The Tribeca Film Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have announced the 2011 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund recipients. Awarding $140,000 to six projects that dramatize science and technology, the committee that chose the recipients included Matthew Broderick, James L. Brooks, Dr. Stuart Firestein, and Robin Swicord. Out of a total of 121 applicants both in the US and internationally, the six recipients will receive year-round mentorship from science experts and members of the film industry with the goal to help their projects at any stage move towards completion.
“Over the past 10 years, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been an essential part of Tribeca, as well as the film community, by providing funds to help compelling films with science and technology themes to be made,” said Jane Rosenthal, Co-Chairman of the Board, TFI, in a statement. “We look forward to the continued success of the program, including this year’s deserving group of grantees.”
“We are very proud to celebrate ten years of our pioneering partnership with Tribeca, a partnership that has produced some of the most exciting screenings, readings, panels and film projects in our national science-in film program,” added Doron Weber, Vice President, Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “This year’s crop of multi-talented, winning filmmakers and their diverse range of stories about science and technology–from comedy to romance, thrillers, historical epics, coming-of-age, drama and biopic–attest to the growing power and appeal of movies that engage with life at the deepest level of nature and our shared humanity.”
Selected projects for funding:
A Birder’s Guide to Everything Still reeling from the recent death of his mother, and on the eve of his father’s remarriage, teen birdwatcher David Portnoy convinces his friends to join him on a road trip to find what he believes is an extinct duck. Rob Meyer (Director, Screenwriter) Luke Matheny (Screenwriter) Paul Miller (Producer)
El Diablo Rojo Called down to investigate a mysterious disappearance of fish in the Sea of Cortez, a marine biologist and his team discover a super swarm of “El Diablo Rojo” squid and must risk their lives to prevent a looming ecological catastrophe. Based on true events. Brent Hoff (Screenwriter, Producer) Malcolm Pullinger (Producer) Todd Hagopian (Producer)
A Noble Affair (also a 2008 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund recipient) As Marie Curie is nominated for a Nobel Prize for her groundbreaking work in chemistry, her affair with a married man creates a scandal that ruins her reputation, causes her to flee France, and becomes the obstacle to the prize that will prove her a scientist in her own right. Anil Baral (Screenwriter, Producer) Kathryn Maughan (Screenwriter) Neda Armian (Producer)
Photograph 51 A poignant retelling of Rosalind Franklin’s involvement in the controversial race for the double helix in the 1950s, and of the discovery that truly shaped her: the beating of her own romantic heart. Anna Ziegler (Screenwriter) Darren Aronofsky (Producer) Ari Handel (Producer) Rachel Weisz (Producer) NOTE: This is an adaptation of Ziegler’s Sloan-awarded stage play of the same name.
Talking Book A technophobic, newly divorced woman falls into the chaotic world of a 1970’s hi-tech startup company. She joins forces with an eclectic group of programmers, the visionary Ray Kurzweil, and musician Stevie Wonder to sell the Kurzweil Reading Machine, a computer that reads books out loud for the blind. Lara Shapiro (Screenwriter, Director)
Televisionaries In an epic battle of wits between two of the 20th century’s most influential figures, a genius inventor faces off against a shrewd tycoon for control over a world-changing new technology. Based on the book “THE LAST LONE INVENTOR: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television” by Schwartz. Evan I. Schwartz (Screenwriter) Jonathan Sheldon (Producer)
Honorable Mentions include:
Radiant, written by Bonnie Kimberly Taylor & Alexander Baxter, tells the story of Marie Curie. It will be produced by Baxter, Laurent Buffi and David Baxter, with executive producer Rose Ganguzza. Sylvie Testud is attached to portray Curie, and Blackwood, written by Lisa Hoppe and Emily Ballou, to be directed by Samantha Lang, and produced by Barbara Grummels and Lizette Atkins – about amateur botanist Georgiana Molloy.