Our goal is to make a documentary about natural products total synthesis and its connection to medicine that will be accessible to high school age students as well as older adults.
Unlike astronomy, physics, biology, meteorology, geology, paleontology, etc, chemistry has rarely been the subject of documentaries. PBS' NOVA website lists a single chemistry-related program (Percy Julian: Forgotten Genius) which aired in 2007. The list of chemistry-related films from any source is very sparse. As a result, public knowledge of chemistry as a discipline is virtually non-existent.
Chemistry oriented documentaries that are directed toward a popular audience would provide the public with a greater awareness of chemistry as a discipline, current scientific challenges in chemistry, and chemistry related issues in everyday life. Such documentaries would also serve to dispel misconceptions about chemistry.
Matt McIntosh (Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Arkansas) - Writer, editor, producer, director
Dave Clay (Graduate Student in Chemistry, University of Arkansas)- Camera
Kathy Gearhart - Narrator
In order to understand the documentary filmmaking process, I (Matt McIntosh), David Clay, and Kathy Gearhart were enrolled in a two-semester graduate level documentary production course in the Lemke Dept. of Journalism at the University of Arkansas in the 2008-9 academic year. The courses were taught by award winning documentary filmmakers Larry Foley and Dale Carpenter.
The making of Total Synthesis will occur in 2 phases:
(1) Phase I: Production of a short low budget film made by MM, DC and KG as part of the documentary film class. This phase is complete.
(2) Phase II: production of a half-hour film involving professional filmmakers. We are currently seeking funding for this phase.
The phase I film is completed and available for viewing via streaming video access through this website.
The phase I film was shot at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR and at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock, AR.