The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded Columbia's School of the Arts (SOA) an unprecedented two-year, $286,000 grant to provide funding toward the production of two feature-length science films by film division students or recent alumni.
These grants will help stimulate emerging film directors and screenwriters to create compelling drama about science and technology and to more accurately portray scientists and engineers in film. The winning films, which must incorporate science as a major story element, will each receive $100,000 toward production. Film division students in their third-year or higher and those who graduated from the program after 1996 will be eligible for the grants.
"The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film Award is the largest single grant available to Columbia School of the Arts students and the first to support feature films," says Bruce W. Ferguson, SOA dean. "Many people understand the value of better connecting the arts and sciences, but it shows great innovation for the Sloan Foundation to put this philosophy into practice."
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been supporting SOA since 1998 with annual screenwriting and production awards to graduate students. These awards have proven a powerful incentive for students to incorporate science in their work and have enabled students to work closely with scientific advisors. This new grant builds on the existing program with the Sloan Foundation and takes the focus on science to the next level, from screenplays and short films to produced feature-length films.
"This award aims to help emerging filmmakers with the costs of production to ensure they can make their film and reach a broad audience," says Doron Weber, Sloan program director. "In helping to launch the careers of exceptionally talented individuals, we also hope to show that science and technology offer wonderful, diverse characters and great stories that have gone largely untold."
"Finding initial funding is often the greatest barrier to aspiring filmmakers, says Dan Kleinman, chair of the film division. "This generous grant from the Sloan Foundation will provide an opportunity for some of Columbia's most deserving emerging filmmakers to complete their first feature."