Gustavus Alumni to Host Inaugural Northstar Science Film Festival this Weekend

1996 Gustavus graduates Ryan Johnson and Kevin Dragseth have played a pivotal role in launching the new festival.
Posted on September 13th, 2016 by

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TPT Studios is set to host the inaugural Northstar Science Film Festival this weekend.

Two Gustavus Adolphus College alumni are combining science and film-making in a new film festival taking place this weekend. Thursday, September 15, marks the beginning of the Northstar Science Film Festival, a new science-entertainment film festival being launched by festival chairman and founder Ryan Johnson and director of communications Kevin Dragseth, both members of the Gustavus Class of 1996.

The three-day festival features entertaining films of all kinds—from serious documentaries to animated shorts, to blockbusters like “Captain America: Civil War.” But every film comes with a thoughtful discussion featuring filmmakers and scientists, who explore how story and science work together in the film, or tease out the science that might not be obvious, and discuss its impact on society. In addition, there are hands-on activities for all ages, explosive demonstrations of physics and engineering, and free family-friendly events. Gustavus professor Scott Bur has been very involved in the planning (and will likely be making an appearance on stage). Professors Chuck Niederriter and Michael Ferragamo will also be speaking at the conference on September 17.

“This festival is unlike anything else going on. This is about an experience of science and entertainment that is fascinating and fun,” Johnson said. “We have created an experience where anyone can love and learn about science while enjoying great entertainment. The two are not mutually exclusive. The festival promises great science and great entertainment.”

“This is a great model for conversation,” added Dragseth, “A zombie movie is, at its heart, a story of infectious disease. Godzilla is about the risks of nuclear technology. Superhero films bend the rules of physics while still inhabiting a believable world. At Northstar, we get to talk about those things and find out how science makes things more fun, not less.”

Northstar Science Film Festival begins Thursday and runs through Saturday, September 17. Each day has a theme across programming. The festival takes place in the Lowertown area of downtown St. Paul, primarily at Twin Cities PBS, but also at other nearby venues. In addition to screenings (including three Minnesota premieres), they’ve brought in heavy-hitters like Paula Apsell, senior executive producer of “NOVA”; James Burke, creator of “Connections”; James Kakalios, physicist and author of “The Physics of Superheroes” (and consultant on Marvel superhero films; Tangled Bank Studios); William Gurstelle, engineer, Popular Science writer and author of The Art of Living Dangerously; Shawn Otto, filmmaker and author of The War on Science, and many others, including leading scientists from Gustavus and the University of Minnesota.

More information, a full festival schedule, and tickets are all available at www.northstarscience.org. Gusties can get a discount on tickets by using the coupon code: gusties.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
jakin@gustavus.edu
507-933-7510

 

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