20th Year of Science-In-Film Initiative Celebrated, Feature Film Prize Goes to After Yang
The Sundance Film Festival has announced the artist grant recipients for the Sundance Institute Science-in-Film initiative at the twentieth annual Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize Reception, where the previously announced 2022 Feature Film Prize winner (Kogonada, After Yang) was honored. The grantees received a total of $70,000 in funding for their projects in development through the Sloan Episodic Fellowship (Kathryn Lo, Our Dark Lady), Sloan Development Fellowship (Nuhash Humayun, Moving Bangladesh) and Sloan Commissioning Grant (Shawn Snyder and Jason Begue, The Futurist).
“The Science-In-Film Initiative is turning 20 and we are thrilled to gather and celebrate After Yang and our grantees. With the importance of this initiative becoming clearer every year, it’s with gratitude that we mark two decades of the Sloan Foundation providing material support and recognition for filmmakers whose work engages with science and technology in an entertaining, meaningful way” said Festival Director Tabitha Jackson.
“From Primer, Grizzly Man, and Robot & Frank to Searching, Tesla, and After Yang – I was there for every award – it’s been a wonderful, pioneering, two-decade partnership with Sundance,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “To see extraordinary work move from development to the screen and beyond for 20 years is to witness a line of progress in science and technology representation that has deeply influenced our culture. This year’s Feature Film Prize winner Kogonada and screenwriting recipients – Kathryn Lo, Nuhash Humayun, Shawn Snyder, and Jason Begue – are outstanding additions to the multitalented Sloan family. We’re honored to recognize these gifted artists and look forward to contributing to their future success.”
The twenty-year partnership between the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Sundance Institute forms part of the Sloan Foundation’s nationwide Film Program, which includes support for six of the nation’s leading film schools plus six additional public schools and seven screenwriting development partners and has resulted in over 750 film projects and 30 completed feature films. In addition to Hidden Figures, originally supported by a Sloan book grant, the film program has long championed stories about women in science from Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story to stories about Louise Pearce, Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie, Lise Meitner and Jane Goodall. The program has also supported many works about the role of technology in daily life, including the impact of machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence. Sloan has supported feature narrative films such as Adventures of a Mathematician, One Man Dies a Million Times, The Sound of Silence, To Dust, The Catcher Was a Spy, The Man Who Knew Infinity, The Imitation Game, Experimenter and Operator, along with documentaries, such as the 2020 Sundance Film Festival selection Coded Bias and several new projects, including episodic television, in development. The program has also given early recognition to stand-out films such as Don’t Look Up, Ammonite, The Aeronauts, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, First Man, Searching, The Martian and Son of Monarchs, last year’s recipient of the Feature Film Prize.
AFTER YANG: Winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize
After Yang has been awarded the 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and received a $20,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at today’s online reception. The Prize is selected by a jury of film and science professionals and presented to an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.
The 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize Jury was previously announced on December 13th.
The jury stated, “For its exquisitely crafted and deep poetic meditation on how technology can help us reflect on our humanity, and the ways our brains navigate memory, loss, and connection — even while it poses new challenges to our privacy, security, and identity — the 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at the Sundance Film Festival goes to Kogonada’s After Yang.”
After Yang / U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Kogonada, Producers: Andrew Goldman, Caroline Kaplan, Paul Mezey, Theresa Park) — In the near future, a father and daughter try to save the life of Yang, their beloved robotic family member. Cast: Colin Farrell, Jodie Turner-Smith. Justin H. Min, Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, Haley Lu Richardson. North American Premiere. Fiction.
Koganada’s debut film, Columbus, starring John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. He wrote and directed his second feature, After Yang, starring Colin Farrell and Jodie Turner-Smith, for A24.
Sundance Institute / Sloan Episodic Fellowship
Kathryn Lo (writer) will receive a $10,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for Our Dark Lady. Previous winners include: The Harvard Computers, Higher, and DELTA-V.
