SWEET FERN PRODUCTIONS LLC is the multimedia production company of filmmakers and science journalists Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck. We are the creators of the New York Times Op-Docs series ‘Animated Life,’ which uses paper puppets and stringent journalism to highlight moments of scientific discovery throughout history.
Our short ‘WHALE FALL’ premiered on Radiolab in 2011, won “Best Short” at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, and screened in festivals internationally. We premiered our second paper video, ‘THE ANIMATED LIFE OF A.R. WALLACE,’ on the New York Times in November, 2013, and it was an Official Selection of the 2014 Camden International Film Festival and the 2015 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. ‘ANIMATED LIFE: SEEING THE INVISIBLE,’ about Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek and the world of microbes, premiered on The New York Times in September, 2014, and was an Official Selection of the 2015 Atlanta Film Festival and the 2015 Paris Science Film Festival. ‘ANIMATED LIFE: PANGAEA,’ premiered on The New York Times February 17, 2015. A two-part mini-series that we developed with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation premiered on vox.com in June and July of 2015.
We’re based in Brooklyn, New York.
(Sweet Fern, Comptonia peregrina, is a plant that grows near the Northern shores of Lake Michigan, where Sharon grew up.)
WHO WE ARE
Co-Founder FLORA LICHTMAN is a science journalist and host of the new climate change podcast ‘The Adaptors.’ Her work has appeared on NPR, and in The New York Times, Popular Science and The Atlantic. Previously, Flora was the multimedia editor at National Public Radio’s Science Friday, where she made science videos for the web and chatted about them on the radio. She’s also the co-author of Annoying: The Science Of What Bugs Us (Wiley, 2011) and likes looking at sea life. Drop Flora a note at Flora.Lichtman@gmail.com.
Co-Founder SHARON SHATTUCK is a documentary filmmaker and animator. Her first feature, From This Day Forward, a story about growing up with a transgender parent, premiered at the 2015 Full Frame Documentary Festival and is currently screening in festivals internationally. She has worked on several award-winning documentary films and shorts, including the Emmy-nominated feature, The City Dark, which aired on PBS’s POV series in 2012, and The Search For General Tso, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival in 2014. Her short video and animation work has appeared in the New York Times, PBS, Slate, ProPublica, and Radiolab. She’s a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post and The Advocate, and has an B.S. degree in environmental science and an M.A. in journalism.
Emma Wiseman, Sweet Fern’s lead puppeteer and production assistant, is a multidisciplinary performer and theater-maker originally from Weston, CT and now based in Brooklyn. Over the last few years she has been acting, singing, dancing, and puppeteering at Dixon Place, the Detroit Institute of Art, Triskelion Arts, St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Bushwick Starr, Incubator Arts Project, Theatre for the New City, on film, in a field in Cold Spring, NY, and many other exciting venues. Emma has been fascinated by science and medicine from an early age and explores these subjects through live performance. She is currently a member of the dance-music troupe THE SPACE WE MAKE, and was a 2014 Resident Artist with Mabou Mines.