The 2010 Sundance Film Festival has announced that “Obselidia” directed by Diane Bell, is the recipient of this year’s Alfred P. Sloan Prize. The Prize, which carries a $20,000 cash award by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is 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.
Sundance explains: “In Diane Bell’s soft spoken and profound debut feature, George, an encyclopedia salesman, decides to write The Obselidia a compendium of obsolete things. In his quest to document nearly extinct occupations, he befriends Sophie, a beautiful cinema projectionist who works at a silent movie theatre. Sophie believes that nothing is obsolete as long as someone loves it. When they interview a reclusive scientist who predicts that 80 percent of the world’s population will be obliterated by irreversible climate change by the year 2100, the two must face the question, if the world is going to disappear tomorrow, how are we going to live today?”
The Alfred P. Sloan Prize is a major component of the Sundance Science-in-Film Initiative, which is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Initiative supports the development and exhibition of new independent film projects that explore science and technology themes or that depict scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways.
In addition to the Prize, the Initiative presents a panel discussion at the Festival that brings together scientists and filmmakers to explore compelling, contemporary issues regarding science in film; and, in the Sundance Feature Film Program, the Initiative supports the Sloan Commissioning Fund, which provides resources for Initiative projects early in the development phase; and the Sloan Fellowship, which develops eligible projects at the Sundance Feature Film Labs towards production. This Initiative blends the Sloan Foundation’s goal of enhancing public understanding of science and technology with Sundance Institute’s mission to foster independent voices and compelling storytelling in film.