Subjects Include Astrophysicist’s Love Story, Cold War Space Race, and WWII Computer Pioneer
[New York, NY April 9, 2014] – Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) today announced the 2014 grantees of the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, which provides filmmakers funding and professional guidance in support of innovative and compelling films that offer a fresh take on science, mathematics and technology.
This year’s TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund recipients will receive a total of $150,000 in grants to support their projects, whose topics range from an astrophysicist’s love story, to a Cold War space race, to a WWII computer pioneer. Each of these filmmakers will be honored at this year’s TFI VIP Reception during the Tribeca Film Festival®. The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund has now given more than $1 million to filmmakers, a benchmark demonstrating the continued success of this creative collaboration.
This year’s winning projects were chosen by a distinguished jury of arts and science professionals, including actors John Slattery (Mad Men, God’s Pocket) and Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail), writer Jonathan Nolan (Dark Knight, Dark Knight Rises, The Prestige), Heather Berlin, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, and John Quakenbush, Harvard Professor of computational biology and bioinformatics.
Recent TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grantee successes include 2030 (TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund 2013), which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February, 2014; Computer Chess (TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund 2012), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 and was also nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards; A Birder’s Guide to Everything (TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund 2011), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2013, was purchased for distribution by Focus World and premiered in theaters in March; and Experimenter (TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund 2009), a film about Stanley Milgram directed by Michael Almereyda is slated to shoot this May.
The Sloan Foundation will be showcasing its longstanding relationship with TFI through several events during the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival including a retrospective screening and panel discussion around the 10th anniversary of Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind and a Sloan Work In Progress Readings event that will take place at the Crosby Street Hotel on April 21st.
"Through our partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute continues to be fortunate enough to give grants and professional development to filmmakers who recognize science as a rich source for story,” said Tamir Muhammad, Director of Feature Programming at TFI. “Coming off the recent success of completing several films through the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, we are able to broaden the range of story types and scientific themes in our grantees’ works, as evidenced by the three excellent projects we honor this year.”
“We are delighted to partner with Tribeca for the twelfth year in a row in supporting innovative filmmakers who find fresh and surprising ways to integrate science and technology themes and characters into their work,” said Doron Weber, Vice President, Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “The Sloan-TFI collaboration has already yielded several successful theatrical feature films and we fully expect this year’s outstanding line-up—from the story of the brilliant, code-breaking mathematician Alan Turing and the aspirations and misadventures of the self-styled Zambian Space Academy to a female road movie about an astrophysicist and a novelist who forge an unlikely bond—to come to a theatre near you. The recent success of such Oscar-winning films as Gravity, Her and Dallas Buyers Club shows that there is a public hungry for this kind of material and both commercial and critical pay-off for filmmakers willing to engage with such compelling themes and characters.”
The 2014 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grantees are:
• Afronauts – March 1965. The US and the USSR race to put a man on the moon. Thousands of kilometers away, a recently-disgraced group of Zambian exiles is also attempting a mission into Space. Inspired by the true story of the Zambia Space Academy. Director/Screenwriter Frances N. Bodomo is a Ghanaian filmmaker who grew up in Ghana, Norway, California, and Hong Kong before moving to New York to study at Columbia University (BA, Film Studies) and the Tisch School of the Arts (MFA, Film).
• Imitation Game –The life of British mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, who cracked the German "Enigma" Code to change the direction of WWII and is heralded as the pioneer of modern day computing. Benedict Cumberbatch stars with Keira Knightley, Mark Strong, and Matthew Goode. The film, already shot, will use the TFI Sloan Filmmaker funds for post-production efforts.
Director Morten Tyldum was nominated for a 2013 BAFTA award for Norway's all-time top grossing film, Headhunters, based on Jo Nesbø's novel. His first full-length feature, in 2003, was Buddy, winner of Best Film at Norway's Amanda Awards. Screenwriter Graham Moore is the New York Times bestselling author of The Sherlockian, a mystery novel, which has been published in 16 countries and translated into 13 languages. His script for The Imitation Game topped the 2012 Black List, Hollywood’s list of best unproduced screenplays of the year and was the highest scoring script in the Black List's decade-long history.
• Venus Transit – Iris, an old astrophysicist, needs to reach Palomar to keep the promise she made her late husband to watch the transit of Venus. She finds a driver and eventually an unexpected friend in Hannah, a fortysomething chick-lit novelist going through a marriage crisis. Screenwriter Giulia Corda graduated summa cum laude from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” with a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. She then pursued her screenwriting education in both Rome and Milan. After an early career working for RAI, the Italian national TV channel, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and moved to Los Angeles to attend the M.F.A. screenwriting program at the University of Southern California.
About Tribeca Film Institute
Tribeca Film Institute champions storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world. Through grants and professional development programs, TFI supports a diverse, exceptional group of ﬁlmmakers and media artists, providing them resources needed to fully realize their stories and connect with audiences. The Institute’s educational programming leverages an extensive film community network to help underserved New York City students learn filmmaking and gain the media skills necessary to be productive citizens and creative individuals in the 21st century. Featuring hands-on training and exposure to socially relevant ﬁlms, the Institute administers programs to more than 25,000 students annually. TFI was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001 and is a 501(c)(3) year-round nonprofit arts organization.
For more information and a list of all TFI programs visit http://www.tribecafilminstitute.org/
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About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The New York based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology, and economic performance. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience.
Sloan’s film program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and accurate stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past decade, the Foundation has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country – including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, and USC – and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production and an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize that Tribeca administers. Sloan also supports Screenplay Development Programs at Sundance, Hamptons International Film Festival, Film Independent and Tribeca and has developed such film projects as Future Weather, a coming of age story about a young woman who finds personal meaning in science, which premiered at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival; Valley of Saints and Robot & Frank, both of which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and shared the Sloan Feature Film Prize; A Birder’s Guide to Everything, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival; and Computer Chess, which premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. As more finished films emerge from this development pipeline the foundation has partnered with the Coolidge Corner Theater and the Arthouse Convergence to expand Coolidge’s Science on Screen program, pairing feature films with scientists, to 40 theaters nationwide. This program provides a unique distribution platform for Sloan films as one of the three films that the theatres show each year is a film that has received Sloan support.
The Foundation also awards annual Science and Technology Feature Film Prizes and has honored such films as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Grizzly Man, I Origins, Agora, Decoding Annie Parker, and Another Earth. Sloan also partners with Ensemble Studio Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club in support of new science plays such as Isaac’s Eye about the rivalry between Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke and The Explorers Club, a witty satire about gender bias in science. For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation please visit http://www.sloan.org.