Biology professor debuts film

Patricia Rocha, Reporter

After taking a year off to attend film school, biology professor Isabel Stierle recently presented her short film, “It’s all Rubbish,” at the Fox Theater.

“I wanted to take a sabbatical about four years ago, but because of the financial crunch they weren’t really giving sabbaticals at the time,” Stierle said.

“After a couple more years went by, I started to realize if I wanted to take some time off, I’d have to take a leave of absence, so that means it was on my dime.”

The motivation to leave for Montana State University’s film program came from a former student, who also wanted to attend film school and needed a letter of recommendation.

“Because I was sort of toying with the idea of going back to school, I thought that would be what I wanted to do because it ties in science and education, and I’ve always liked photography,” she said.

“It was kind of a perfect way to learn all these things.

“This particular program was designed to educate people about science through film.”

Though she did not complete the program, she did take a year’s worth of classes, which resulted in her short film, “It’s All Rubbish,” based on recycling efforts on the MSU campus to save money.

“I followed a group of students at MSU that were taking some classes with professors either in business or in engineering, and then they were also working with staff to do projects that would learn how to figure out if recycling was a way to potentially save money,” she said.

“They really were using it as a learning tool, so I followed them with the film making program.”

She said her friends and colleagues seem pretty fascinated by her film endeavors.

“I just bumped into a friend of mine and he said that I have my six minutes of fame now,” she said, referring to her film’s 6-minute-length. “I’m trying to see if I can do something with it in the classroom now.”

Though she admits her plans are still in their beginning stages, she hopes to reach out to her students to make science-based films, as well as other professors on campus to make films as a learning community, focusing on subjects like biology, music, English, and the arts.

“Together, we would teach our respected subjects but with an end goal of making films that communicate something about science,” she said.

“I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I’ll start collaborating with others to see if others are interested in doing the same with me.”

The film can be found on the video-sharing site Vimeo, where it currently has more than 200 views.