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Nerd Night:  Contact

Special 2021 El Paso Space Festival Movie Night


Wednesday, September 22nd @ 6:30 pm



Join us to watch “Contact” (1997), a film that takes place at the intersection of science, politics and faith. Considered a daring work by critics, this studio film, based on the best-selling novel by Carl Sagan, weighs notions of faith-based thinking in a science-fiction tale following humanity’s first contact with an extra-terrestrial intelligence. Guest Speakers include Dr. Andrew Maynard, Associate Dean for Curricula and Student Success, College of Global Futures, Arizona State University and representatives from the Very Large Array in Socorro New Mexico.

Kick-back and enjoy a classic film at the Alamo Drafthouse with commentary from leading experts, and enjoy a special event drink crafted by our partners from Alamo Drafthouse. This event is part of the week-long El Paso Space Festival. For more information about the 2021 El Paso Space Festival, please visit our EPSF Webpage.


About Our Special Guests:

Dr. Andrew Maynard is a scientist, writer, broadcaster, and professor in Arizona State University’s College of Global Futures where he studies the future and how our actions influence it. His most recent books include “Films from the Future: The Technology and Morality of Sci-Fi Movies” where he explores the ethical development and use of new technologies through science fiction movies. His reader’s guide provides an introduction to each chapter, including “Contact”: “Contact beautifully captures the passion and thrill of what it’s like to be a scientist and to do science. But it’s also a revealing study of the intertwined relationship between science and belief. Watch the film for the way it gets under the skin of sometimes-misguided ideas about science and belief, and reveals how the discipline of science, when combined with our passions and beliefs, elevates who we are”. Learn more about Dr. Maynard HERE


The Very Large Array is one of the world’s premier astronomical radio observatories. It consists of 27 radio antennas in a Y-shaped configuration on the Plains of San Agustin fifty miles west of Socorro, New Mexico. Each antenna is 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter. The data from the antennas is combined electronically to give the resolution of an antenna 36 km (22 miles) across, with the equivalent sensitivity of a dish 130 meters (422 feet) in diameter. For more information about the VLA visit: HERE


Where:  Alamo Drafthouse Cinema East

12351 Pellicano Dr, El Paso, TX 79928

When: September 22, 2021

Doors open at 5:30pm
Movie will begin at 6:30pm
Discussions and Q&A til 9:30pm

** We will be adhering to Alamo Drafthouse’s Covid 19 Response Policy and we encourage you to do the same.
Alamo Drafthouse’s mask policy is as follows:


  • We are following the public health recommendations from the CDC and adhering to all local mask mandates.
  • Not fully vaccinated? Please wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking.
  • Vaccinated? Unless federal or local regulations change, masks are not required for vaccinated people. However, for the comfort and safety of our team and other guests, we’d strongly prefer that you wear a mask while inside the theater.
  • Masks are required for everyone who attends Kid Friendly, All Ages, and Sensory Friendly screenings until vaccines for children are widely available.
  • For more information on Alamo Drafthouse’s Health and Safety guidelines click HERE

How to RSVP:

Tickets to Nerd Night: EPSF Movie Night

Your ticket purchase allows us at Insights to continue to provide STEAM education programs to our El Paso Community. As a not-for-profit organization, our efforts are made possible by the generous support of people like you. We sincerely appreciate your contribution!

Nerd Nights unites our community with a celebration of Science & Humanities.

Stay tuned for our next Nerd Night

Nerd Night: UTEP’s Critical Zone


As a part of our STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) education mission, we have teamed up with UTEP’s Centennial Museum to bring a new event to the Border Region – Nerd Nights.  Nerd Nights is a series of informative evening events designed to bring fun scientific/humanities talks and activities to your favorite local brewery, restaurant, coffee shop, or any other community hub.  We will host a different Nerd Night at a different local establishment on a monthly basis.

Why Nerd Nights?  We launched Nerd Nights because we wanted to find an entertaining way to learn something new while sharing good food and drink with new friends.

Still have questions about Nerd Nights? Please read our Nerd Night FAQ’s.


Night Sponsor Hall of Fame

Nerd Night #35 sponsored by:

Nerd Night #24 sponsored by:

Wine Attitude is not your usual bar.  They feature great conversation, happy hour, live music, and select only the finest wines from around the world and bring them here for your enjoyment.   Be sure to check out Wine Attitude’s new location on Mesa.

Nerd Night #20 sponsored by:

Nerd Night #18 sponsored by:

Virgin Galactic is a spaceflight company within the Virgin Group at the vanguard of a new industry, pioneering the next generation of reusable space vehicles. Virgin aims to transform the current cost, safety and environmental impact of space-launch.  In doing so they are helping to create a basic space access infrastructure that will act as an enabler for scientists and entrepreneurs.  It will also provide the catalyst for a new age of space exploration which promises enormous positive potential for life on Earth.

Nerd Night # 16 Sponsored by

Thwaites Interdisciplinary Margin Evolution – The TIME group studies the role of shear margin dynamics in the future evolution of Thwaites Drainage Basin.  TIME is an ice-based project using state-of-the-art geophysical techniques to observe rapidly deforming parts of Thwaites Glacier (shear margins) which may have significant control over future stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). The TIME project will observe rapidly deforming parts of Thwaites Glacier which may have significant control over the future evolution of WAIS, and use these new observations to improve ice sheet models used to predict future sea level rise.

Check out our Nerd Night Archive

Want to keep Nerd Nights totally free?  We need your help!  Sponsorship from our community of Nerds are what keep these events going strong.  Please let us know if your organization would like to make the next Nerd Night a reality!

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