Dec 20, 2019
Award Presented in Partnership between SFFILM and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Celebrates Outstanding Achievement in the Depiction of Science on Screen
San Francisco, CA – SFFILM has announced that The Aeronauts, Tom Harper’s remarkable historical drama starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne, is the 2019 recipient of the Sloan Science in Cinema Prize, an award that celebrates the compelling depiction of science in a narrative feature film. Presented through a partnership between SFFILM and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, this annual award carries a $25,000 cash prize and shines a light on special achievement in rendering the worlds of science and technology through the language of film with a screening event and onstage conversation with the film’s creators and experts in the scientific fields being depicted.
SFFILM and the Sloan Foundation presented the award on Wednesday, November 20 at the AMC Kabuki 8, at an event for SFFILM members and invited guests from the Bay Area science, technology, and education communities. Following a screening of the film, director Tom Harper, producer Todd Lieberman, NASA Earth Sciences Research Scientist Ved Chirayath, and University of San Francisco Physics and Astronomy Professor Aparna Venkatesan participated in an in-depth discussion of the science behind the story and its journey to the big screen.
Full video of their conversation can be found here: https://vimeo.com/380548455/bf6207f22a
“The Sloan Foundation’s inspirational work in promoting science as a vehicle for human understanding finds a great match this year with The Aeronauts,” said SFFILM Director of Programming Rachel Rosen. “The label ‘science thriller’ is rare to see in popular entertainment of any kind, and Tom Harper’s remarkable film embodies both of those terms with great aplomb. To see two fully realized characters dedicated to science risking everything in the name of research—let alone at 36,000 feet—is a rare treat, and The Aeronauts does exactly what we look for in a Sloan Science in Cinema Prize winner: it brings a compelling story of science to a wide audience with great skill and polish.”
About The Aeronauts: In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and furthering scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival.
The Sloan Science in Cinema Prize is presented annually in the fall to a finished film released in that year, and is a highlight of SFFILM’s end-of-year programming. Focusing on dramatic and entertaining films that illuminate the relevance of science and technology to our daily lives or challenge existing stereotypes about scientists, engineers, or mathematicians, SFFILM and the Sloan Foundation seek to spotlight an important new film and provide a platform to celebrate science during the end-of-year awards season. Prize recipients are selected by a panel of Bay Area filmmakers; local scientists, mathematicians and engineers; and SFFILM staff.
This annual prize is a part of SFFILM’s Sloan Science in Cinema initiative, which is designed to develop and present new feature films and episodic content that portray fully-drawn scientist and technologist characters; immerse audiences in the challenges and rewards of scientific discovery; and increase public awareness of the intersection of science, technology and our daily lives. Leveraging its position in the heart of the innovation capital of the world, SFFILM seeks to forge meaningful links between Bay Area and national artistic and scientific communities through a suite of programs. In addition to the Sloan Science in Cinema Prize, the initiative includes the Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship and the Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund, which both support filmmakers developing science-themed screenplays; and Sloan Science on Screen, a spotlight program at the San Francisco International Film Festival that debuted in 2016.
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SFFILM produces a robust slate of public programs throughout the year, including red carpet premiere events, advance member screenings, and in-depth film series. With diverse offerings and a commitment to excellence in world cinema, SFFILM is the home of great film in the Bay Area all year long. For more information visit sffilm.org/presents.
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 (April 8–21, 2020), SFFILM is a year-round nonprofit organization delivering screenings and events to nearly 75,000 film lovers and media education programs to more than 15,000 students, teachers, and families 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 620 film projects, including over 25 feature films. For more information visit sloan.org or follow @SloanPublic on Twitter or Facebook.