated Life" -- short films on pivotal scientific discoveries, animated with paper puppets. She is host of the public radio podcast The Adaptors. Prior to that, Flora was the managing editor of video and substitute host for Science Friday, a two-hour live public radio show. She is co-author of Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us. Before getting into journalism, she worked at a NATO lab, studying marine mammals in the Mediterranean. (A good gig.)

Sharon Shattuck Bio

Sharon Shattuck is a filmmaker and animator. She is the co-director of the New York Times Op-Docs series "Animated Life" -- short films on pivotal scientific discoveries, animated with paper puppets. Her feature film debut, From This Day Forward, a memoir about growing up with a transgender parent, premiered in 2015 at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and internationally at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto, and will have a six-city theatrical run in Spring 2016, followed by a Summer 2016 US television broadcast. Her animations are featured in several award-winning documentary films, including the Emmy-nominated The City Dark, which aired on PBS’s POV series in 2012, and The Search For General Tso, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. Her short video and animation work has appeared on PBS, Slate, ProPublica, Vice, and Radiolab. Before getting into journalism, she volunteered as a research assistant with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and worked at the Field Museum in the department of botany. She has a B.S. from U of M’s Program in the Environment, and an M.A. in journalism from New York University.

This event is sponsored by UM Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program and Michigan Radio



with generous support from:
The College of Literature Science and the Arts
Penny Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series
U-M Museum of Natural History
Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
Screen Arts and Cultures (SAC)
Science Learning Center (SLC)
The WISE-Residence Program (WISE-RP)