The winner of the Tribeca Film Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s $50,000 screenwriting award for a science-themed script goes to Grainger David of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. David will be awarded for his script “Penny Stock” at a reception on April 5. The award includes a $30,000 cash prize and $20,000 to directly support the project, as well as year round support and guidance from Tribeca. The Sloan Foundation’s Doron Weber calls “Penny Stock” a “thrilling tale of an Indiana Jones-type geology professor in a race to discover diamonds.”
More on the award and the story below:
Penny Stock was selected by an awards committee comprised of actress Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club, High Art); director John Badham (Saturday Night Fever, WarGames); actress Rachael Leigh Cook (She’s All That); scientist and bioweaponeer Sergei Popov, and neurobiologist Ricardo Gil da Costa (Fringe). Additional input came from the Sloan Foundation and its four partners in screenplay development: the Tribeca Film Institute, Film Independent, the Hamptons International Film Festival and Sundance Institute. Grainger David’s screenplay was chosen from nominees that had previously won Sloan prizes at the Foundation’s six affiliated film school programs: UCLA (School of Theatre, Film and Television), NYU (Tisch School of the Arts), USC (School of Cinematic Arts), Carnegie Mellon (School of Drama), AFI (America’s Conservatory for Filmmakers), and Columbia (School of the Arts).
Penny Stock is a feature screenplay about a community college geology professor, who risks everything on a bold new theory in the race to discover an epic diamond pipe in the Northwest Territories. Becoming a mining prospector was never in the professor’s plans – or his family’s – but he feels that he is on the cusp of discovering something great, and he’s willing to risk everything to prove it.
The Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize was created to recognize the very best student screenplay in the nation that uses science and technology themes or characters to tell an engaging story. Since 1997, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has given more than $3.5 million in direct grants to film students throughout the country, including $1.75 million in prize money to student screenwriters and more than $1.75 million to student directors and producers. Established as part of Sloan’s increasing commitment to support science and technology films through to commercial production, the Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize will boost development of the winning project, and introduce the work and its writer to the industry at large.