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Marine Biologist lends a voice of knowledge to short Sci-Fi film

Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology, Dr Trevor Willis, provided his expertise and his voice for a short film by filmmaker Barry Gibb about the survivor of a pandemic that has torn nature apart.

Barry, a former molecular biologist, contacted Trevor after receiving funding from Imagine Science Film, along with nine other filmmakers, to create experimental, innovative science films about chimeras (an animal constructed of more than one animal type). The end result, according to the Chimera Experiments website, will create a “science-driven anthology film by ten visionary, international filmmakers featuring stories from the most influential scientists of our time.”

The anglerfish

The film, called Mother, follows the story of Jill, a lonely survivor of a deadly disease, who has powerful maternal urges but due to a shortage of males is forced to turn to a magical new technology borrowed from the depths of the ocean. This technology can transform her and ensure the next man she encountered became the father of her child- whether he wanted to or not!

This is where Trevor’s knowledge of anglerfish and, in particular, their sex lives, came into action. As this is a topic Trevor teaches to second year Marine Biology students, he was happy to offer his expertise, despite the odd request. A few months later Barry came to the University to record Trevor’s voice over to use in the film alongside two other voice overs from scientists at the University of Cambridge.

The science taken from the mating habits of the anglerfish make for a dark comic fantasy film that explores the limits of relationships, science and what it means to be a human in a world where anything is possible.

Trevor’s first reaction to the film was to laugh due to the comic premise and surreal effects, but he appreciated the unusual take on current science, and that the film was the only one in the series to be deliberately humorous.

Trevor said: “I enjoyed what Barry did with the film and the imagination involved. The science was pretty much spot on in the depiction of the anglerfish sex lives,  and he produced a twisted fantasy of science inspiring art- which is what a good Sci-Fi really is!”

The film has been selected to be screened at the highly regarded Sci-Fi London Film Festival and the Brighton Rocks Underground Film Festival.

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