Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Sundance Institute Award Recipients for Science in Film Initiative

Feature Film Prize Goes to The Pod Generation, Grantees Honored at Reception during the 2023 Sundance Film Festival

PARK CITY, UTAH, January 23, 2023 — Today at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, the Sundance Institute Science-in-Film initiative with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation celebrated this year’s Feature Film Prize winner The Pod Generation directed by Sophie Barthes and the recipients of three artist grants for three projects in development at a reception following the Appetite for Construction panel at Filmmaker Lodge. The four filmmakers received a total of $70,000 in funding through the Prize and three artist grants for projects: Benjy Steinberg for The Professor and the Spy received the Sloan Episodic Fellowship, Cynthia Lowen for Light Mass Energy received the Sloan Development Fellowship, and John Lopez for Incompleteness received the Sloan Commissioning Grant.

“We are in a global moment where arts institutions must recognize in actionable ways the importance of science in media and entertainment, and Sundance Institute is deeply appreciative that the Sloan Foundation has partnered with us over two decades to nurture that connection,” said Sundance Institute CEO Joana Vicente.”It’s a pleasure to return to Park City to honor our Feature Film Prize winner and grantees after an engaging chat with our panelists about the bright side of science and the ethical framework scientists and storytellers alike bring to the idea of progress.”

 

“We are delighted to honor Sophie Barthes’ The Pod Generation, an original, futuristic-looking romance that engages with contemporary issues about reproductive technology and its impact on evolving gender roles and what it means to be a parent in the age of AI,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “At the same time, we are immensely pleased to award three screenwriting fellowships to three outstanding writers – John Lopez, Benjy Steinberg, and Cynthia Lowen – who explore scientific history and revisit the role of great men of science through the perspective of women and maverick sensibilities. This year’s winners are wonderful additions to the nationwide Sloan film program and further proof of the vitality of our pioneering, two-decade partnership with Sundance.”

WHO
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 – 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, SFFILM, the Black List, the Athena Film Festival, and Film Independent. The Foundation has supported over 750 film projects and 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 Werner Herzog’s Theater of Thought, David France’s How to Survive a Pandemic, Sharon Shattuck and Ian Cheney’s Picture a Scientist, Shalini Kantayya’s Coded Bias, Noah Hutton’s In Silico, Ric Burns’ Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, Mark Levison’s The Bit Player, Alexandra Dean’s Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Mark Levinson’s Particle Fever, and Jacques Perrin’s Oceans. It has also given early award recognition to stand-out films such as Don’t Look Up, Linoleum, Ammonite, The Aeronauts, The Martian, First Man,and Hidden Figures.

 

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 in London, while supporting select productions across the country and abroad. Recent grants from Sloan’s Theater Program have supported Mark Rylance’s Dr.Semmelweis, Anchuli Felicia King’s Golden Shield, Sam Chanse’s what you are now, Charly Evon Simpson’s Behind the Sheet, Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes, Chiara Atik’s Bump, Nick Payne’s Constellations, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51, David Auburn’s Proof, Leigh Fondakowski’s Spill, and Bess Wohl’s Continuity. The Foundation’s book program includes early support for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, the best-selling book that became the highest grossing Oscar-nominated film of 2017, and Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning American Prometheus, adapted for the screen and directed by Christopher Nolan, currently scheduled for release in July 2023.

 

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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