Alexis Gambis December 16 2017

Cats Save Science


There is more than what meets the feline eye. Cats have always held a special place in our lives. In this Spotlight, these furry pets become our guides into unchartered territories solving some of the biggest scientific questions of our time. Set to the beat of our host, watch a band of fleas rock out on the back of a cat in Applied Metacinema. In The Ray Cat Solution, see how genetically modified cats change color in the presence of radioactive material. Through a playful dance of paper-puppet animations in The Deadliest Tooth, discover how the saber-toothed cats utilized their extradoadinary fangs for attacking their victims. Learning how to cope with death, listen to 11-year-old Lieuwe conjecture about the afterlife of his dead cat and how they will reunite in My Cat in Me. And finally launch yourself into the new space-time coordinates in Hypertrain, joining a cat and a child in their fast journey on speeding trains and crossing dimensions and planes only to encounter one another again in space, motion and time. Cats may not save humanity but what we can be sure of is that they will outlive us all.

Applied Metacinema (Nieto, France/Russia, 4 min)

There has not yet been any applied work of Metacinema. It was necessary to give the path to methodological problems. That is the reason why I decided to choose the purest subject to analyze. That is a subject composed of a single “substance”.

My Cat in Me (Stefanie Visjager & Katinka Baeh, Netherlands, 2 min)

Puck remembers the night when his cat gave birth to kittens in his bed.

The Deadliest Tooth (Sharon Shattuck & Flora Lichtman, United States, 4 min)

Find out how saber-toothed cats grow their “mouth daggers.”

The Ray Cat Solution (Benjamin Huguet, France, 14 min)

In the 1980s, a curious project was proposed by two scientists seeking to send a long-lasting warning to the future: to create a breed of cats that would change colors when they are near a source of dangerous radiation?

Hypertrain (Kompis Etienne & Bellotto Fela, Switzerland, 4 min)

On a train trip through spatial and temporal dimensions the traveller suddenly comes across himself. #cat

About the author

Alexis Gambis is a filmmaker and a biologist whose interdisciplinary work aims at transforming the way science is communicated to the public through film and visual arts. He has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Nature, Cell, TED, and WNYC. At NYU, he teaches in both the Biology and Film departments. His courses combine scientific research and storytelling often featuring animals as actors and blurring the lines between fact and fiction. He is also the founder and executive director of the Imagine Science Films, an annual science film festival now celebrating its 10th anniversary. He is currently working on his second feature Son of Monarchs about a boy who wants to turn into a monarch butterfly - it brings together in a narrative drama the themes of evolutionary biology, migration and (im)migration.