Two short films on genomics – free to stream

The Scottish Documentary Institute would like to draw your attention to two short science documentaries made by Scottish filmmakers which can be used in secondary schools and college education.

Last year two filmmakers, Lindsay Goodall and Cameron Duguid, were granted a residency at the ESRC Genomics Forum and Network during which two 10-minute documentaries were produced, EAST END JOURNEY and SIMPLY COMPLEX.

EAST END JOURNEY takes a look at Glasgow’s life expectancy statistics. Could epigenetics be the cause of excess mortality in Scotland’s biggest city?

The animated film SIMPLY COMPLEX asks: How has the unravelling of genomes impacted our idea of genetic determinism? And what can data realistically tell us about ourselves?

You can watch both short films for free here on our website.

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Australian screenings of Stem Cell Revolutions spark students' imagination

SCR-1.JPGIn October, Stem Cell Revolutions travelled to Australia where it screened to over 450 high school students in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. 

At each screening, students had the opportunity to have their questions about the stem cells and careers in science answered by Clare Blackburn, EuroStemCell's project coordinator and co-producer of the film, as well as a panel of local stem cell experts. Clare's visit to Australia, and the screenings of the film, were generously supported by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia as part of their commitment to educating the community about the potential of stem cell science.

The film set the scene by telling the history of stem cell research – from how stem cells were first revealed in the body, to the latest scientific and clinical developments. With beautiful drawings to illustrate how stem cells turn into the cells of the body and informative interviews with key scientists - including the 2012 Nobel Prize winners Shinya Yamanaka and John Gurdon, and Sir Ian Wilmut, creator of Dolly the sheep - the students were captivated by the possibilities of this exciting field.


Inspired by the film, the students surprised the panel - and many of their teachers - with their thought provoking questions. In a fascinating exchange after each screening, the students grilled the panel about how to control differentiation, the moral and ethical issues associated with using stem cells, and where the line between reality and science fiction lies – now and in the future. Scientists also shared careers tips and some fascinating insights on life in the lab.

One of the Melbourne teachers commented:

"Students were excited about the possibilities of the research and were able to imagine themselves in the shoes of the people on screen, doing the same great work. They were worried or curious about the implications of the discoveries and were pleased to have the scientists to talk to about it."

Like the students, we learned a lot from the experience. Clare Blackburn adds: 

"The events were inspirational! After each screening students raised new and challenging questions, often reaching the very frontier of scientific understanding. It was also great to collaborate and see new ideas emerge as we worked alongside our Australian colleagues."

The series of Australian screenings was arranged by Stem Cells Australia.

If you haven't seen Stem Cell Revolutions yet you can watch it online or order a DVD here.

Series of screenings in Australia

We have a series of screenings coming up in Australia. Please check our calendar.

Presentation 'Stem Cells: A Vision of the Future'

Professor Clare Blackburn and Dr Amy Hardie deliver a presentation exploring the history, biology, hopes and fears of stem cell research, the product of an innovative partnership between a stem cell research scientist and a documentary film director.

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More screenings to celebrate the Nobel Prize

Coinciding with the Nobel Prize ceremony in Sweden on 10 December, more screenings of STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS are being organised. We have already confirmed events at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh, at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.

Maybe you want to hold one where you are?

Update: Just added a screening in Cambridge. All events include Q&A with scientists.

Update 2: Just added two screenings at the Glasgow Film Theatre on 28 January (with Q&A) and 30 January.

Update 3: Three more screenings across the UK in March: in Cambridge, Biggar, and Caithness.

Nobel Prize for stem cell scientists Shinya Yamanaka and John Gurdon (both in the film)

Stem_Cell_Revolutions__Professor-Shinya-Yamanaka-2.pngStem cell researchers Shinya Yamanaka (pictured) and John Gurdon have just been awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine. Both are featured in the film STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS

Commenting on the news, Clare Blackburn, science producer of the film and one of the professors at the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, said: "The work of John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka has been transformative. We are so delighted to hear this news."

Filmmaker Amy Hardie added: "So many scientists have said that Shinya Yamanaka has overturned our understanding of basic developmental biology. And he has – with the discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells.

"What Shinya Yamanaka himself points out and we were able to show in our film STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS, is the lineage from John Gurdon who cloned frogs in Cambridge. Shinya's groundbreaking discovery would not have been possible without Gurdon's pioneering work.

"This is a Nobel Prize that celebrates both how science progresses from generation to generation and how individual scientists with one experiment can overturn knowledge that had been enshrined in biology textbook for years.

"It's been an honour to have been granted the access to both John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka and to have them generously explain their groundbreaking innovations in language a non-scientist can understand."

Here is a clip from the film that links Gurdon and Yamanaka. There's much more about Yamanaka's work in the film.

You can preview, rent, or buy the whole 70-minute film for personal or educational use here. You can also embed the clip below using the Share button on the top right when playing.

Player image: Stem cell pioneers Shinya Yamanaka, Ian Wilmut, John Gurdon in STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS

Review: "fascinating...provocative...elegant and deeply instructive"

Our film just got reviewed in the influential Cell Stem Cell magazine:

"In their new documentary Stem Cell Revolutions, filmmakers Amy Hardie, director/producer, and Clare Blackburn, stem cell biologist, team up to present a fascinating portrait of the history of stem cell science and a provocative peek into its future. This is an elegant and deeply instructive piece of work, with wide potential for raising awareness of the promise and possibilities of stem cell science—both in formal educational settings and among lay generalists who are curious about the this area of biological investigation."

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40% off educational download

Watch STEM CELL REVOLUTIONSFor a limited time, STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS is available as download for educational use at the introductory price of £49 (€55, $79). The regular price will be £85.

The package includes the full film download, the five thematic chapters as separate files, and a Teacher Pack. All will be yours to keep with no time limit on its use. You can download the educational package straight from Distrify. (If your institution cannot pay by card or by PayPal and needs an invoice for a bank transfer, please use this form to place your order.)

As the film was funded in the United Kingdom, we're able to offer some very special deals to secondary schools in the UK. Please see this page for an overview of all our products for educational use.

Review: "approachable, entertaining, easy to follow"

STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS just got reviewed in the Stem Cell Directory:

"Director/Producer Amy Hardie and Science Producer Dr Clare Blackburn do a great job of taking such a scientific/technical issue as stem cells and making it approachable, entertaining, and easy to follow. The film is a great way to introduce stem cells to non-technical audiences such as teachers and students."

Read the full review here. Get the film here.

Now also out on DVD

Stem Cell Revolutions on DVDWe launched streaming and downloadable products last month, and they've proven very popular (especially the introductory offer for our educational download).

Now the film is widely available on DVD as well, both for personal and educational use. Starting at £9.50 (€10.90, $15.90), shipping to 60 countries is already included in the price of our DVDs. Just order your copy straight from the video player.

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