The Sundance Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation today named the recipients of three artist grants aimed at supporting projects currently in development, as they officially bestowed their Feature Film Prize on Sam and Andy Zuchero’s Love Me, all through their joint Science-In-Film Initiative.
Emily Everhard received a $17,000 cash award under the Sloan Episodic Fellowship for her NASA aquanaut script Tektite, with writer-directors Sara Crow and David Rafailedes claiming the Sloan Development Fellowship for Satoshi, taking home $17,000 for their project about the mysterious inventor of Bitcoin. Filmmaker Lizzi Oyebode received a $25,000 cash award through the Sloan Commissioning Grant for her feature project Inverses, about the lone Jewish professor resisting a Nazi takeover of the world’s leading university math department.
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The Zucheros’ debut feature Love Me had previously been announced as the recipients of the $25,000 Feature Film Prize, presented to an outstanding title focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer, or mathematician as a major character. The U.S. Dramatic Competition title, starring Kristen Stewart and Steven Yeun, is about a buoy and a satellite who meet online and fall in love in the aftermath of humanity’s extinction.
All filmmakers were celebrated today at a reception in Park City, hosted by the Foundation, prior to that participating in Beyond Film event “The Big Conversation: Screen of Consciousness,” where they discussed cinema’s portrayal of artificial intelligence.
“The connection between art and science, while indelible, is also ever-changing. Each year, thanks to our long-standing partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, we are able to imagine with greater nuance how science can bolster art, and vice versa,” said Sundance Institute CEO Joana Vicente. “Through the Science-In-Film Initiative’s Feature Film Prize and the artist grants, we are honored to recognize the artists pioneering how this relationship is explored and uplifted in media. We are thrilled to celebrate this year’s recipients and to have created a space to further discourse on this compelling topic at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.”
Speaking to Feature Film Prize recipient Love Me in particular, Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, called the pic “an original and wildly imaginative film about the nature of human identity and our connection to each other in a post-human world mediated through artificial intelligence.”
Added Weber, “In a year when Chris Nolan’s great-man-of-science biopic, Oppenheimer, based on the Sloan book American Prometheus, broke box office records and garnered acclaim, we are especially pleased to award three screenwriting fellowships to four outstanding writers who dramatize the unique obstacles and underappreciated contributions of exceptional women in science and technology. 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.”
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