The Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation of Brookline, Massachusetts, named 37 nonprofit cinemas, science museums and arts organizations as the spring 2021 recipients of Science on Screen grants.
Among the 37 grant recipients is Willcox Theater and Arts.
Established in 2005, Science on Screen creatively pairs feature films and documentaries with lively presentations by experts from the world of science, technology and medicine. The series is one of the Coolidge Corner Theatre’s longest-running and most successful programs. The events feature a mix of classic, cult, science fiction and nonfiction films accompanied by introductions from speakers who discuss specific scientific, technological, or medical issues raised by each film.
Topics have ranged from what happens inside the brains of freestyle rappers when they rhyme off the cuff (“8 Mile”) to the social and software engineering mechanisms behind the spread of fake news (“Ace in the Hole”) to what genetic testing kits can really tell you about your ancestry (“Flirting with Disaster”).
On May 13, WTA will screen “Spare Parts,” a true story about four Hispanic students from Phoenix Carl Hayden High School who form a robotics club under the leadership of their school’s newest teacher, Fredi (George Lopez). With no experience, $800, used car parts and a dream, this ragtag team goes up against the country’s reigning robotics champion: MIT. The guest speaker for the event will be the movie’s real-life robotics club teacher, Fredi Lajvardi, with his popular presentation, “Improbable to Unstoppable!”
Lajvardi will kindle your innate sense of ingenuity with his remarkable firsthand account of how he transformed a group of high school students into a national champion robotics team. Their story captivated the country and inspired the movie as well as the acclaimed documentary “Underwater Dreams.” Lajvardi’s award-winning Falcon Robotics team is also featured in the 2017 film “Dream Big.”
Honored with numerous awards for his spirited passion for teaching, Lajvardi continues to serve as a prominent advocate about the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education nationwide.
With humor and compassion, Lajvardi brings audiences on his inspiring journey, illustrating the need to embrace diversity and invest in people to help others realize their potential. His incredible real-life tale equips you with the encouragement to maximize your own potential and to work together to solve complex problems.
At $5, tickets to “Spare Parts” will include a soda or water, popcorn and a dessert to enjoy during Lajvardi’s presentation.
Proceeds will benefit the Willcox Middle School STEM Club and Willcox High School Science Club. The event is at 7 p.m. at WTA’s newest building, The Palace of Art and Theater, 116 N. Railroad Ave. Doors will open at 6:30.
The goal of Science on Screen has always been to enlighten through entertainment—a goal that aligns with the Sloan Foundation’s mission. For more than a decade, the Sloan Foundation has partnered with leading film schools and film festivals to support and recognize screenwriters and filmmakers who explore scientific and/or technological themes in their work.
The annual Sloan Feature Film Prize in Science and Technology, awarded at the Hamptons International and Sundance film festivals, has gone to some of the leading filmmakers while helping to launch the careers of promising newcomers. Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Submitted by Willcox Theater and Arts