Minute Bodies

Austin Film Society Austin, TX


Alex Wild

Curator of Entomology, University of Texas

Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith— Entomology on film

Entomologist Alex Wild discusses naturalist filmmaking, advances in microphotography, and the intersection between art, functional research, and education.

Austin Film Society Austin, TX

Film Synopsis

A tribute to the work of naturalist and filmmaker F. Percy Smith, who worked in the early 20th-century to develop various cinematographic and micro-photographic techniques to capture nature's secrets in action.

This meditative, immersive film by Tindersticks’ Stuart A. Staples is a tribute to the astonishing work and achievements of naturalist, inventor and pioneering British filmmaker F. Percy Smith (1880-1945).

Based in a studio in north London in the early years of the 20th century, Percy Smith developed the use of time-lapse, animation and micro-photographic techniques to capture nature’s secrets in action. He worked in a number of public roles, including the Royal Navy and British Instructional Films, Smith was prolific and driven, often directing several films simultaneously, apparently on a mission to explore and capture nature’s hidden terrains.

Minute Bodies: The Intimate World of F. Percy Smith is an interpretative work that combines Smith’s original film footage – preserved within the BFI National Archive – with a new contemporary score by tindersticks with Thomas Belhom and Christine Ott. It creates a hypnotic, alien yet familiar dreamscape that connects us to the sense of wonder Smith must have felt as he peered through his own lenses and saw these micro-worlds for the first time. (Icarus Films)