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SharpCuts Indie Film and Music Festival partners with Rendezvous to present a fun, interactive, and thought-provoking science journey through media. Enjoy some of the greatest – and most disastrous – science moments in film, groove to science-inspired acoustic sets from renowned musicians, and join maverick filmmakers and scientists for a lively debate about science in pop culture.

Date: Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Location: The Bookshelf Cinema, 41 Quebec Street, Guelph Ontario
Time: 12:00 noon – 1:30pm

The Panel

Melanie Wills

Melanie divides her time between artistic and scientific pursuits. As a doctoral candidate in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph, she investigates the mechanisms that drive communication within the human cell, with the hope of better understanding health and disease. She is also an avid documentary producer, and has directed several short films that meld science and culture. Her first foray into journalism was as the creator / producer of a cablecast newsmagazine program developed by and for teens in her hometown. She later went on to found Double Helix Creations, a small independent production house dedicated to the cinematic portrayal of science.

Doug Larson

Doug Larson is a recently retired professor at the University of Guelph. When he worked as an award winning scientist he used storytelling, guitar building, and songwriting metaphors to get his points across to students, the media, and the public. Now that he is officially on his own, he uses storytelling, guitar building, and songwriting as his main activity. His core belief is that each activity should infect the others. The Storyteller guitar at the centre of the Guelph Guitar Project is an example of this: it combines historical, artistic, and scientific artifacts into the instrument in such a way as to invite active storytelling. Doug plays as a solo artist and also with two rock bands Kid Coma and the GMO’s. The work that he has done has been featured in two films, Rock to Rock, and First Class Rock Star – both produced by Melanie Wills, herself an award winning scientist. The goal of his life in retirement is to make everything connect to everything else.

Thomas Gofton

Thomas co-founded Synn Studios in 2007, and has been at the forefront of the studio’s growth and development ever since. Along with acting as the head of Synn Studios, Thomas manages his own production company, Lynnvander Productions and is on the board of the SharpCuts Independent Film and Music Festival, which he also founded. He’s worked as a graphic designer and video editor for Anchor Bay Canada and Cinemavault Entertainment, but Thomas’ professional focus is in acting for film and television, as well as directing and writing shorts and feature films, including the comedy FOUR ACES (2009). Additionally, Thomas is the marketing director and creator of iN magazine, a publication aimed at promoting and celebrating the local arts scene. When not working, Thomas enjoys personal time with his wife Annika, traveling the world with his friends and performing for live musical theatre.

Eric Poisson

Eric Poisson is Professor of Physics and Chair of the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph. His field of research is gravitation, with a focus on general relativity, black holes, and gravitational waves. Poisson obtained a BSc degree in Physics from Laval University, and a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Alberta. He enjoys movies, whether or not they contain science.

Terry Van Raay

Terry Van Raay is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph. He did his undergraduate degree at the University of Windsor, before moving on to post-grad work at the U of G and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. After getting his PhD, Van Raay did his postdoctoral work in development, molecular and cellular biology at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN. Now, at the University of Guelph, Van Raay is studying specialized stem cells by using a well-established model organism – zebrafish – to understand the mechanisms by which these cell signals turn themselves off in development to better understand why they don’t turn themselves off in cancer.