Astrofilm Extravaganza: Making Sense of Our Connection to the Universe


This event is part of Science on Screen, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.    

Featuring an introduction and Q&A with astrophysicist Stéphanie Juneau, filmmaker Bryan Nelson, and circus director/performer Stephanie Cortes.

Science and art unite in this thought-provoking, family-friendly event featuring astronomy documentaries and live performance. In Children of the Universe, a primary school class embarks on a cosmological journey in the snow-covered Swiss Alps, guided by Tucson-based astrophysicist Stéphanie Juneau, and in Streetlights of the Universe, a groundbreaking new experiment aims to create the largest-ever 3-D map of the universe, using telescopes located at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Southern Arizona.   These two short documentaries are connected by Cirque Roots’ latest creation, Exist: Messengers of the Cosmos, an astronomy circus production that uses live spoken word, dazzling circus performance, and hypnotic dance to explore our connections to the cosmos. (Total event running time: 120 mins.)

Children of the Universe – In this documentary, a primary school class embarks on a weeklong adventure in the Swiss mountains to discover the mysteries of the universe, guided by astrophysicist Stephanie Juneau. Their reactions, their games, the way they put their knowledge into practice, and above all, their innocent questions, not only reveal the scientific facts of astronomy, but also raise universal questions about our place in the universe. (Dir. by Camille Budin, 2018, Switzerland, 53 mins., Not Rated)

Streetlights of the UniverseAstronomers in Southern Arizona prepare to probe the mysteries of dark energy by assembling the largest ever 3-D map of the universe. (Dir. by Bryan Nelson, 2018, USA, 7 mins., Not Rated)

Stéphanie Juneau is an associate astronomer at NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory), headquartered in Tucson. She received her PhD in astronomy at the University of Arizona in 2011 under the supervision of NOAO’s Mark Dickinson. Her research interests are focused on the evolution of galaxies and supermassive black holes across cosmic time.