Wednesday 8 August, 2018

Mullumbimby Civic Hall

Screening starts 7pm, followed by director Sonya Pemberton in conversation with Catherine Marciniak (ABC North Coast)


Ahead of its broadcast on SBS Australia, Emmy award-winning filmmaker, Sonya Pemberton will be at Mullumbimby Civic Hall on Wednesday August 8 to screen and answer audience questions about her latest feature documentary;  Vitamania: The Sense and Nonsense of Vitamins

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

In Vitamania, scientist, presenter and YouTube star Dr Derek Muller investigates this surprisingly urgent question. Muller is skeptical 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 to take them or not? How do we separate the sense from the nonsense?

What he uncovers will confound opinions on all sides. Ultimately Vitamania seeks to empower consumers to make reasoned and informed decisions about vitamins – decisions that will save them money but might also save their lives.

Sonya Pemberton talks about what inspired her to make the film:

The idea for Vitamania evolved during the production of our previous SBS feature documentary, Jabbed – love, fear and vaccines. Whilst filming I met many people who identified as being vaccine hesitant; they perceived little benefit and significant risk, so they refused or delayed vaccination. These same people often said they ‘took vitamins’ and often gave them to their children because, despite not knowing what vitamins were, where they came from, how they were made and regulated, they perceived significant benefit and no risk. Zero. Zilch. 

“I wanted to know, why do millions of people trust that vitamins are doing them some good? Why is there this ‘health halo’ around them, where did it come from? And how did a group of thirteen chemical compounds launch a global industry worth over one hundred billion dollars a year?”

Following the screening, Sonya will be in conversation with Catherine Marciniak, Senior Features Reporter ABC North Coast for a behind-the-scenes discussion about the making of the film, along with a dive into the complex issues it covers.

“Screenworks in partnership with Genepool Productions are proud to be bringing this event to our health-conscious Northern Rivers community. This is a rare opportunity to watch the film ahead of its online launch and broadcast premiere on SBS TV, and be able to contribute to a live debate,” said Ken Crouch, CEO Screenworks

Screenworks is encouraging people to pre-book tickets as we hope that this event will sell out quickly like other recent screening events in Mullumbimby.

Vitamania is presented by Screen Australia, in association with SBS Australia, CuriosityStream, ARTE France and Film Victoria. More info available at

Doors will open at 6.30pm with the film commencing at 7pm followed by the Q&A.  Tickets are available from


For interviews and production stills, please contact Louise Hodgson at Screenworks 02 6681 1188  |  [email protected]


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.

DR DEREK MULLER: Presenter & Executive Producer

Dr Derek Muller is a scientist and filmmaker, the creator of Veritasium, a YouTube channel about science with five million subscribers and half a billion views. He is also a correspondent on Netflix’s Bill Nye Saves the World, now in its second season.

Derek hosted Genepool’s major three-part science documentary series Uranium – Twisting the Dragon’s Tail, broadcast globally in 2015 to critical acclaim, winning the Eureka Award for Science Journalism, Best Long-Form Series at the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards and the Rockie Award for Best Science & Technology Program at the Banff World Media Festival.

Derek is a highly sought-after speaker, appearing on stage with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku, and Space Station Commander Chris Hadfield. He has hosted the March for Science in Washington DC (2017), the Google Science Fair (2016), the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (2017), and he has spoken at the World Government Summit in Dubai and TED@Sydney.

Derek has received numerous awards including the 2016 Cogito Prize for Science Communication (Switzerland), the 2016 Eureka Award for Science Journalism (Australia) and the Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers (USA). He has also been featured in some of the world’s leading science and tech magazines, including Wired, Gizmodo and io9.

Derek is best known for addressing counter-intuitive concepts in science, and for his extraordinary ability for making the most complex stories relatable and entertaining.

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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