Tribeca Film Institute® Awards Carnegie Mellon Film Student the 2017 Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize

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Winner Annie Pulsipher to Receive $50,000 in Prize Money and Professional Guidance from TFI and the Alfred. P Sloan Foundation for Best Science-Themed Script

[New York, NY – March 17, 2017] – Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) last night announced Annie Pulsipher as the recipient of the 2017 Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize for screenwriting, a nationwide program supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation that encourages student filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling scripted films about science and technology.

Pulsipher, a film student at Carnegie Mellon, won for her screenplay THE GLOWING GENE, which follows Jaanvi, an insect geneticist, who was born from the union of two worlds, India and England, and two religions, Christianity and Jainism. After dengue fever takes her mother, she must return to India, heading a mosquito eradication effort, and fight to restore the balance, not only against a deadly disease but within her broken family.

Pulsipher’s “best-of-the-best” screenplay was selected from a group of submissions from Sloan’s U.S. film school partners, each submission of which had previously received a Sloan screenwriting award. Columbia University’s Christopher Abeel was awarded an honorable mention for his screenplay, A MOTIVATED MAN, which follows Fritz Haber, a chemist who sees the Great War as an opportunity to use his genius in service of his beloved Germany.

THE GLOWING GENE was selected by a jury made up of Geochemist Karin Block, Newscaster Robin Roberts, Christine Taylor, Senior VP, Corporate Communications, MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Astrophysicist Anjali Tripathi, and Maria Zuckerman, Senior Vice President of Production and Development at HBO Films.

Since its start in 2011, the Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize has supported seven student filmmakers and their projects with more than $350,000 in direct grants and professional development services. The prize aims to influence a new generation of filmmakers and to help aspiring screenwriters integrate science and technology subject matter into their projects. Every year, six leading film schools – AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC – submit one Sloan-winning screenplay for consideration for the prize. Those selections are then reviewed by a jury of experienced filmmakers and scientists.

Since 1997, the Sloan Foundation has awarded more than $4 million in direct grants to student filmmakers throughout the country and has supported more than 500 film projects that engage with science and technology themes and characters.

“We are delighted to join with Tribeca in awarding this year’s Student Grand Jury Prize to Annie Pulsipher’s THE GLOWING GENE, which uses cutting-edge science to explore and try to bridge the raw divisions of family, religion and nationality,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Sloan Foundation. “In a year when we have supported HIDDEN FIGURES and the upcoming Hedy Lamarr film BOMBSHELL, which will premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival®, along with works-in-progress about Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and Jane Goodall, we are especially proud to salute a woman filmmaker writing about a woman scientist.”

Pulsipher will receive $30,000 in prize money, an invitation to hear talks from industry experts during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, and an invitation to a “Sloan Works-In-Progress” reading also at the 2017 Festival. The $50,000 package provides Pulsipher with exposure to industry executives, financiers and producers in addition to the monetary grant. Pulsipher will be awarded one science and one film mentor who will provide her with professional guidance and support to advance her career.

“Every year, it is remarkable to see the quality and individuality of the projects we receive from student filmmakers who tackle themes of science and technology,” says Amy Hobby, Executive Director of TFI. “By partnering with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, we are fortunate to be able to give student filmmakers like Annie Pulsipher the resources to help make these valuable scripts come to life and tell stories that both push boundaries and resonate with audiences.”

About Tribeca Film Institute 

Tribeca Film Institute champions storytellers to be catalysts for change in their communities and around the world. Each year, we identify a diverse group of exceptional filmmakers and media artists then empower them with funding and resources to fully realize their stories and connect with audiences. Our education programs empower students through hands-on training and exposure to socially relevant films, offering young people the media skills necessary to be creative and productive global citizens. We are a year-round nonprofit arts organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in the wake of September 11, 2001.

For more information about Tribeca Film Institute, please visit http://www.tribecafilminstitute.org

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, Technology & Economics, 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 compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past 15 years, Sloan 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, along with an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize administered by Tribeca Film Institute. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, the Black List, and Film Independent's Producing Lab and Fast Track program and has helped develop such film projects as Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Matthew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity, Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, Rob Meyer's A Birder's Guide to Everything, Musa Syeed's Valley of Saints, and Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess.

The Foundation also has an active theater program and commissions about twenty science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club as well as supporting select productions across the country. Recent grants have supported Leigh Fondakowski’s SPILL, Nick Payne’s Incognito, Frank Basloe’s Please Continue, Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Informed Consent, Lucas Hnath's Isaac's Eye, and Anna Ziegler's Photograph 51, with Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes premiering at the National Theater in July 2017. The Foundation’s book program includes support for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, adapted into an Oscar-nominated box office hit in 2017.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, visit www.sloan.org

17 Mar 2017