Sweet Fern Productions

Sweet Fern Productions We tell true science stories in weird and fascinating ways.
SWEET FERN PRODUCTIONS is the multimedia production company of filmmakers and science journalists Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck. We are the creators of the New York Times Op-Docs series 'Animated Life,' an ongoing series that uses paper puppets and stringent journalism to highlight moments of scientific discovery. The series is a collaboration between the New York Times Op-Docs and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's BioInteractive program. Our first short, 'WHALE FALL' premiered on Radiolab in 2011, won "Best Short" at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, and screened in festivals internationally. 'THE ANIMATED LIFE OF A.R. WALLACE,' premiered on NYT.com in November 2013, and was an Official Selection of the 2014 Camden International Film Festival and the 2015 Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC. 'ANIMATED LIFE: SEEING THE INVISIBLE,' about microbes, premiered on NYT.com in September 2014, and won the 2015 CINE Golden Eagle Award for short nonfiction animation. 'ANIMATED LIFE: PANGEA,' about the theory of continental drift, premiered on NYT.com on February 17th, 2015. Our two-part miniseries for VOX.COM, financed by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, premiered in May 2015 with 'FLU: THE GREAT MIGRATION' followed by 'THE DEADLIEST TOOTH' in June. We’re based in Brooklyn, New York.

Happy International Women's Day!
03/09/2018
Animated Life: Mary Leakey

Happy International Women's Day!

This short documentary remembers the paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, who discovered footprints of human ancestors on the African savanna.

We're honored that ANIMATED LIFE is a finalist for Jackson Hole Festival & Summit's 'Best Limited Series - short' compet...
08/08/2017
2017 Film Competition

We're honored that ANIMATED LIFE is a finalist for Jackson Hole Festival & Summit's 'Best Limited Series - short' competition this year! Flora Lichtman Ruth Lichtman Emma Wiseman Olga Abramson Sarah Lipstate Martin McNulty Crane Laura Bonetta BioInteractive Lindsay Crouse Kathleen Lingo Jason Spingarn-Koff http://www.jhfestival.org/2017-film-competition.html

Congratulations to the 2017 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Finalists! With well over 900 category entries and almost 600 films overall, this has been our biggest competition yet! Special...

Hey Ann Arbor, Michigan folks! Flora and Sharon are giving a Penny Stamps lecture on the making of The New York Times 'A...
03/07/2016
Women In Science and Engineering | University of Michigan

Hey Ann Arbor, Michigan folks! Flora and Sharon are giving a Penny Stamps lecture on the making of The New York Times 'Animated Life' series at Rackham Auditorium THIS Sunday, March 13th at 3 PM. The event is free and open to the public. http://www.wise.umich.edu/vgn-ext-templating/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=dce3c042e4062510VgnVCM100000c2b1d38dRCRD&vgnextchannel=43f011532cbbc210VgnVCM100000c2b1d38dRCRD&vgnextfmt=detail

"...a riotous mix of humor, video clips and audio clips, and behind-the-scenes photos to illustrate their production process..."

SO EXCITED.⚡️  MARY LEAKEY⚡️  has arrived ... on the NYT Op-Docs channel. HIP GLASSES courtesy of Sharon Shattuck Eaves....
12/08/2015
‘Animated Life: Mary Leakey’

SO EXCITED.⚡️ MARY LEAKEY⚡️ has arrived ... on the NYT Op-Docs channel. HIP GLASSES courtesy of Sharon Shattuck Eaves. LOVABLE DALMATIAN PACK thanks to Emma Wiseman . STUNNING HYRAX HOLE by Ruth Lichtman. CRISP IMAGES from Olga Abramson! SOARING TUNES by Martin McNulty Crane. HAIRY FOOT by Flora Lichtman.

This short documentary remembers the paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, who discovered footprints of human ancestors on the African savanna.

Thanks to Liz Wason at the University of Michigan's LSA Magazine for this in-depth profile of Sharon and Flora's 'Animat...
10/20/2015
Animated Life

Thanks to Liz Wason at the University of Michigan's LSA Magazine for this in-depth profile of Sharon and Flora's 'Animated Life' series. http://www.lsa.umich.edu/lsa/archives/ci.animatedlife_ci.detail

Sharon Shattuck spent years preparing for a life in botany before moving to New York City to make documentary-style films. Here's how she flipped the script.

Flora and Sharon are so excited to visit the University of Michigan Biological Station on July 7th as part of their summ...
06/29/2015
Summer Lecture Series | University of Michigan Biological Station | University of Michigan

Flora and Sharon are so excited to visit the University of Michigan Biological Station on July 7th as part of their summer lecture series! Their talk will be about "bringing science to life with experimental documentary." https://www.lsa.umich.edu/umbs/events/summerlectureseries

Lectures are at 7:30 p.m. in the Marian P. and David M. Gates Lecture Hall or the Alumni Room (located upstairs in the Gates Lecture Hall).

Thanks to Aleszu Bajak at Storybench for this feature on our 'Animated Life' storytelling process! http://www.storybench...
05/19/2015
Animating storytelling with paper, puppets, and cameras - Storybench

Thanks to Aleszu Bajak at Storybench for this feature on our 'Animated Life' storytelling process! http://www.storybench.org/animating-storytelling-paper-puppets-cameras/ The New York Times Opinion Howard Hughes Medical Institute

A groundbreaking animated story seeks to restore British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace to his proper place in history. Wallace’s name has been largely forgotten even though he formulated a theory of natural selection at the same time as Charles Darwin. “It was a theory that was discovered by two…

Thanks Lindsay for this great behind-the-scenes post! Come for puppets, the stay for the awkward pics of us trying to an...
02/26/2015
Behind the Scenes of Pangea With Puppets

Thanks Lindsay for this great behind-the-scenes post! Come for puppets, the stay for the awkward pics of us trying to animate snow with lung-power. Emma Wiseman Ruth Lichtman Sharon Shattuck Eaves Flora Lichtman Olga Abramson

A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of an animated Op-Docs video about the polar explorer, Alfred Wegener, who came up with the continental drift theory.

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