Science on Screen Series

Aspen Film presents Science on Screen®, a unique film series that allows audiences to experience the intersection of film and science on the big screen. As part of each screening event, expert guest speakers present on timely scientific topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Bionic Exoskeleton Technology, and Women in Science.

The three-part series is presented at the Aspen Film Isis Theatre in Aspen with additional in-school enrichment available for local students and teachers. Science on Screen is a nationwide initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Our partners for the series include aiEDU, Aspen Center for Physics, Aspen Science Center, Bridging Bionics, The Isaacson School at Colorado Mountain College, Mountain Chalet Aspen, and the Pitkin County Library. 

Event Details



December 6, 2023 at 6:30 PM

Film: HER, R (2013)
Guests: Cristina Nowak, Chief Learning Officer AiEDU | Jessica Ann, Instructional Design Lead AiEDU

As artificial intelligence continues to capture our collective imagination, it’s critical that we discuss the incredible, and perhaps, scary ways it can and will impact our lives. Our feature film, HER, paired with the short film, A SUN LIKE A BIG DARK ANIMAL, incorporates technology in ways that force us to re-examine our relationship with it as humans. We welcome Cristina Nowak and Jessica Ann from aiEDU, a non-profit that works with students and teachers to build AI literacy, as our guest presenters for the evening. They will discuss equitable learning and how to teach students to thrive in the age of artificial intelligence.



January 10, 2024 at 6:30 PM

Film: THE CRASH REEL, NR (2013)
Guests: Amanda Boxtel, CEO Bridging Bionics | Gretchen Beiler – Two-time Olympian and Olympic silver medalist

This evening’s selected films, feature documentary, THE CRASH REEL and short film, TREVOR KENNISON – DAY ONE, portray the frailties of our physical bodies and the ways loved ones, nature, and, technology can help one to overcome a life-threatening injury and continue to lead a resilient life. Our guest Amanda Boxtel and Gretchen Beiler, two-time Olympian and Olympic silver medalist, will talk about the exoskeleton technology that has allowed her to walk again after a skiing accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury. She is the founder of Bridging Bionics with a mission to help individuals who have neurological mobility impairments regain mobility and walk again.

Women In The Equation

March 26, 2024 at 6:30 PM

Film: HIDDEN FIGURES, PG13 (2016)

Guest: Dr. Nausheen Shah – Associate Professor of Physics at Wayne State University

Human computers, civil rights, space travel – March is Women’s History Month, and what better way to celebrate women in the history of science than to watch Theodore Melfi’s Academy Award®-nominated film, HIDDEN FIGURES. The short film we will feature for our third installment of the series is GIRLS WHO CODE, created by Aspen Film’s summer filmmaking camp participants. We are joined by special guest Nausheen Shah, a visiting particle physicist lecturer at the Aspen Center for Physics, who will be talking about cutting-edge research in physics. Part III of our series coincides with the National Evening of Science on Screen, where grantee theaters simultaneously host Science on Screen events, creating a coast-to-coast offering of thought-provoking programs that pair film screenings with explorations of science, technology, and medicine.

Guest Speakers

Jessica Ann

Instructional Design Lead, AiEDU

Jessica is the Instructional Design Lead at The AI Education Project, bringing over a decade of experience developing engaging STEM and arts-integrated curricula. Her passion is designing thought-provoking, project-based learning experiences that inspire K-12 students to become active creators and ethically-minded users of AI technology. She has created and taught AI literacy lessons for diverse audiences, including public school classrooms, independent schools, post-secondary institutions, and community workshops. Jessica’s interdisciplinary approach integrates computer science concepts with creativity, empowering youth to leverage AI to positively impact their communities.

Amanda Boxtel

Founder and Executive Director, Bridging Bionics

Since February 27, 1992 Amanda has dreamed of walking again. On that fateful date, a freak skiing accident rendered her with a permanent spinal cord injury from the pelvis down. She has since been involved in community and outreach projects that aim to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. Amanda is the founding Executive Director for Bridging Bionics Foundation, demonstrating how bionic exoskeleton technology has a positive impact on quality of life. On October 19, 2015, Bridging Bionics officially launched their Mobility Program for Roaring Fork Valley residents. The goal of the program is to provide access to this cutting-edge robotic technology, which is typically cost prohibitive, to enhance neuro-recovery and quality of life for any individual with a neurological mobility challenge.

Amanda showcased the first partially 3D printed exoskeleton in the world for Singularity University’s European Summit in Budapest, Hungary, and then again at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. In November 2014 Amanda presented her forwarding thinking ideas about humanizing technology at TEDCity2.0 in Chengdu China. In 2018 Amanda was honored as a Top Ten CNN Hero. She lives with her golden retriever, Winston, in Basalt, Colorado.

Cristina Nowak

Chief Learning Officer, AiEDU

Cristina is the Chief Learning Officer at The AI Education Project, a nationally recognized nonprofit focused on bringing AI education to teachers and students everywhere. Cristina’s team builds and distributes free, accessible AI curricular materials, leads teacher trainings, and steers national thought leadership aimed at raising the bar for AI literacy in K-12 schools. Cristina is a long-time educator and entrepreneur with experience in public school classroom teaching, curriculum design, instructional coaching, and program management. Her work as an educator is based on the fundamental belief that high-quality AI education must be centered around the intersection of AI and non-technical subjects with a focus on empathy, creativity, and critical thinking. She previously worked with organizations like Girls Who Code, AI4ALL, and Boolean Girl to design and implement equitable, innovative computer science programs for K-12 learners throughout the country.

Nausheen Shah, Ph. D

Associate Professor Physics, Wayne State Univ.

Prof. Shah began her studies in theoretical particle physics at the University of Chicago working on extensions of the Standard Model, hypothesizing the existence of extra dimensions. As a Postdoctoral Fellow, Prof. Shah was heavily involved in studying the phenomena that may be observed at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN if there exists a fundamental symmetry in nature called Supersymmetery, concentrating on possible connection between Higgs physics and Dark Matter. As faculty at Wayne State University she continues to pursue these ideas.

Prof. Shah was the recipient of the GAANN (Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need) fellowship awarded by the Department of Education (2007) and the recipient of the Bloomenthal fellowship (2008) for excellence in research by the University of Chicago.

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