“Light on Earth” lights up Jackson Hole awards

David Attenborough's Light on Earth (pictured) and Racing Extinction were among the factual projects that took home top honors at this year's Jackson Hole Science Media Awards.
September 22, 2016

Terra Mater Factual Studios’ David Attenborough’s Light on Earth (pictured) and Louie Psihoyos‘ Racing Extinction took home top honors at the third biennial Jackson Hole Science Media Awards.

David Attenborough’s Light on Earth follows the renowned naturalist and a team of scientists as they explore the world of bioluminescence produced by glow worms, fireflies and luminous plankton.

Discovery Channel’s Racing Extinction, meanwhile, follows Psihoyos and his team from the Oceanic Preservation Society as they covertly navigate some of the world’s most dangerous black markets to expose the endangered species trade while documenting the link between carbon emissions and species extinction.

The awards, which celebrate the world’s most effective science storytellers and stories, anchored the Science Media Awards and Summit, a three-day industry conference, taking place between Sept. 19 and 21. It attracts leading scientists and science media stakeholders to share new work, approaches and ideas.

A 115-person panel of distinguished international judges screened an aggregated 2,100-plus hours of content to select this year’s finalists, which saw more than 500 entries competing across 25 categories. The awards were handed out during a gala ceremony at the Harvard Art Museum in Boston on Wednesday night (Sept. 21).

The 2016 Jackson Hole Science Media Awards winners are listed below. A full list of winners is available here.

Grand Helix Award Winner:

David Attenborough’s Light On Earth
Terra Mater Factual Studios/Ammonite Films, CuriosityStream, with: BBC, UKTV, ABC Australia Director/Producer: Joe Loncraine, Director of Photography: Martin Dohrn, Cinematographers: Jack Hynes, Fraser Johnston, Elliot Lowndes, Jonathan Esling, Ian Stewart

Earth & Sky

Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough: Ep.1 Builders
Atlantic Productions

Science of Life

Sonic Sea
Discovery Channel presents a Natural Resources Defense Council, Imaginary Forces, International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Diamond Docs production

Changing Planet

Racing Extinction
Okeanos – Foundation for the Sea and Discovery Channel present an Oceanic Preservation Society film in association with Vulcan Productions, The Li Ka Shing Foundation, Earth Day Texas, JP’s Peace, Love & Happiness Foundation, Diamond Docs, and Insurgent Docs

Health & Medicine

Twice Born: Stories From The Special Delivery Unit: Ep. 1
Trailblazer Studios

Physical Sciences

Inside Einstein’s Mind
A NOVA Production by Windfall Films Ltd. (part of the Argonon Group) for WGBH Boston produced in association with the BBC

Technology & Innovation

The Origami Code
La Compagnie des Taxi­Brousee, Fact + Film, Leonardo Film and ZDF/3Sat

Being Human

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman: Are We Bigots?
Produced by Revelations Entertainment for Science Channel

Short Form Series (under 20 minutes)

Think Like A Scientist
Produced for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute by Day’s Edge Productions

Long Form Series (longer than 20 minutes)

Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail
Genepool Productions, in association with Screen Australia, Film Victoria, SBS, PBS and ZDF/ARTE

Short Program

Moth Mimicry: Using Ultrasound to Avoid Bats
Gorongosa Media Project and Off the Fence, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Immersive: Fulldome, 3D & Large Format

David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies 3D
Atlantic Productions, Sky 3D


Connected Worlds
NY Hall of Science, Design I/O

Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality

Case Western Reserve University’s Interactive Commons and Cleveland Clinic


Natural Numbers

Science Journalism

Vaccines—Calling the Shots
A NOVA Production by Tangled Bank Studios, LLC, in association with Genepool Productions Pty Ltd. for WGBH Boston

About The Author
Andrew Tracy joined Realscreen as associate editor in 2021, following 17 years as managing editor of the award-winning international film magazine Cinema Scope. From 2010 to 2020 he also held the position of senior editor at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he oversaw the flagship publication for the organization’s year-round Cinematheque programming and edited its first original monograph in a decade, Steve Gravestock’s A History of Icelandic Film. He was a scriptwriter and consultant on the first season of the Vice TV series The Vice Guide to Film, and his writing and reporting have been featured in such outlets as Cinema Scope, Reverse Shot, Sight & Sound, Cineaste, Film Comment, MUBI Notebook, POV, and Montage.