The Regional Australian Premiere: Followed by a Q&A with director Sonya Pemberton

Screenworks in partnership with Genepool Productions is delighted to be bringing the multi award-winning director, writer and producer Sonya Pemberton (Jabbed – Love, Fear & Vaccines, Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail and Immortal) to the region to introduce a premiere screening of Vitamania.

Vitamania is the latest feature documentary made by Emmy Award-winning Australian filmmaker Sonya Pemberton and scientist and YouTube star Dr Derek Muller.

In an epic journey that spans the globe and covers centuries, and aided by some of the world’s leading experts, Derek tracks the science of vitamins, asking how do we decide whether to take vitamin supplements, or not?

Following the screening, Sonya will be in conversation with Catherine Marciniak, Senior Features Reporter, ABC North Coast.

Wednesday 8 August, Mullumbimby Civic Hall

Doors open 6.30pm, Film starts at 7pm followed by Q & A

In Vitamania, the latest documentary made by Emmy Award-winning Australian filmmakers, Genepool Productions, scientist and YouTube star Dr Derek Muller investigates this surprisingly urgent question. What he uncovers will confound opinions on all sides.

Vitamin pills can be curative, or lethal, just like pharmaceuticals, but people can buy them without consultation, and in many countries manufacturers can offer them without proving safety or effectiveness. How on earth, in today’s risk-averse world, did this come to pass?

In an epic journey that spans the globe and covers centuries, and aided by some of the world’s leading experts, Derek tracks the science of vitamins – what they are, what they do, and how they work. He tells a story that quite literally stretches from pole to pole.

He travels inside the Arctic Circle in Norway to eat rotten fish and trace the game-changing story of cod liver oil. In the US, he attends a massive “natural health” trade show, revealing the hype and hysteria that drives the multi-billion-dollar global trade. And in Melbourne, Australia, he discovers that the daily amount of each vitamin the human body needs to survive is tiny—in some cases, so tiny that it can barely be seen by the naked eye.

Muller, a scientist, is sceptical of the many marketing claims, but open to discovery. He learns that vitamin-related science has won 10 Nobel Prizes. He sets out to go beyond debunking, to uncover the real benefits and risks of a collection of molecules equally beloved by medicos and marketers but for very different reasons. He asks, in a world where even the scientists disagree, how do we decide whether to take them, or not? How do we separate the sense from the nonsense?

To find the answers, the documentary combines powerful personal stories with breath-taking photography, surprise discoveries, vivid animations—and music. With witty songs contributed by well-known Australian composer and performer Casey Bennetto, Vitamania is the first science documentary ever to have its own libretto.

Ultimately, Vitamania empowers consumers to make reasoned and informed decisions about vitamins—decisions that will save them money, but might also save their lives. Because vitamins, we discover, are not benign. They are biologically active compounds. We need to know what they do. We need to take them seriously.

Guest Speaker Bios

SONYA PEMBERTON: Writer, Director, Producer, Executive Producer

Sonya Pemberton, creative director of Genepool Productions, is one of Australia’s leading factual television producers specialising in science. 2012 Emmy Award-winner and record-breaking five-time winner of the prestigious Eureka Award for Science Journalism, her passion is quality science programming.
Sonya has written, directed and produced over 60 hours of broadcast documentary, her films winning over 70 international awards. She also executive-produced many award-winning factual series and one-off programs, including the 2015 global science-history series Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail for SBS, PBS and ZDF/arte.
As a writer and director, her films include the critically acclaimed and multi-award-winning documentaries including the 2013 SBS feature length special on immunisation, Jabbed – love, fear and vaccines, followed by Vaccines – Calling the Shots for PBS NOVA in the USA. The multi-award winning film Catching Cancer was an exposé of viruses causing cancer, and her film Immortal which featured the work of Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn, won the 2012 Emmy award for Outstanding Science programming.

CATHERINE MARCINIAK: Senior Features Reporter ABC North Coast

Catherine has had a 35-year career as a documentary and digital storyteller.

Her documentary and website credits include ‘Steel City’, ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, the ‘Life Series – Life At 1’ and ‘Life At 3’ and ‘Dino Stampede’. From 2004 – 2005 she was the Series Producer of ‘Compass’, the ABC Television’s religion and ethics program.

Catherine has mentored and trained hundreds of emerging screen-content makers. She works as a digital storytelling mentor and facilitator within the North Coast community teaching photography, writing and video, and assisting people to share their stories across the ABC.

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