PlanktoniumJan van IJken / Netherlands / 2021 / 15 min

A dialogue-free, spectacular journey into microscopic space, where an alien microcosm of plankton opens before our eyes.

The unseen world of living microscopic plankton is discovered through a voyage into a secret universe, inhabited by alien-like creatures. These stunningly beautiful, very diverse and numerous organisms are unknown to most of us because they are invisible to the naked eye. However, they are wandering beneath the surface of all waters around us and they are of vital importance for all life on earth. Jan van IJken filmed the plankton through his microscopes without voice-over or explanation, revealing the beauty and delicate structures of the minute organisms in the finest detail. Renowned Norwegian artist Jana Winderen made a sound composition for the film. She is recording audio environments and creatures which are hard for humans to access, both physically and aurally – deep under water, inside ice or in frequency ranges inaudible to the human ear.

MicrobiomeStavros Petropoulos / Greece / 2021 / 27 min

A funny and warm field study from a Greek island where the inhabitants live to an unusually old age – and where a group of young scientists arrive to find out why.

On the Greek island of Ikaria, people live much longer on average than anywhere else. Why is that? That’s what a group of young researchers go there to find out, in a understatedly witty and warm cultural encounter between the ageing residents and the curious scientists. Two different worldviews collide in ‘Microbiome’, which is both funny and thought-provoking, getting both sides of the story – and asking science’s age-old fundamental question anew: can you observe the world without affecting it? And does the world us to observe it without affecting us right back? While the island’s elderly enjoy a drink at the tavern, the tenacious scientists try to let them analyse the microbiotic bacteria living in their stomachs.

The Two Faces of TomorrowPatrick Hough / Ireland, United Kingdom / 2021 / 38 min / International Premiere

An invisible scientist uncovers the ubiquitous influence of algae on our planet in a visually sumptuous science fiction documentary that stretches from the deepest past to the near future.

Algae have helped shape life on Earth in ways we can barely imagine. But in his visually exquisite science fiction documentary ‘The Two Faces of Tomorrow’, film artist Patrick Hough gives us a speculative insight into this peculiar life form. Through the observations of an unseen scientist, we move from a Roman bathhouse to a high-tech laboratory where a team of scientists in space suits are developing bio-fuels and artificial food. The relationship between human and non-human life forms is a rich field that Hough’s philosophically dizzying essay uncovers in thought-provoking threads that stitch together the relationships between algae and capitalism, the Earth and ourselves in new constellations.