From the Nominator
This video introduces Jim Breen, one of a dying breed of university artisans nationwide who create glass vessels for researchers' experiments. Breen's subterranean College of Chemistry Glass Shop at UC Berkeley is hard to find, humble and cluttered, but his craftsmanship is coveted by campus scientists from many disciplines. As Breen is nearing retirement and may not be replaced (only about 50 U.S. scientific glassblowers remain in academia), profiling him seemed critical. He's the last of the 20 glassblowers Berkeley had 20 years ago. The video reveals the visual beauty of both the scientific glassblowing process and the final results of Breen's work, as well as his valuable role in Berkeley's research discoveries.
From the Judges
What made this video project a standout was the sheer uniqueness of the subject matter—customized glassblowing for science experimentation. Jim Breen’s expertise and craft illustrate his years of experience, but also reveal a behind-the-scenes look into a specialized practice. Beautifully shot and produced, with cinematic appeal, this mini-documentary portrait is definitely a great example of how to produce a research-focused immersive story.