SFFS Announces Michael Almereyda As Inaugural Recipient of Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship

The new fellowship will support the development of the screenplay for his upcoming narrative feature project about Nikola Tesla.
SFFS Picks Michael Almereyda For Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship
Michael Almereyda
Pamela Gentile

The San Francisco Film Society has announced today that Michael Almereyda is the inaugural recipient of their brand new Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship. The fellowship will support the development of the screenplay for Almereyda’s upcoming narrative feature project about Nikola Tesla.

“I’m grateful for the ongoing support and encouragement of the San Francisco Film Society and the Sloan Foundation,” said Almereyda. “I’m looking forward to spending time in San Francisco, meeting with advisors in the area and having access to the city’s rich cultural resources.”

Currently known as “Tesla,” Almereyda’s next film will reportedly follow “the struggles and achievements of Nikola Tesla — one of the most brilliant and innovative scientific minds of his time — from his arrival in the US in 1884 to his solitary death in a New York hotel room in 1943. The story chronicles Tesla’s earliest patents and prototypes, his manufacturing partnership with George Westinghouse, and the fierce ‘Battle of the Currents’ that brought Tesla’s ideas for alternating current head to head with the direct current system favored by Thomas Edison…The film will highlight the glorious possibilities brought forth by technological advances while also admitting their limits, measured against the abiding mysteries of human feelings and desires.”

READ MORE: ‘Marjorie Prime’ Exclusive Photo: First Look at Jon Hamm and Lois Smith in Michael Almereyda’s New Film

Almereyda recently bowed his latest feature, “Marjorie Prime,” at the Sundance Film Festival, where it picked up the Sloan Feature Prize.

The Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of their support of programs that cultivate and champion films that explore scientific or technological themes and characters. Under the auspices of its Artist Development program, the SF Film Society will award fellowships to filmmakers developing screenplays that tell stories related to science or technology.

“The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been a significant champion of innovative narrative filmmaking, so we are thrilled to partner with them to expand our support of narrative filmmakers with projects in development,” said Caroline von Kühn. “It’s an honor to offer such a fellowship, especially with the help of such an incredible group of leaders in the Bay Area from the math and science communities who value the power of media, and we couldn’t think of a better project with which to launch this partnership than Michael Almereyda’s ‘Tesla’ which celebrates this historic technological genius.”

Marjorie Prime
“Marjorie Prime”BB Film Productions

The fellowship will be awarded twice annually, and includes a $35,000 cash grant and a two-month residency at FilmHouse, the Film Society’s suite of production offices for local and visiting independent filmmakers. Fellows will gain free office space alongside access to weekly consulting services and professional development opportunities. The Film Society will connect each fellow to a science advisor with expertise in the scientific or technological subjects at the center of their screenplays, as well as leaders in the Bay Area’s science and technology communities.

READ MORE: ‘White Noise’: Michael Almereyda Adapting Don DeLillo’s Classic Novel for New Film

In addition to the residency and grant, the Film Society’s Artist Development team will offer industry introductions to producers and casting, financing, and creative advisors — investing in fellows from early script development stages through to release. Additional filmmaker support programs include the SF Film Society / Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grant, the Documentary Film Fund and full-year FilmHouse residencies.

Applications are now being accepted for the next round of the Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship. The early deadline for applications is April 18; the final deadline is April 25. Interested filmmakers can apply right here.

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