TEDMED Announces Artistic Collaboration with Imagine Science Films

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways that art brings science to the general public. Equally exciting is how art and design inspire and provoke those who work in the sciences to take a fresh look at their own world, make unexpected connections and unlock their imaginations.

For these reasons, TEDMED has always made art and design integral parts of our multi-disciplinary approach to health and medicine. This year, we’re taking our emphasis on the “art of science” and “the science of art” to a new level.

In the spirit of this year’s TEDMED gathering and its central focus — Unlocking Imagination in Service of Health and Medicine — TEDMED is excited to announce an innovative collaboration with Imagine Science Films (ISF).


Now celebrating its seventh anniversary, ISF is a nonprofit organization created by geneticist and filmmaker Alexis Gambis. The organization is committed to promoting a high-level dialogue between scientists and filmmakers to increase public awareness of and appreciation for science. With sponsors including Google, Nature Publishing Group, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, ISF makes science more accessible and stimulating to a broader audience by emphasizing storytelling, narrative structure, and visual communication.

Together, TEDMED and ISF have challenged nine young, independent filmmakers to let their imaginations run wild as they created their own unique, artistic interpretations of the nine session themes of our soon-to-be-announced 2014 stage program.

Each filmmaker was given creative and editorial freedom. We simply encouraged them to be imaginative! The result is a series of short, provocative and highly engaging films. Together, the full body of work offers exciting examples of how visual storytelling can engage the heart and the senses as a powerful way of engaging the mind.

On June 25th we will release all nine films, celebrating our 2014 session themes – and reinforcing the power of the human imagination. The nine filmmakers and their associated session themes are:

  • Nate Dorr, Director of Programming at Imagine Science Films, has created a film on the theme of session 1, “Turn It Upside Down.” Speakers at this session of the TEDMED stage program will explore how our most deeply held beliefs are sometimes exactly what’s in our way.
  • Alexis Gambis, ISF Artistic Director and Founder (Rockefeller University and NYU Tisch School of the Arts) has created a film inspired by the theme of session 2, “We Just Don’t Know.” This stage session embraces the awareness that the more you know, the more you realize how little you know – and assessing how to make decisions in that light.
  • Pedro Gomez Millan (NYU Tisch School of the Arts) has created a film inspired by the theme of session 3, “Flat-Out Amazing.” This stage session will offer a series of stories about things and accomplishments that look impossible…and how they turned out to be possible after all.
  • Charlie Cole (Pratt Institute) has created a film inspired by the theme of session 4, “Stealing Smart.” In this session, TEDMED speakers will review instances where the best solutions are hidden within other disciplines, other realms or other worlds — yet within reach.
  • Sarah-Rose Meredith (NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the University of California, Santa Cruz) has created a film inspired by the theme of session 5, “Don’t You Dare Talk About This.” During this session our speakers will confront head-on some of the biggest and most controversial issues that we usually won’t discuss, and may not even acknowledge.
  • Eliza McNitt (NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts) has created a film inspired by the theme of session 6, “Play Is Not A Waste of Time.” TEDMED speakers in this session will look at some of the many ways that the extraordinary power of play makes a difference – especially in environments where we usually don’t think of it.
  • Raj Trivedi (The University of Texas at Austin and Columbia University) has created a film inspired by the theme of session 7, “Human/Nature, Inside and Out.” Speakers in this session will explore some intriguing, internal mysteries of the human body and some surprising ways that the natural environment impacts our health.
  • Matt Christensen (instructor, New York University Tisch School of the Arts) has created a film inspired by the theme of session 8, “Weird and Wonderful.” This stage session brings us a collection of unexpected combinations and out-of-left-field stories and ideas that yield remarkable results.
  • Ian Harnarine (instructor, New York University Tisch School of the Arts and NYU Physics Department) has created a film inspired by the theme of our 9th and final session, “I Was Just Thinking Too Small.” Speakers in this session will invite all of us to step back and see a broader picture, with the understanding that context is often as important as text.

Each ISF-TEDMED film runs four to seven minutes and offers a metaphorical or allegorical storyline — or simply a montage of beautiful images — that convey the filmmaker’s vision of what that particular session will be about. Each film also includes subtle nods to the speakers and the topics that will be featured on stage within that particular session.

We look forward to inviting everyone in the TEDMED community to enjoy this artistic interpretation of our session themes through the work of an extraordinarily gifted group of young filmmakers.