May 28, 2019
SFFILM Sloan Stories of Science Initiative Seeks to Inspire Independent Filmmakers to Adapt Important Recent Discoveries and Compelling True Stories About Science and Technology
San Francisco, CA – SFFILM, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has announced a new program designed to inspire talented independent filmmakers to bring recent discoveries and existing stories about science to the screen. Today, these organizations are launching the Sloan Stories of Science Sourcebook, a collection of discoveries and compelling articles about science and technology with cinematic potential; and the Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund, which will provide financial support and guidance to filmmakers who want to tell those stories.
The Sloan Stories of Science Sourcebook is composed of a library of ten articles covering compelling true stories of science and technology that are available to option as narrative feature films, and a parallel list of recent scientific discoveries whose stories are also ripe for narrative adaptation. The articles in the library come from outlets such as Wired Magazine, the Verge, and the New Yorker, and range from a portrait of a marine biologist who risks everything to capture a giant squid to the story of a woman who, when her best friend dies, rebuilds him using artificial intelligence. Each story is available for option, with rights holders open to pitches from filmmakers with a powerful vision for bringing a given story to the screen in narrative form. SFFILM and Sloan are also introducing a list of ten momentous scientific and technological discoveries made in 2018 as a source of inspiration to filmmakers interested in telling fictionalized stories about the scientists who made those discoveries or exploring the impact of these breakthroughs on the world.
Browse the selection of articles and discoveries at sffilm.org/makers.
Winning applicants to the Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund who draw their inspiration from the articles and discoveries collected in the Sloan Stories of Science Sourcebook will receive a $10,000 cash grant and participate in a two-day filmmaker retreat, during which they will receive guidance and mentorship from scientists, science and tech journalists, and film industry professionals to help them shape their storytelling vision. For applicants seeking specifically to option the stories from one of the ten main articles in the library, special guidance will be provided on pitching their vision to the author who holds the rights to the story they wish to tell.
SFFILM and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation share a belief in the importance of creating a pipeline of scientific stories that will motivate both emerging and established filmmakers to explore the lives of scientists as well as the impact science and technology have on our daily lives. The Sloan Stories of Science Sourcebook and Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund will expand this pipeline, towards presenting a wide variety of scientific stories on screen and ultimately sparking the curiosity and understanding of public audiences.
“With such bold, exciting voices working in independent film today, and the rapid advancements in science in technology in the Bay Area and worldwide, we felt compelled to uplift these discoveries as potential inspiration for the creative minds at work today,” said Caroline von Kühn, SFFILM Director of Artist Development. “Sloan’s continued dedication to expanding and deepening scientific representation and investing in artistic integrity has enabled the possibility of really compelling films to come out of this Sloan Stories of Science initiative.”
“We are excited to launch this new Sloan Stories of Science initiative with our wonderful partners at SFFILM to help filmmakers tap the rich, underdeveloped and constantly renewing mine of cinematic gold contained in the field of science and technology,” said Doron Weber, vice president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “We aim to gather ten of the most exciting scientific discoveries each year, along with ten compelling published stories of science, and to support filmmakers with inspiring visions for turning these tales into feature-length films. We will consult leading scientists and scientific organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and work with leading film artists at SFFILM to create a new laboratory for transforming the raw material of science into great narrative films.”
In addition to funding resources and consultation services, grant recipients will benefit from a one-month SFFILM residency at FilmHouse in San Francisco. FilmHouse is a mentor-driven incubator for emerging filmmakers to develop their projects. FilmHouse residents gain access to SFFILM’s Mentor Advisory Board as well as guidance from peers and SFFILM Makers staff, access to workshops and lectures from leading industry professionals, and membership in a thriving creative community.
When selecting the inaugural winners of Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund grants, SFFILM and the Sloan Foundation will consider filmmakers with a strong artistic vision who are committed to expanding the public understanding of science and technology through the language of film. This program is open to emerging and established filmmakers who wish to research and develop feature-length screenplays.
The application for the Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund is now open, and will close on July 15. Also opening today is the SFFILM Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship, now in its fourth year, which awards financial assistance and mentorship to screenwriters telling original stories about science and technology. For more information and to apply to these opportunities, visit sffilm.org/makers.
SFFILM Makers (formerly “Filmmaker360”), the organization’s artist development program, provides significant financial and creative resources to independent filmmakers through grants, fellowships, residencies, fiscal sponsorship, and more. Since 2009, over $6.5 million has been disbursed to more than 150 film projects in various stages of production. Highlights include the SFFILM Rainin Grant and the SFFILM Westridge Grant, which together distribute the most nonprofit funding for narrative features in the United States; a joint effort with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to cultivate stories rooted in science and technology; and the Documentary Film Fund, a partnership with the Jenerosity Foundation. For more information, visit sffilm.org/makers.
SFFILM is a nonprofit organization with a mission to champion the world’s finest films and filmmakers through programs anchored in and inspired by the spirit and values of the San Francisco Bay Area. Presenter of the San Francisco International Film Festival, SFFILM is a year-round organization delivering screenings and events to more than 75,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 12,000 students and teachers annually. In addition to its public programs, SFFILM supports the careers of independent filmmakers from the Bay Area and beyond with grants, residencies, and other creative development services. For more information visit sffilm.org.
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, is a non-profit philanthropy that makes grants for original research and education in science, technology, and economic performance. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater, and new media to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities. The Foundation works with over a dozen film school and film festival partners and has supported over 600 film projects, including over 25 feature films. For more information visit sloan.org or follow @SloanPublic on Twitter or Facebook.