Unlock to stream instantly
Already unlocked? for access

Give as a gift

Protected ContentThis content can only be viewed in authorized regions: United States of America, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Virgin Islands (U.S.), American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico.
$12After unlocking, you'll have 7 days to start watching. Once you begin, you'll have 48 hours to finish watching. Need help?

Introduction by filmmaker Mark Levinson and Dr. Ophir Frieder, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Georgetown University.

In a blockbuster paper in 1948, Claude Shannon introduced the world to the "bit" and laid the foundation for the information age. The impact would be incredibly far reaching, influencing such diverse fields as communication, linguistics, genetics, computing, cryptography, neuroscience, artificial intelligence and cosmology. Shannon also constructed a mathematical theory of juggling, rode unicycles, wrote the first paper on computer chess and built a flaming trumpet! THE BIT PLAYER is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Festival Award-winning film directed by Mark Levinson (PARTICLE FEVER) that combines interviews with leading scientists, archival film, inventive animation and compelling commentary from Shannon himself to tell the story of an overlooked genius who revolutionized the world, but never lost his childlike curiosity. (Note adapted from Argot Pictures.)

Science on Screen

June 8–30


Science on Screen® creatively pairs screenings of classic, cult, science fiction and documentary films with lively presentations by notable experts from the world of science and technology.

Presented as part of Science on Screen®, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Mark Levinson

Before embarking on his film career, Mark Levinson earned a doctoral degree in particle physics from the University of California at Berkeley. In the film world, he became a specialist in the post-production writing and recording of dialogue known as ADR (Automated Dialog Replacement) and has worked closely with such directors as Anthony Minghella, Francis Coppola, Tom Tykwer, Milos Forman and David Fincher. In addition to THE BIT PLAYER, Levinson is the writer, producer and director of the narrative feature PRISONER OF TIME (1993) and the documentary PARTICLE FEVER (2013), which is also screening as part of this year's Science on Screen program.


Dr. Ophir Frieder

Dr. Ophir Frieder focuses on scalable information processing systems with particular emphasis on health informatics. He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, AIMBE, IEEE and NAI, an Inaugural Member of the ACM SIGIR Academy, and a Member of Academia Europaea and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He was awarded the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Research in Information Science Award for medical informatics and the IEEE Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award for scalable information systems. Heavily involved with industrial efforts, he is the Lead Science and Technology Advisor for Aurora: The Business Forge and Chief Scientific Officer of Invaryant, Inc. He is a member of the computer science faculty at Georgetown University and the biostatistics, bioinformatics and biomathematics faculty in the Georgetown University Medical Center.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    90 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Rating
  • Director
    Mark Levinson
  • Screenwriter
    Mark Levinson
  • Producer
    Mark Levinson