28 April 2011

Flight of the dodo

Contrary to popular belief, dodos can fly.

They just have spectacularly bad luck in their flights suffering from looooooooong delays.

Yesterday, Randy Olson (blue shirt, above) was on our campus, talking about science, filmmaking, evolution and much more. He was here as part of a program by the Office of Graduate Studies.

We had hoped he would arrive on Tuesday to make the screening of Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy, but he got stuck in Houston for almost an entire day. Ironically, he had been in San Antonio before that, and could have driven here faster than his flight turned out to be!

The audience reaction to Sizzle was very positive, and myself and my colleagues did a bit of discussion afterwards.

Randy and I finally met at a screening at Cine El Ray, where we saw a screening of Innocent Voices. There was a bit of discussion about both the movie and Randy’s work afterwards.

Wednesday was the big day, with a workshop with our Teaching Academy on communication, followed by viewing some student and university videos, an informal session, and finally a screening of Flock of Dodos.

In the Q&A after the screening, Randy talked a little bit about his next film project, which will feature what many people say is their favourite part of both Flock of Dodos and Sizzle:

Randy’s mom, Muffy Moose, now 87.

If you saw Flock of Dodos, you saw a little bit of the life history of Randy’s parents near the end of the movie. Muffy was born in the Philippines, met Randy’s father there, and was shipped out on the eve of the war, where she became a model. His father was a survivor of the Bataan Death March. The film will be about the history of the Philippines in World War II, viewed in part through Muffy’s experiences.

The working title is Muffy’s War.

The day for me ended with a geeky fanboy moment. I got my copies of Don’t Be Such A Scientist and Flock of Dodos signed.

Cosmic coincidence department: We learned that his cameraman on the highly-viewed Science Cheerleaders video (which I wrote about here), Brandon Garcia, was one of our students! He friends with several of the grad school staff, including Denisse Cantu (far left in top picture).

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