In an article entitled ‘The art of the science documentary’ Fiona Gruber profiles Sonya and her work.
Sonya Pemberton’s films are beautiful but the science is rigorous.
A young couple dance a slow and sexy tango against the backdrop of a German castle; an old Hollywood film shows a man frantically trying to turn back the hands of a clock and a vivid animation full of sepia washes and fine line portraits conveys the history of smallpox inoculation; Sonya Pemberton’s quest to explain science through television is full of memorable sequences and striking images.
“It’s art. I like to think every film I make is beautiful, I don’t want to make ugly films,” she says. She cites influences as varied as Jane Campion, David Lynch and Federico Fellini. “I draw my inspiration from drama,” she explains.
We’re in Pemberton’s office at Genepool Productions in Melbourne, currently neat but usually piled high with research notes, pictures and storyboards, she says.
A pool table dominates the downstairs space, an arena of frequent and friendly contest with her cinematographer husband, Harry Panagiotidis, who also shoots her films; a large golden statue props up a small table. “It’s incredibly heavy,” says Pemberton, lifting her Emmy from the US Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
It’s the top gong for “outstanding science and technology programming” and was awarded last year for Immortal. The 2010 film examines the research of Nobel Prize winning scientist Dr Elizabeth Blackburn into telomere biology – the study of the caps on the ends of chromosomes – and its implications for arresting the ageing process. Pemberton has won the Eureka Prize for Science Journalism three times and dozens of other awards in a career spanning more than 25 years…
Read the full article here.