Yesterday at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, Michael Almereyda’s new film “Marjorie Prime” won the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Feature Film Prize. The Prize is selected by a jury of film and science professionals and presented to outstanding feature films focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character. The jury presented the award to “Marjorie Prime” for its “imaginative and nuanced depiction of the evolving relationship between humans and technology, and its moving dramatization of how intelligent machines can challenge our notions of identity, memory and mortality.” As a result, the film will receive a $20,000 cash award from the foundation.
“We are thrilled to partner with Sundance for the 14th year in a row and award the 2017 Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance to Michael Almereyda’s ‘Marjorie Prime,'” said Doron Weber, Vice President at the Sloan Foundation. “With cool intelligence, wit and poignancy — allied to a deft directorial hand and a stellar cast — Almereyda explores the emotional landscape of artificial intelligence and dramatizes the emerging impact of intelligent machines on our most intimate human relationships.”
Set in the near future, the film follows the 86-year-old Marjorie (Lois Smith) who has a new A.I. companion (Jon Hamm) who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. The film co-stars Geena Davis (“Thelma & Louise”), Tim Robbins (“The Hudsucker Proxy”) and Stephanie Andujar (“Orange Is the New Black”).
This year’s Alfred P. Sloan jury members are: Heather Berlin, Tracy Drain, Nell Greenfieldboyce, Nicole Perlman and Jennifer Phang.
The Sundance Film Festival runs from January 19 through 29.