New York's Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced yesterday that it had awarded a two-year grant of over $460,000 to the Coolidge Corner Theatre to expand the Science on Screen program, which pairs feature and documentary films with live presentations by scientists and technologists.
Science on Screen, which began in 2005, looks at science through its presentation in film. Past presentations have included science writer Carl Zimmer talking about viruses at a screening of "12 Monkeys" and discussions of the time loop that traps Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day." So far, the project has been playing at eight theaters; the Sloan grant will allow the Coolidge to expand that number to 40. For the next two years, the two organizations will pick 20 independent nonprofiit theaters each year to receive $7,000 in funding to develop Science on Screen programs.
To participate in the project, a theater must include three Science on Screen programs over the course of their one-year grant period. In addition, they are required to feature one past winner of a Sloan Feature Film Prize or Sloan Screenplay Development Grant during their grant year. Recipients of Coolidge/Sloan grants in 2011 include the California Film Institute in San Rafael, CA, The Loft Cinema in Tucson, Arizona and Tampa Theatre.
For a taste of Science on Screen, check out physicist Randy Criss's explanation of the science behind Mel Brooks's "Young Frankenstein."