April 04, 2013

Science-fair star inspires movie

'Junkyard Genius' inspires a movie

By Cindy YurthAfter appearing in multiple newspapers, on TV ("Extreme Home Makeover"), being written up in Oprah magazine and being profiled in a book (Judy Dutton's "Science Fair Season"), Garrett Yazzie thought his 15 minutes of fame may be coming to an end.

But there was still one medium that hadn't tackled Yazzie's compelling story of making it all the way to a national science competition with a device made out of scraps from the rez: film.

Now he can cross that one off his list too.

For two weeks, a crew led by promising young writer/director Eliza McNitt was holed up in Pinon, Ariz., Yazzie's hometown, filming "Without Fire," a 15-minute short film based on Yazzie's 2005 invention of a solar device that heats both water and air, made almost entirely of things he found lying around.
Comment:  For more on Navajo science, see Navajo Nation Science Fair and Navajo Engineers Receives Presidential Award.

Below:  "Misty Upham, playing the mother of the young scientist in Eliza McNitt's short film "Without Fire," reacts as she realizes the radiator of her truck is missing as a film crew records the scene. Upham's character is based on Georgia Yazzie, mother of national science fair entrant Garrett Yazzie. Believe it or not, the truck was towed in from Albuquerque." (Cindy Yurth)


Anonymous said...

Most Indians know a thing or two about jury-rigging old parts. (There's a reason for jokes about "Indian cars" that run on "equal parts Bondo and duct tape".) That said, the kid is smart, and this type of technology could be used to provide space heaters and water heaters to the world, for cheap.

Andrew said...

That is great. Movies chronicling scientists are great for inspiring kids to enter the field...maybe we can eventually give science the cool spin it deserves!