Laura Nix discusses her documentary Inventing Tomorrow, which follows a diverse group of students at a science fair, all of whom are working on projects to benefit the place where they live.
“The image of STEM that’s put out there is white men in lab coats. If you’re a woman or a person of colour, you don’t know that you can do that,” explained Laura Nix, the director of Inventing Tomorrow, which had its Canadian Premiere at HotDocs last week. Her film aims to change that perception. Inventing Tomorrow follows four groups of high school finalists at the Intel Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) from around the world. Half of her subjects are young women. None are white. They’re a far cry from the stereotypical science nerd, an antisocial freak with thick glasses and headgear. Most of the time, they look like regular kids who live regular lives.
Nix didn’t want to follow just any teenagers interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), but ones who were specifically interested in using STEM to solve a local environmental problem. “They’re trying to literally save where they live and fight for their community,” explained Nix. “That was when I made the decision to make this about environmental subjects.”