Funds from this grant provide two years of support for the continued administration of the Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize, which honors the best science- or technology-themed feature film script produced by a student at one of the Foundation’s six participating film school partners: American Film Institute, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU Tisch, UCLA, and USC. Each participating school submits one script for consideration each year, and nominated screenwriters are then paired with a dedicated mentor to help improve their submissions with an eye toward shepherding the script to production. An independent panel of distinguished filmmakers and scientists then selects the winning script, whose screenwriter or writers receive a $20,000 prize and a cocktail reception in their honor. They also receive support for an industry mentor to guide the project, a committed science advisor, other marketing and distribution efforts, and two professional development workshops to further develop the project.
Additional grant funds will support the pilot creation of a new $10,000 prize for the best science- or technology-themed feature film script submitted by film students drawn from one of six schools outside the Foundation’s existing group of film school partners. Schools invited to compete for this new “Sloan Discovery Prize” include Brooklyn College Feirstein School of Cinema, SUNY Purchase School of Film and Media Studies, Florida State University, San Francisco State University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of Texas, Austin.