Prepare to be Amazed: Science on Screen® Series Opens at The Tull Family Theater 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020 | 4:35 PM

Are mushrooms the next scientific frontier? Could a group of high school students actually find a bird believed to be extinct? Could engineering be the career of the future? What do people impacted by autism do about dating?

These questions—and experts that help guide you to the answers—will present the 2020 Science on Screen® series at The Tull Family Theater in Sewickley.

The Tull Family Theater, one of only 37 art house cinemas nationwide for Science on Screen®, will produce this STEM-based speaker and film series for the region. Science on Screen is an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

As the Coolidge Corner Theatre explains, “Each film is used as a jumping off point for the speaker to reveal current scientific research or technological advances, providing the perfect combination of entertainment and enlightenment—even for the most science-phobic culture vulture!”

At The Tull Family Theater, speakers and panels will give 15- to 20-minute presentations and take questions from the audience before each screening. Check out the details below. Updates will be added to the Theater’s web page for these events:

Science on Screen presents an opportunity for residents of all ages to learn from and connect with STEM leaders across the region. Admission is $11 for general admission, discounted to $8.75 for seniors 65+, children 10 and younger, college students and military with ID.  Groups of 10 or more also receive the $8.75 rate via prior arrangement with the Theater.

The Tull Family Theater, 418 Walnut St., Sewickley, is an independent nonprofit cinema. Directions to the Theater and information about parking, which is available in a municipal lot next to the Theater and on the street, is available online at

The coming Science on Screen attractions are:

FANTASTIC FUNGI (NR, 1 hr 21 min)

Thursday, Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 1, 12:00 p.m.

This year’s series kicks off with the eye-popping, mind-bending Fantastic Fungi. The film provides an incredible time-lapse journey into the mysterious and medicinal world of mushrooms and captures their ability to heal, sustain and regenerate life.

SPEAKER: Ann (Fluff) Berger, Vice President and Education Chair of the Western Pennsylvania Mushroom Club, sharing the magic and lure of local mushrooms.

Berger, a WPMC board member since 2014, is an official WPMC Identifier, assisting in mushroom identification at monthly meetings and at the annual Lincoff Foray. She will share some of her widely published mushroom photography in her 15-minute presentation, and call upon her experiences on Mushroom Education Day. Last year alone, Berger led walks in Sewickley Heights, the Audubon Greenway and Devil’s Hollow.

Fantastic Fungi promises not to disappoint. Simply put by the Hollywood Reporter: “Eye-opening eye candy.” “Fantastic Fungi offers nothing less than a model for planetary survival,” declares the New York Times.



Thursday, March 3, 7:30 p.m.

On the eve of his father’s remarriage, a 15-year-old birding fanatic and his friends take off on an epic journey for what they think is a discovery that will put them in history books.

“You don’t have to be a birder to enjoy it,” says the UK’s Guardian. “The movie shows that seeking the rare and elusive is often more than just a physical quest; it also is a spiritual journey that changes the seeker.”

 SPEAKER: Dr. Brian Wargo, author and president of the Allegheny Plateau Audubon Society, is an official counter at The Allegheny Front straddling Bedford and Somerset counties, the Audubon Society’s western-most migration counting point in Pennsylvania. Wargo will discuss comeback successes like the recovery of the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. He also analyzes data from 88 hawk sites in the eastern U.S to compile a State of the Raptors report for Hawk Migration Studies. A director on the board of the Hawk Migration Association of America and an advocate for citizen science, he has created a Junior Hawkwatcher Program, which is available through the association. His book Bird!: An Exploration of Hawkwatching explains why people “get sucked into staring at the sky for hours on end.” When not outdoors, Wargo is teaching physics.



Thursday, April 16

9 a.m.

11 a.m.

Engineering is defined as “the manufacture and design of complex products,” but also has been described as a career of problem-solving. This session, geared to young people, from upper elementary through high school, is designed to enable their exploration of different fields of engineering.

ENGINEERING FAIR: An Engineering Fair presented alongside the film will have professors and working engineers from different types of industries explain their specialties and answer students’ questions.

Admission to both events is free, but RSVPs are requested at or by calling 412.259.8542.  The Theater anticipates working with a number of larger groups and appreciates your cooperation with registration to ensure that no patrons are disappointed.


KEEP THE CHANGE (NR, 1hr 34min)

Thursday, April 30

7:30 p.m.


Director Rachel Israel, in her debut feature film, follows an unlikely story of a couple who meet in a support group, using nonprofessional actors and providing “a refreshing love story that takes its autistic protagonists on their own terms,” says the Hollywood Reporter.

“This gently humorous, fiercely honest indie film is a step forward in the quest for a move inclusive Hollywood,” says the Arizona Republic. The indie film won the 2917 Tribeca Jury Award for the Best Narrative Feature as well as the Nora Ephron Prize Special Mention.

In recent years, those impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have grown increasingly open about the challenges they face, and the ages of those impacted have edged ever-upward. Between the Pennsylvania Autism Census in 2009 and the update in 2014, the state’s overall increase in autism diagnoses rose 181%; the increase in ages 21+ was 324%, making adults the fastest-growing group.

In light of these statistics, a panel discussion will focus on social issues, such as dating, among those impacted by autism.

PANEL DISCUSSION: The panel includes representatives from Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of Pittsburgh, among others.

Western PA Chapter of Autism Speaks, Senior Manager Field Development Laura McCurdy

​In her position, McCurdy serves as manager of the Autism Speaks Pittsburgh Walk, the organization’s largest opportunity to raise awareness and support the autism community’s needs.​ Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions for the needs of individuals with ASD and their families, both across the spectrum and throughout the life span. Through collaborations, Autism Speaks increases global understanding and acceptance of people with autism, serve as a catalyst for research breakthroughs, increase early childhood screenings and timely interventions, improve the transition to adulthood.

Autism Society of Pittsburgh, Director of Planning and Development Carrie Todd

Todd discovers appropriate services and resources for individuals with ASD and their families.  Active in support group development and support for caregivers, she focuses on new programs such as autism service dogs and partnerships with local art communities, striving to create acceptance of neurodiversity by providing autism training throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area. Active in support group development, Todd also realizes the importance of caring for caregivers. She resides in Butler County with her artist husband and their son, who is a 24-year old with ASD.

The Tull Family Theater, a 501(c) (3) Pennsylvania nonprofit, is a film-based arts organization created to strengthen cultural, educational and entertainment experiences in the region northwest of Pittsburgh. Supported by diverse private, public, corporate and foundation revenue streams, the Theater counts among its donors Allegheny Regional Asset District, Huntington Bank, and more than 1,000 individuals and its patrons. Their support sustains and expands programming at this independent cinema in Sewickley offering two screens and an event/performance space.