Bravo | September 27, 2018

Looking for a bargain? S e a r c h CHECK OUR HUB CLASSIFIEDS DAILY IN PRINT OR ONLINE. Call 308-234-2121 to place your ad today! Kearney Hub Breaking News: Kearney Hub Alerts Keep 1,000s informed with Urgent News! 1mago Kearney Hub BreakingNews:KearneyHub AlertsKeep1,000s informed withUrgentNews! 1mago Breaking News Get breaking news alerts and follow stories as they develop. Download the Kearney Hub App. ‘Science Fair’ is winner, even in year of extraordinary documentaries By KENNETH TURAN Tribune News Service Even in a year of extraor- dinary documentaries like “RBG,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “Three Iden- tical Strangers,” “Science Fair” is something special. Winner of audience awards at both Sundance and South by Southwest (not an easy accomplishment), this infectious and exuberant film wins you over by focus- ing on the enthusiasm and enviable good spirits of the smart and engaging young people who compete in “the Olympics of science fairs.” If you want to increase your faith in the future of humanity and have a rollick- ing good time doing it, there is no better place to go. Crisply directed by Cris- tina Costantini and Darren Foster, “Science Fair” focuses on the 2017 Los Angeles-hosted edition of the Intel International Sci- ence and Engineering Fair, familiarly known as ISEF. In existence since 1942, ISEF presently attracts roughly 7 million initial competitors who duke it out in 425 qualifying fairs around the world. This group is winnowed down to 1,700 high school student finalists from close to 80 countries, competing in 22 categories but all hop- ing they walk off with the coveted Gordon E. Moore award for the best project. Costantini knows this world intimately — she is a former competitor who placed fourth in her category as a high school freshman — and the film’s insider sensibility bene- fits from her knowledge. Costantini and Foster, who first worked together on “Death by Fentanyl,” a much darker and very different documentary on the opioid crisis, turn out to have impeccable instincts for the intimate and the warmly comic that gives this film the best kind of human moments. That is very much the case with the footage that opens the movie, show- ing then 15-year-old Jack Andraka screaming, crying and in general having an out-of-body experience when he wins the 2012 Gor- don E. Moore award. Interviewed by the filmmakers today, a much calmer Andraka underlines that “winning will change your life in ways you don’t even comprehend.” Completely in the spirit of 2002’s “Spellbound,” “Sci- ence Fair” proper begins with on-location introduc- tions to the competitors we will be following, motivated young people determined to make the world a safer and better place. Visited first is Louisville’s duPont Manual High School, a perennial hotbed of ISEF competitors, where we’re introduced to Anjali, as for- midably self-possessed and articulate a 14-year-old as you are likely to meet with a project that tests for arsenic levels in drinking water. Much more of a fish out of water is Kashfia, a slight, hajib-wearing teenager at Brookings High in Brook- ings, S.D., a school with three gyms and a weight training room but no laboratory. Not fitting in for very different reasons is 17-year- old Robbie inWest Virginia. Uninterested in school work to the point that he almost failed algebra (his teacher provides the amusing details), Robbie has a gift for machine learning and creativity and has programmed a computer to rap like Kanye West. Because ISEF has numerous competitors from overseas, “Science Fair” provides a sampling, starting with Ivo from Lorch, Germany, a small town in the Rhine Valley, who parlayed a passion for model airplanes into a radical rethinking and re-engineering of the venera- ble Flying Wing concept. From Iracema, Brazil, described as “a very poor city in a very poor state in a very poor region” comes 17-year-old Myllena and her best friend, Gabriel, deter- mined to help inhibit the Zika virus. Their journey to ISEF is so against the odds that people tend to cry when they describe it. Winning at ISEF is guar- anteed to change lives, but what’s clear is that just partici- pating does as well. “If you’re there just to win prizes,” Robbie astutely points out, “you’re missing the best part.” Tribune News Service A SCENE from the film “Science Fair.”

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