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Personal truth

18 minutes

This adorable sea slug is a sneaky little thief

4 minutes

The human voice

3 minutes

Mobilize

4 minutes

Frames of reference

27 minutes

Sure, ‘Pizzagate’ is bunk, but does a conspiracy theorist lurk inside all of us?

The ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory of 2016 claimed that Hillary Clinton and other high-ranking US Democratic Party officials were operating a child sex-trafficking ring from a popular pizzeria in Washington, DC. The conspiracy had migrated from internet message boards to the national news when a 28-year-old man wielding a rifle set out to investigate the claims for himself, and ended up firing three shots inside the restaurant before finding nothing suspicious and surrendering to the police. It’s easy to write off the gunman, and anyone else who came to believe ‘Pizzagate’, as gullible, disturbed and severely misguided. But as this short documentary from the UK filmmaker Charlie Lyne argues, the insidious way in which conspiracy theories plant seeds in the human brain is far more complex. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve fallen prey to one or two conspiracies yourself. Shrewd and darkly funny, Personal Truth has been a film festival favourite in 2018, screening at the Full Frame Documentary Festival, AFI Docs and Aspen Shortsfest, among others.

Director: Charlie Lyne

Producer: Catherine Bray, Anthony Ing

Website: Field of Vision

Sure, ‘Pizzagate’ is bunk, but does a conspiracy theorist lurk inside all of us?

The ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy theory of 2016 claimed that Hillary Clinton and other high-ranking US Democratic Party officials were operating a child sex-trafficking ring from a popular pizzeria in Washington, DC. The conspiracy had migrated from internet message boards to the national news when a 28-year-old man wielding a rifle set out to investigate the claims for himself, and ended up firing three shots inside the restaurant before finding nothing suspicious and surrendering to the police. It’s easy to write off the gunman, and anyone else who came to believe ‘Pizzagate’, as gullible, disturbed and severely misguided. But as this short documentary from the UK filmmaker Charlie Lyne argues, the insidious way in which conspiracy theories plant seeds in the human brain is far more complex. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve fallen prey to one or two conspiracies yourself. Shrewd and darkly funny, Personal Truth has been a film festival favourite in 2018, screening at the Full Frame Documentary Festival, AFI Docs and Aspen Shortsfest, among others.

Director: Charlie Lyne

Producer: Catherine Bray, Anthony Ing

Website: Field of Vision

Far from sluggish: the remarkable sea creature that weaponises its dinner

Nudibranchs, also commonly known as sea slugs, are a group of snail-like sea invertebrates. Despite appearing more or less defenceless, nudibranchs broadcast their whereabouts with their flamboyant, brightly coloured bodies. From an evolutionary standpoint, it might seem like a curious move, but their luminous skin actually serves as a warning to would-be predators to let them know they’d make for a dangerous meal. While some nudibranchs accumulate toxins and other defensive chemicals in their bodies, others – like the star of this film – have an even craftier method of warding off enemies. This remarkable short from the science and nature documentary series Deep Look details the clever way that some nudibranchs protect themselves by stealing defences from stinging sea animals known as hydroids. You can read more about this video at KQED Science.

Video by KQED Science

Producer and Writer: Josh Cassidy

Narrator and Writer: Lauren Sommer

‘My God! Where’s the human voice?’ A charming reflection on our pre-recorded world

From to Siri to subways to customer service calls, pre-recorded and robotic voices are becoming an increasingly inescapable part of the human experience. In this short animation from StoryCorps, the US author, historian and broadcaster Studs Terkel (1912–2008) reflects on this trend away from human interaction and toward disembodied sentence fragments. Recalling a scene from a tram ride at Atlanta airport with exceeding wit and charm, he considers the richness of the human voice, and what we lose when it’s replaced.

Director: The Rauch Brothers

Producer: Lizzie Jacobs

From canoes to cities, a frenetic celebration of the power of indigenous Canadians

In her short film Mobilize, Caroline Monnet – a Canadian filmmaker and artist of French and Algonquin origin – uses archival documentary footage to honour the restless diligence of Canada’s indigenous people. Given access to more than 700 films from the National Film Board of Canada for the project, Monnet crafts a fervent visual collage that spans the country’s rural north, where indigenous craftsmen are seen fashioning canoes, to scenes from skyscraper construction in the urban south. According to Monnet, in making the film, she sought to explore the trajectory of her own family’s history, as well as to simply bombard viewers with ‘images of indigenous people kicking ass on screen’. Heightened by a feverish score from the Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq, Monnet’s film offers a deeply original and personal perspective on the indigenous Canadian experience.

Director: Caroline Monnet

Score: Tanya Tagaq

Producer: Anita Lee

Website: National Film Board of Canada

This clever and stylish 1960 film is the most fun you’ll ever have at a physics lecture

Directed by the pioneering UK documentarian Richard Leacock, Frames of Reference is a slick and surreal dive into physics fundamentals and, in particular, why everything is indeed relative. Produced for high-school physics classes, the 1960 film features the physics professors Patterson Hume and Donald Ivey of the University of Toronto explaining, through an intertwined series of lectures and clever demonstrations, how frames of reference shape perspective. Using rotating sets, camera tricks and a visual style that suggests the film noir of Alfred Hitchcock, this is perhaps the most peculiarly entertaining half-hour physics lecture you’ll ever have.

Director: Richard Leacock

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Essay/
Neuroscience
The inner voice

From a very early age, children learn to talk to themselves. That voice in your head is the thing that makes you, you

Philip Jaekl

Essay/
Neurodiversity
Autism from the inside

Too many depictions of autistic people rely on tired clichés. The neurotypical world needs to take note of our own voices

Katherine May