HHMI Launches Documentary Film Unit

HHMI Launches Documentary Film Unit

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has announced the launch of a $60 million documentary film initiative to create high-quality science features for television.

In the past, HHMI has funded television projects on a more modest scale, including support for NOVA, ScienceNOW, and science reporting for the PBS NewsHour, but this will be its first foray into documentary filmmaking. According to HHMI vice president for Science Education Sean Carroll, the institute's film division will focus on areas such as biology and medicine but will not limit itself to the work of HHMI researchers. The first step will be to recruit an executive producer who will work with Carroll to define and direct the initiative.

HHMI hopes to collaborate with broadcasters and other partners to develop, produce, and disseminate science-related programs and specials. By design, the initiative will include an educational component, with HHMI staff working closely with the executive producer to repackage film footage into materials that can be used by teachers and students at both the high school and college levels.

"What do good teaching, good communication of science, and good science have in common? They are all about good storytelling," said Carroll. "HHMI is entering the storytelling community with this initiative. We want to work with the best storytellers and the best scientists to bring great stories about science and scientists to large audiences."

"HHMI Launches Documentary Film Unit to Create Science Features for Television." Howard Hughes Medical Institute Press Release 02/04/2011.