Sean is the architect of a new $60 million science filmmaking initiative at HHMI. Born out of the conviction that film remains the most powerful medium for bringing ideas, knowledge, and stories to life, this endeavor aims to bring great stories about science and scientists to both general audiences and students in the classroom.
There are two main prongs to film production at HHMI. To produce feature films for television and large-screens, HHMI founded its own production company, Tangled Bank Studios. Tangled Bank’s first feature documentaries aired in 2014 including: the three-part PBS special Your Inner Fish, based on Neil Shubin’s best-selling book; Vaccines: Callling the Shots (NOVA ,PBS); and Mass Extinction: Life at the Brink (Smithsonian Channel).
To produce short films for the classroom, HHMI’s long-established Educational Resources Group is working with a host of highly accomplished filmmakers to produce a large series of films that tell engaging stories while presenting content central to science curricula. The films are distributed for free for downloading, streaming, and on DVD through as are teacher resources for each scientific story.
Sean has served as executive producer and on-screen presenter of HHMI’s first slate of films on evolution that have garnered a host of awards, including three Silver Tellys, two CINE Golden Eagle Awards, and best short film awards at the 2012 Jackson Hole Science Media festival and the 2013 New Media Film Festival in Los Angeles. Most importantly, these films and supporting educational materials are now being used by thousands of science teachers at the high school, middle school, and college levels.
To watch the short films, visit the HHMI Biointeractive website.
Sean has been involved in the making of a number of earlier documentary films, including the 2009 NOVA special to mark Darwin's anniversary, "What Darwin Never Knew" that was based on Sean's books "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" and "The Making of the Fittest".
A two-hour special program that marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of The Origin of Species and the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, the film explores the new evolutionary science that is revealing how evolution works at the most fundamental level. Sean served as scientific consulting producer.