New York, New York – April 9, 2020 – Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have announced four grantees for their 2020 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, who will be awarded grants totaling $150,000 with formalized mentorship. The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund supports fiction films and series with compelling and realistic themes of science, math, and technology. Past TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grantees include the Oscar®-winning film, THE IMITATION GAME starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, as well as ADVENTURES OF A MATHEMATICIAN, which premiered at the 2020 Palm Spring International Film Festival, and ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES, which premiered at SXSW in 2019. This year’s grantees include MABEL, THE MUSHROOMERS, NEON TILAPIA, and TADPOLE.
MABEL, a coming-of-age story directed by Nicholas Ma, follows Callie, an awkward kid whose one friend, Mabel, is a potted plant – except Ms. Garrett, the charismatic science teacher who introduces her to the controversial world of “plant intelligence.”
THE MUSHROOMERS, a drama directed by Erica Liu, tells the story of Persie, a recently widowed mycologist, attempts to heal a contaminated old-growth forest in Washington State using only super fungi - but the mechanics of Mother Nature and her own mourning prove far fickler than anticipated.
NEON TILAPIA, a dramedy directed by Tony Koros, is about a fisherman in rural Kenya enlists the help of his granddaughter fight against the water-weed that threatens to take over his lake and livelihood using glowing, genetically modified fish.
TADPOLE, a satire by Ryan Craver, follows a closeted, trans high school student who experiments on sex-swapping tadpoles and ignites an Evangelical backlash in the local news.
“We’re excited to announce this group of projects which feature glowing genetically modified fish, a mycologist, and a high school student whose best friend is an intelligent potted plant,” said Amy Hobby, Executive Director at Tribeca Film Institute. “All four of these projects are in the development phase, and the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grant will give these teams the boost they need to propel their projects forward.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with TFI to support these outstanding and diverse filmmakers through the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, part of our nationwide film program” said Doron Weber, Vice President & Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “These four original scripts – on topics from the potential impact of genetically modified animals to the controversial science of plant intelligence – depict the limitless potential of scientific and technological stories to create compelling characters, vivid settings, and moving narratives.”
MABEL, THE MUSHROOMERS, and NEON TILAPIA will participate in the 2020 TFI Network filmmaker/industry market. TADPOLE will participate in the 2021 TFI Network.
See more information on the projects below:
Director: Nicholas Ma
Screenwriters: Joy Goodwin, Nicholas Ma
Producers: Luca Borghese, Helen Estabrook
Logline: No one at her new school gets Callie, an awkward kid whose one friend, Mabel, is a potted plant -- except Ms. Garrett, the charismatic science teacher who introduces her to the controversial world of “plant intelligence.” Desperate to impress her teacher, Callie starts building a secret greenhouse laboratory in her backyard, but Callie’s obsession threatens her first real connection with another kid.
Director/Screenwriter: Erica Liu
Producer: Yu-Hao (David) Su
Logline: Persie, a recently widowed mycologist, attempts to heal a contaminated old-growth forest in Washington State using only super fungi - but the mechanics of Mother Nature and her own mourning prove far fickler than anticipated.
Director/Screenwriter: Tony Koros
Producer: Elizabeth Charles
Logline: When a dangerous water-weed threatens to take over his lake and livelihood, a fisherman in rural Kenya enlists the help of his granddaughter to fight back using glowing, genetically modified fish. As strange lights appear in the lake, chaos erupts in the village.
Director/Screenwriter: Ryan Craver
Logline: When a closeted, trans high school student’s experiments on sex-swapping tadpoles ignite an Evangelical backlash in the local news, he becomes the reluctant face of America’s absurdist battle between religious and science education.
About Tribeca Film Institute
Tribeca Film Institute believes in the power of storytellers to bridge communities and spark meaningful change. We work to ensure that filmmakers and creators from systemically excluded communities have a platform and access to the resources and tools they need to tell their stories, connect with audiences, and build thriving creative careers.
About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, is a non-profit philanthropy that makes grants for original research and education in science, technology, and economics. 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 and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.