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EXCLUSIVE: Coolidge Corner Theatre and Alfred P. Sloan’s Science on Screen Picks Eight Cinemas

EXCLUSIVE: Coolidge Corner Theatre and Alfred P. Sloan's Science on Screen Picks Eight Cinemas

To implement their collaborative Science on Screen programs, The Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have selected eight independent non-profit cinemas throughout the US to each receive $7,000 in grant funding. (The eight theaters that will host the programs are listed below.) Each has a strong reputation for contributing to their cultural community. Applicants were asked to pitch program concepts and detail strategies for recruiting speakers and building audiences, and the recipients will each host a minimum of three events during the June 2011-June 2012 period.

The Science on Screen initiative pairs feature film and documentary screenings with presentations from science and technology experts and innovators. Among the events proposed by applicants is a pairing of Korean film Poetry and a presentation from a prominent Alzheimer’s researcher — an issue central to the film’s narrative. Here is our interview with Poetry director Chang-dong Lee.

The Science on Screen grant recipients are:
• California Film Institute, San Rafael, CA
• Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington, NY
• The Loft Cinema, Tucson, AZ
• Maiden Alley Cinema, Paducah, KY
• Oklahoma City Museum of Art Film Program, Oklahoma City, OK, in conjunction with Circle Cinema, Tulsa, Oklahoma
• Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT
• SIFF Cinema, Seattle, WA
• Tampa Theatre, Tampa, FL
The Sloan Foundation’s VP of programs, Doron Weber, says; “We are heartened by the enthusiastic response from art house cinemas across the country to sponsor their own Science on Screen programs, and congratulate them along with the Coolidge Corner Theatre for their entrepreneurial  leadership. Many other cinemas may soon follow this pioneering effort to show that science and technology go hand in hand with entertainment, and that each can enrich the other and deepen our understanding as well as our pleasure.”

More on the history Science on Screen programs, lauched in Boston in 2005, is below:

The Coolidge Corner Theatre launched its Science on Screen series in 2005.  Over the years, the series has a featured an eclectic mix of classic, cult, science fiction, and documentary films, all preceded by a talk on a related scientific and technological subject.  Topics have ranged from how our brains form memories of intense emotional experiences (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) to the latest advances in stem cell research (Woody Allen’s Sleeper) to animal mobbing behavior (Hitchcock’s The Birds).
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation saw Science on Screen as an extension of its mission to advance public understanding of science and technology through film, and awarded the Coolidge a $150,000 grant to expand and administer the program nationally.  For over a decade, the Sloan Foundation has partnered with leading film schools and film festivals to support and recognize screenwriters and filmmakers who explore scientific themes in their work.  For the Sloan Foundation, Science on Screen presented a different kind of opportunity to show how science and technology are woven into the fabric of modern life and can help unlock the mysteries of the human heart as well as elucidating the laws of nature and of the built environment.
In January, the Sloan Foundation and the Coolidge Corner Theatre launched the national Science on Screen initiative at the fourth annual Art House Convergence, a meeting of representatives from more than 200 North American independent film exhibitors.  The Coolidge distributed a Science on Screen “how-to guide” as a template for theaters, and all U.S.-based, non-profit members of the Art House Convergence were invited to apply for a grant. 

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