Science. Art. Film.: Jaws + Panel M

An illustration of a great white shark in the ocean. Seen from below, it rises to the surface with its jaws open and teeth visible.
28 February
Arc Cinema
FREE (Bookings essential)
Dir: Steven Spielberg, M, United States, 1975, 127mins, DCP,

Billed as ‘The terrifying motion picture from the terrifying No. 1 bestseller’, Jaws has indelibly shaped the way many of us view sharks.

The great white from Steven Spielberg’s early masterpiece has become one of the most enduring and frightening villains in thriller history. To escape this one, ‘…you’re gonna need a bigger boat’. 

However, sharks don’t deserve this vicious reputation. Both Spielberg and Peter Benchley, author of the 1974 book, have expressed regret for the negative impact of these works of popular culture on shark numbers, which plummeted due to fishing for sport in the years after their release.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, more than a third of all shark species and approximately 75% of oceanic shark species face the threat of extinction.  

Join us after the movie for an insightful panel discussion exploring the extent to which this film has influenced public perception of sharks, and what it shows us about the cultural power of popular films. 

‘One of the most effective thrillers ever made’ – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times 



Dr Kenneth Lampl received his DMA in music composition from the Juilliard School of Music and was a student of John Williams. He has scored over 100 films, including: Pokemon: The First Movie: Mew vs Mewtwo, Pokemon Mewtwo Returns, Frontera (starring Ed Harris and Eva Longoria) and 35 & Ticking (starring Kevin Hart and Nicole Ari-Parker). His recent Australian scores include The Furies, 2067 and Sissy. The 2067 soundtrack was released by Sony/Milan Records and was also listed as 'One of the Best Scores of 2021‘ by the Film Music Institute in Los Angeles. Lampl is currently the convenor of the Composition for Film and Video Game program at the Australian National University. 

Dr Hannah Calich received her PhD in marine biology from the University of Western Australia, where her research focused on describing the movement patterns of tiger, great hammerhead and bull sharks in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean. She is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University with Associate Professor Ana Sequeira, investigating the movement patterns of migratory marine animals on a global scale. Hannah is a member of the Gathaagudu Animal Tracking Project that aims to understand the movement and habitat use patterns of tiger sharks, green and loggerhead turtles and dugongs in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Hannah enjoys scuba diving, teaching, and giving presentations about sharks to diverse audiences.  


Dr Anna-Sophie Jürgens is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science and the Head of the Popsicule – ANU’s Science in Popular Culture and Entertainment Hub. Her research explores the cultural meanings of science in different pop cultural media. 



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