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2011 Tribeca Film Institute Sloan Filmmaker Fund Goes to Six Projects

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood April 12, 2011 at 9:59AM

The Tribeca Film Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced six recipients of the 2011 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, which totals $140,000. Each project dramatizes themes of science and technology, and in addition to the financial grants they will receive creative support from both science and film industry experts for a year. The recipients, listed below, will be honored at a luncheon during the Tribeca Film Festival, running April 20-May 1. Co-chairman of the Tribeca Board Jane Rosenthal states:“Over the past 10 years, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been an essential part of Tribeca, as well as  the film community, by providing funds to help compelling films with science and technology themes to be made. We look forward to the continued success of the program, including this year’s deserving group of grantees.”
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Thompson on Hollywood


The Tribeca Film Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced six recipients of the 2011 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, which totals $140,000. Each project dramatizes themes of science and technology, and in addition to the financial grants they will receive creative support from both science and film industry experts for a year. The recipients, listed below, will be honored at a luncheon during the Tribeca Film Festival, running April 20-May 1. Co-chairman of the Tribeca Board Jane Rosenthal states:

“Over the past 10 years, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been an essential part of Tribeca, as well as  the film community, by providing funds to help compelling films with science and technology themes to be made. We look forward to the continued success of the program, including this year’s deserving group of grantees.”

The six projects were selected by the Award Committee: Alexis Alexanian (Producer, The Hottest State, Pieces of April, Tadpole); Matthew Broderick (Tony Award-winning actor: Election, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, On Stage: The Producers, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying); James L. Brooks (Oscar-winning Writer/Director/Producer, How Do You Know, As Good As it Gets, Terms of Endearment); Andrew Fierberg (Producer, Broken English, Fur, Secretary); Dr. Stuart Firestein (Professor of Biological Science & Department Chair, Columbia); Dr. Janna Levin (Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Barnard) and Robin Swicord (Oscar-nominated Writer/Director, The Jane Austen Book Club, Memoirs of a Geisha, Matilda).

Selected projects for funding:

A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Still reeling from the recent death of his mother, and on the eve of his father's remarriage, teen birdwatcher David Portnoy convinces his friends to join him on a road trip to find what he believes is an extinct duck.
Rob Meyer (Director, Screenwriter)
Luke Matheny (Screenwriter)
Paul Miller (Producer)
 
El Diablo Rojo
Called down to investigate a mysterious disappearance of fish in the Sea of Cortez, a marine biologist and his team discover a super swarm of "El Diablo Rojo" squid and must risk their lives to prevent a looming ecological catastrophe. Based on true events.
Brent Hoff (Screenwriter, Producer)
Malcolm Pullinger (Producer)
Todd Hagopian (Producer)
 
A Noble Affair (also a 2008 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund recipient)
As Marie Curie is nominated for a Nobel Prize for her groundbreaking work in chemistry, her affair with a married man creates a scandal that ruins her reputation, causes her to flee France, and becomes the obstacle to the prize that will prove her a scientist in her own right.
Anil Baral (Screenwriter, Producer)
Kathryn Maughan (Screenwriter)
Neda Armian (Producer)
 
Photograph 51
A poignant retelling of Rosalind Franklin's involvement in the controversial race for the double helix in the 1950s, and of the discovery that truly shaped her: the beating of her own romantic heart.
Anna Ziegler (Screenwriter)
Darren Aronofsky (Producer)
Ari Handel (Producer)
Rachel Weisz (Producer)
NOTE: This is an adaptation of Ziegler's Sloan-awarded stage play of the same name.
 
Talking Book
A technophobic, newly divorced woman falls into the chaotic world of a 1970's hi-tech startup company. She joins forces with an eclectic group of programmers, the visionary Ray Kurzweil, and musician Stevie Wonder to sell the Kurzweil Reading Machine, a computer that reads books out loud for the blind.
Lara Shapiro (Screenwriter, Director)
 
Televisionaries
In an epic battle of wits between two of the 20th century's most influential figures, a genius inventor faces off against a shrewd tycoon for control over a world-changing new technology. Based on the book "THE LAST LONE INVENTOR: A Tale of Genius, Deceit, and the Birth of Television" by Schwartz.
Evan I. Schwartz (Screenwriter)
Jonathan Sheldon (Producer)
 
Honorable Mentions include:

Radiant, written by Bonnie Kimberly Taylor & Alexander Baxter, tells the story of Marie Curie.  It will be produced by Baxter, Laurent Buffi and David Baxter, with executive producer Rose Ganguzza. Sylvie Testud is attached to portray Curie, and Blackwood, written by Lisa Hoppe and Emily Ballou, to be directed by Samantha Lang, and produced by Barbara Grummels and Lizette Atkins - about amateur botanist Georgiana Molloy.
 
TFI Sloan Filmmaker Works-In-Progress
In addition to financial and year-round ancillary support, TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grant recipients will receive exposure to industry executives, financiers and producers during the Tribeca Film Festival at the invitation-only Sloan Works-In-Progress showcase, a presentation of the grant-winning film projects.  Five of the six projects in development will have scenes performed by an esteemed cast. The Sloan Works-In-Progress showcase will take place on the morning of April 27th at Helen Millis Theater.  Recipients will also have the opportunity to present their projects to industry executives during one-on-one pitch sessions at the TFI Industry Meetings.
 
In addition to its support of the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund and the Works-in-Progress reading, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will present a Retrospective Screening & Discussion of the 10th Anniversary of A Beautiful Mind at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 30 at SVA1. Following the screening, a panel discussion about art, science, and math in the film will take place with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Akiva Goldsman, Syvlia Nasar, Dave Bayar, Brian Greene, and moderator Ira Flatow (NPR).

[Image courtesy of TFI]

This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Genres, Tribeca, Independents


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.