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Presenters from around the world will descend on Chicago’s Westin O’Hare Hotel on Thursday, Oct. 30 for four days of discussion on films and their interaction with science.

The convention, titled “Film & Science: Fictions, Documentaries, and Beyond”, is the latest in a series of biennial events held by the Center for the Study of Film and History, which is housed at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Varied subjects will be presented, including “How Cloning is (Mis)Portrayed in Contemporary Cinema” and “Without a Machine? Forms of Time Travel in Donnie Darko, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless, Mind and Lost”.

UW Oshkosh professor Loren Baybrook, who was recently appointed director of the Center and editor-in-chief of its journal, Film & History, has been hard at work preparing the convention for nearly two years.

“It’s really been a learning experience,” said Carol Lassila, program assistant for the Center. “Neither one of us [Baybrook] had done anything like this before.”

Former editor-in-chief Peter Rollins of Oklahoma State University had previously arranged and organized the conventions, and helped the new office at UW Oshkosh learn the ins and outs with its new star director.

“Loren had been working with the journal for about a decade as an area chair, shaping proposals and vetting papers from colleagues for the journal,” Rollins said. “His attention to detail and concern for absolute accuracy made him an excellent candidate.”

That attention to detail and accuracy are a daunting mantle to take up, with over 400 presenters from 14 countries confirmed to give speeches and programs at the convention.

“We have presenters coming in from Israel, Turkey, India, and places like Australia; you name it,” Lassila said. “One of the best things about this convention is that the diversity provides scholars of all kinds the opportunity to come together and network. To share ideas.”

As a non-profit organization, the Center doesn’t request aid from UW Oshkosh to hold the convention, but that might not stop the Center from expanding its presence on campus with its rapid growth.

“From what I’ve read, we have over 15,000 users that read the journal regularly, and it’s only going to get bigger from here,” Rollins said. “In the next years, you may see celebrities on campus, distinguished scholars on campus, high school groups. This is only the beginning.”

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