The SFFILM Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship is now closed for the 2022 cycle. Please sign up above to hear when the next cycle opens.
The Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of their mission to champion films that explore scientific or technological themes or characters.
Awards are made to two projects once a year in the fall, at the screenwriting phase of developmentTo strengthen the film’s portrayal of science or technology, each fellow will be connected to a science advisor with expertise in the subjects at the center of their screenplays, as well as leaders in the Bay Area’s science and technology communities. In addition to a cash grant of $35,000, recipients secure a one month residency at FilmHouse and benefit from SFFILM’s comprehensive and dynamic artist development programs.
In consideration of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, our goal is to hold this residency in person and require proof of vaccination, but we plan to make virtual accommodations for those who are unable to do so.
- Monday, February 6 Grant Opens
- Friday, May 19 Deadline
- Late July Finalists Notified
- Early September Winners Notified
Who Can Apply
- Applicant must be at least 18 years old
- Applicant may not be an SFFILM or Sloan employee or member of any SFFILM or Sloan boards.
- Primary applicant must be in a key creative role for the film: screenwriter, director, or producer.
- Film must be feature-length fiction film NOT be a documentary, short film, or episodic series.
- Project cannot be a work for hire.
- Project must be consistent with SFFILM’s mission and represent an imaginative contribution to the moving image art form.
- There must be realistic scientific or technological content at the center of the screenplay.
- Writers must have the intention of working with scientific advisors to ensure the accuracy of their stories.
- Science-fiction and speculative stories are, in almost every case, ineligible. In some rare cases, a futuristic story might be eligible if it involves science or technology that is truly on the cusp of being introduced to society.
- Projects may reapply and must include what significant progress has been made since the last submission.
How to Apply
To begin the application process, navigate to the “Apply Now” page to review the required items for submission. If you have not yet created an account for the SFFILM Grant Platform, please do so (please note: this is separate from your SFFILM member account).
If you are a member of SFFILM, your application fee is waived. If you are not a member of SFFILM, there is an application fee that must be paid in order for your submission to be considered. To pay the application fee, enter your credit card information at the end of the application after you hit “submit.” Email email@example.com if you have any technical questions.
Application Elements (subject to change):
- Applicant Bio (200 words or less)
- Logline. In a couple of sentences, please describe the crux of your film. (75 words or less)
- Project synopsis (300 words or less)
- To date, what support have you received for this project?
- Provide a brief description of the scientific or technological ideas you are exploring through this story.
- What scientific research, if any, have you conducted to date?
- Each Fellowship includes the engagement of one science advisor. What would you want to gain from that advisor during this fellowship? Please be as specific as possible.
- What made you want to tell this story and why is now the right time for you to tell it?
- Describe your artistic vision and stylistic approach. How will your film look and feel and why do you want this particular style?
- List the names, roles, and brief qualifications of the other key individuals involved in the project (up to 5 people). Indicate the date they became attached to the project. (optional)
Work Sample Materials
- Current script sample: Ten consecutive pages of the script you are applying with. The ten pages do not need to be the first ten pages. Please select what you believe to be the best ten pages.
- Script sample explanation: This should introduce the script pages from the project for which you are applying and provide context as well as any other pertinent information that would be helpful for the review panel to consider, such as which draft of the film this is and why you selected this passage.
- Optional: You are welcome to submit a 5–10 minute visual sample however, we can’t guarantee that review committee members will view the sample or view it in its entirety.
- A one-page writer or writer/director statement. This should provide insight into who you are, why you are the person to tell this story, and your process.
- A 1-3 page treatment. This should give us a clear sense of the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
- Full Script: Please submit the latest draft of the script you are applying for.
- Full Script Explanation: Provide any relevant context for your script submission. Please note that some members of the review committee may be unable to read the full script. Make sure to include page numbers for an excerpt of at least 10 pages you’d like the committee to read if they’re unable to read the script in its entirety.
- Optional but strongly encouraged: Previous Visual Work Sample & Explanation
- Optional: Any updates that you’d like to share since you submitted your application
No. SFFILM Sloan is open to filmmakers based anywhere in the U.S. or internationally.
- The Sloan Fellowship supports narrative features and series centered around scientific and technological themes in the screenwriting stage. Two fellows are selected annually and awarded cash grants of $35,000, a FilmHouse residency, and a science advisor to support the scientific accuracy of the project.
- The Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund awards a $10,000 cash grant to 2-4 filmmakers in the earliest stages of writing screenplays inspired by articles and discoveries from the Stories of Science Sourcebook. The Development Fund runs every other year and will resume in 2023.
Science fiction films are defined as projects that incorporate fictional elements that expand beyond today’s scientific capabilities and are not eligible to apply for any of SFFILM’s Sloan opportunities.
Eligible films for Sloan opportunities must portray scientific or technological themes at their center that directly drive the story arc and/or character development forward. Films with peripheral scientific characters or ideas will not be competitive.
The Stories of Science Sourcebook compiles compelling reported articles and momentous recent discoveries in the scientific and technological fields. Applicants must choose a story or discovery from the Sourcebook to apply for this grant. Filmmakers who are already working on similar stories may apply, but must still be in the early development stage and must not yet have a script draft. Articles and discoveries chosen for previous grant cycles will be removed from the sourcebook, and additional articles and discoveries will be added to reflect the ever changing scientific and technological landscape.
The Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund operates every two years and will reopen again in the Spring of 2023.
Yes! The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation offers many film grants through various organizations and universities across the country. You can find a complete offering through their Grants Database.
For more information about our grants and fellowships, visit our FAQ page.