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Sci-fi series brings back HAL and MSU Denver English prof

By Leslie Petrovski

The Moving Arts Film Journal put it at the top of its 100 Greatest Movies of All Time, besting “Citizen Kane,” “Casablanca” and “Seven Samurai.”

“2001: A Space Odyssey” kicks off the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and Denver Film Society Sci-Fi Film Series, Wednesday, July 11, 7 p.m. at the museum’s Phipps Theater. Offered for the second time this July and August, the series pairs science fiction flicks with museum science experts and is hosted by MSU Denver Assistant Professor of English Vincent Piturro.

The goal of the series, Piturro says, is to “join together art and science and bring that marriage directly to the public. Last year we were quite successful doing that, and I think people learned quite a bit about the films from both a theoretical perspective and the scientific perspective.”

Each film will be introduced by Piturro and a scientist with expertise relevant to the film’s topic; after each screening the two will answer questions.

In addition to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” reprised from the 2011 series and featuring discussions by Piturro and David Grinspoon, the museum’s curator of astrobiology, this year’s series showcases the following movies:

· “Monsters” with Ka Chun Yu, Ph.D, museum curator of space science, July 18, 7 p.m., at the Denver FilmCenter Colfax

· “The Core” with Ian Miller, chair of earth sciences and museum curator of paleontology, July 25, 7 p.m. at the Denver FilmCenter Colfax

· “The Fly” with Aaron Spriggs, museum zoology collections assistant, Aug. 1, 7 p.m. at the Denver FilmCenter Colfax

· “12 Monkeys” with Nicole Garneau, curator and chair of health sciences, Aug. 8, 7 p.m. at the museum’s Phipps Theater

The film society, Piturro says, has called the summer sci-fi program one of the most successful series they’ve done. “The audiences learned a great deal about science fiction in general,” he says, “and how the genre has so much to say about the time period in which each particular film was made.”

To purchase tickets, visit the Denver Museum of Nature and Science website.


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