Our Dark Lady: After James Watson trashes scientist Rosalind Franklin in his memoir on the discovery of DNA’s double helix, a friend seeks to uncover the theft of her data by investigating two labs in 1950s England — where Rosalind emerges as the centerpiece of the most important scientific breakthrough of the modern era.
Working in print, radio, television and online, Kathryn Lo relishes storytelling of all forms. She spent 10 years curating the Emmy-winning documentary series Independent Lens, and oversaw a 450-hour program pipeline at PBS. After a career of championing others’ work, Kathryn is excited to pursue her own curiosity and projects.
Sundance Institute / Sloan Development Fellowship
Nuhash Humayun (writer and director) will receive a $15,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for Moving Bangladesh. Previous winners include: Chariot, Tidal Disruption, and Goliath.
Moving Bangladesh: Stuck in traffic and in life – a struggling Bangladeshi entrepreneur creates an app that may change transport in developing countries forever, but must first overcome his skeptical family.
Nuhash Humayun is a Bangladesh-based writer/director with a focus on the intersection of genre and Asian identity. His credits include Sincerely Yours, Dhaka (world premiere at Busan 2018, acquired by Netflix). Nuhash’s upcoming feature Moving Bangladesh has received support from Film Independent, Cannes Marche du Film, Locarno Open Doors and Film Bazaar.
Sundance Institute / Sloan Commissioning Grant
Shawn Snyder (co-writer and director) and Jason Begue (co-writer) will receive a $25,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for The Futurist. Previous winners include: Pharmacopeia, The Plutonians and Challenger.
The Futurist: When the scientific community abandons him, a renowned neuroscientist attempts to rectify his complicated past and to author a more auspicious future by using his own brain for cyborgian experimentation. The Futurist takes place inside that brain. Inspired by true events.
Shawn Snyder’s first feature, the Sloan/Sundance supported To Dust, won the Best New Director Award and Audience Award at Tribeca 2018 and was nominated for Best Screenplay at the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards. Having studied Religion at Harvard and Filmmaking at NYU, Shawn never imagined making movies about science. He stands corrected.
Jason Begue is a Latinx filmmaker known for To Dust, which he co-wrote with Shawn Snyder and co-produced alongside Alessandro Nivola, Emily Mortimer and Ron Perlman. He is currently completing studies at NYU Grad Film, while the writing duo continues to develop a larger slate of projects – including Baby-Face, Jason’s first feature.
About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation:
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a New York-based, philanthropic, not-for-profit institution that makes grants in three areas: research in science, technology, and economics; quality and diversity of scientific institutions; and public engagement with science. 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.
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 two decades, Sloan has partnered with top ﬁlm schools in the country – including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, and USC, plus six public film schools – and established annual awards in screenwriting and ﬁlm production, along with an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, Film Independent, SFFILM, the Black List, the Athena Film Festival, and the North Fork TV Festival. The Foundation has helped develop over 30 feature films including Michael Almereyda’s Tesla, Lydia Dean Pilcher and Ginny Mohler’s Radium Girls, Thor Klein’s Adventures of a Mathematician, Jessica Oreck’s One Man Dies a Million Times, Michael Tyburski’s The Sound of Silence, Shawn Snyder’s To Dust, Logan Kibens and Sharon Greene’s Operator, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, and Matthew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Inﬁnity. The Foundation has supported feature documentaries such as Picture a Scientist, Coded Bias, In Silico, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, The Bit Player, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Particle Fever, and Oceans.
The Foundation has an active theater program and commissions about 20 science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and the National Theatre, as well as supporting select productions across the country and abroad. Recent grants have supported Bess Wohl’s Continuity, Charly Evon Simpson’s New York Times Critic’s Pick Behind the Sheet, Chiara Atik’s Bump, Leigh Fondakowski’s Spill, Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes, Nick Payne’s Constellations, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51. The Foundation’s book program includes support for Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, which became the highest-grossing Oscar-nominated film of 2017 and a social and cultural milestone.
For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, please visit www.sloan.org or follow the Foundation at @SloanPublic on Twitter and Facebook.
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