To expand their Science on Screen series, the Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will award a series of grants to independent arthouse theaters around the country.
Science on Screen presents feature films and documentaries followed by lectures from leading experts in theIr respective fields. All U.S. nonprofit arthouse cinemas that are members of the Art House Convergence are eligible to apply. Applications are due April 1, with decisions announced two months later.
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COOLIDGE CORNER THEATRE AND ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE NATIONAL SCIENCE ON SCREEN INITIATIVE
Brookline, Massachusetts, January 10, 2011 – The Coolidge Corner Theatre, one of the nation’s most prominent independent non-profit cinemas, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, today announced an initiative to expand the Coolidge’s Science on Screen series, a unique program that educates about science while entertaining through movies. With the support of a $150,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation, the Coolidge Corner Theatre and Sloan will award a series of grants to select independent art house theaters around the country to bring Science on Screen to their communities.
Now in its seventh season, Science on Screen creatively pairs screenings of feature films and documentaries with lively presentations by notable experts in science and technology. Each film serves as a jumping off point for the speaker to share insights from scientific research or discuss technological advances in a way that engages popular-culture audiences. Programs such as The Wild Child with linguist Judy Shepard-Kegl, Fight Club with biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham, and The Day the Earth Stood Still with roboticist Dennis Hong have enlightened audiences about language acquisition, the origins of male violence, and groundbreaking advances in humanoid robots.
The Sloan Foundation’s support of Science on Screen is part of the Foundation’s broader commitment to fostering greater public understanding of science and technology through film. “Over the past decade, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has made enormous contributions to the film community and the public by partnering with major film schools and film festivals to promote a deeper, richer connection to the many different ways that science and technology affect our lives,” said Denise Kasell, executive director of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation. “We’re thrilled to be working with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to expand their science in film program by bringing Science on Screen to a national network of independent theaters.”
“We are delighted to partner with the Coolidge Corner Theatre and bring its pioneering Science on Screen program to theaters nationwide,” said Doron Weber, vice president of programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “This is a wonderful opportunity for art house theaters to pair great films with great speakers and show how science and technology can open up the conversation and expand our notion of entertainment and fun as well as enlightenment.”
The Coolidge Corner Theatre launched Science on Screen in 2005 with cognitive scientist Steven Pinker introducing the 3-D version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder with a talk on the mental representation of 3-D space. Alfred Hitchcock and science? “Instead of just searching for the closest match in terms of subject matter, which too often means that you’re merely illustrating information already given in a formulaic way, we wanted to surprise people and also attract a diverse audience of film buffs, sciencephiles, and those who are just plain curious about new ideas,” said Elizabeth Taylor Mead, associate director of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation and curator of Science on Screen. When Steven Schlozman, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard MedicalSchool, provided neurobiological explanations for the behavior of the zombies in Night of the Living Dead, filmgoers got an unusual and entertaining lesson on the brain.
The Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Sloan Foundation will launch the national Science on Screen initiative at the fourth annual Art House Convergence, taking place January 17 – 20 in Midway, Utah just before the Sundance Film Festival (January 20 – 30). Presented in cooperation with the Sundance Institute, the Art House Convergence (www.arthouseconvergence.org) provides an opportunity for representatives of art house theaters in the U.S. and Canada to come together to discuss issues unique to independent, community-based cinemas. Collectively, participating theaters welcome 20 million customers through their doors on an annual basis. The Coolidge is a founding member of the Convergence.
All non-profit art house cinemas based in the U.S. that are members of the Art House Convergence are eligible to apply for a Science on Screen grant. The Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Sloan Foundation will choose between six and eight theaters to each receive a $7,000 grant to implement the program at their cinemas. Grant applications and a complete information packet on Science on Screen may be downloaded at www.coolidge.org/sloan. Grant applications are due April 1, 2011, and recipients will be notified by June 1, 2011. For more information about the Coolidge’s Science on Screen series, co-presented by the Museum of Science, Boston, visit www.coolidge.org/science.