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 that changed the world. ‘Animated Life: Seeing The Invisible’ won the 2015 Cine Golden Eagle award for Best Nonfiction Narrative Content/Short Animation.
Our first short, ‘WHALE FALL,’ was published on Radiolab in 2011, won “Best Short” at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival, and screened in festivals internationally. Our second paper video, ‘THE ANIMATED LIFE OF A.R. WALLACE,’ was published 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. ‘SEEING THE INVISIBLE,‘ about Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek and the world of microbes, was published 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. ‘PANGEA,’ was published on The New York Times February, 2015. A two-part mini-series (FLU and SABER TOOTH) that we developed with funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation was published on Vox in 2015. ‘MARY LEAKEY‘ was published on the New York Times December 8, 2015, and our last in the Animated Life series for awhile, ‘COELACANTH‘ was published on the New York Times on December 22, 2015. We’re currently developing some new stuff, stay tuned.
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 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. Sharon’s first feature, From This Day Forward, about her transgender parent, premiered at the 2015 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, had its international premiere at Hot Docs, and is in select theaters in spring/summer 2016. She has animated several award-winning documentary films and shorts, including the Emmy-nominated feature, The City Dark, which premiered at SXSW and aired on PBS’s 2012 POV series, and The Search For General Tso, which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and was distributed through IFC/Sundance Selects, and the short film Truck Farm. 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 degrees in environmental science and journalism.
Ruth Lichtman is a multimedia artist, producer, and director. She worked for three years at The American Repertory Theater’s second-stage, The Oberon, before moving to Brooklyn, where she currently resides. She was a 2014 artist-in-residence at The Sable Project. Ruth recently returned from directing a touring show with The Royal Frog Ballet, a theater collective which creates large-scale outdoor performances. Her design work can be seen in Sweet Fern’s “Mary Leakey” and the forthcoming “Coelacanth,” as well as in video work featured on The New York Times and The Atlantic.
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.