Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Laura Nix
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY:
Geraud Brisson, Matthew Martin, Langdon Page
Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, David Cornfield, Linda A. Cornfield, Sharon Chang, Ian Darling, David Guy Elisco, Dennis Liu, Andrea Van Beuren
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS FOR POV:
Justine Nagan, Chris White
INVENTING TOMORROW follows young scientists from Indonesia, Hawaii, India, and Mexico who propose innovative solutions to fix some of the most complex environmental issues facing humanity today – right in their own backyards. The students are preparing original scientific research projects they will defend at ISEF, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public. Considered the Olympics of high school science fairs, ISEF is the largest gathering of high school scientists in the world, attracting approximately 1,800 finalists from over 75 countries. All the finalists want to do a good job, but the heart of the story isn’t about whether they go home with an award.
Motivated by their desire to protect their homes and their future, we watch Sahithi take water samples from contaminated lakes near her home in India, and Jared dig up dirt in a public park in Hawaii. Nuha and Intan board illegal pirate mining ships in Indonesia; while Jose, Fernando and Jesus test their experiments in a lab in Mexico. We meet the students’ dedicated university mentors, their parents, grandparents, and siblings, as they compare the world their elders grew up in to the stark reality of the world they’re inheriting. Despite their courage and tenacity, our young scientists are still teenagers with adolescent dilemmas of their own, and we witness each one’s unique emotional journey on their way to the fair.
The students travel to Los Angeles from all corners of the world to participate in ISEF 2017, and finally get to meet their peers who are just as bright and determined as they are, competing in every category of STEM, from Robotics to Computer Science. Throughout the week we watch them participate in social activities, field trips, and the gauntlet of judging. No matter who wins a prize, they all make connections many call life changing.
After the fair, we follow our characters home. Some continue their current project at the university level, while others face economic challenges to continue their education. As they integrate their experience of ISEF into the next phase of their lives, they realize they’re not alone, and join a community of peers who believe in a shared vision of environmental stewardship and collective action. These young scientists invite a worldwide role reversal, where the youth show us the way towards a more sustainable future.