"Tesla," a feature-length, Sloan-funded narrative film about inventor Nikola Tesla, best-known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system, received the Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, a 2016 SFFILM Sloan screenwriting fellowship, and additional production support from a 2019 Sloan grant to SFFILM.

Program Goal

To influence the next generation of filmmakers to tackle science and technology themes and characters, increase visibility for feature films that depict this subject matter, and develop new work that can be produced and released theatrically.


Launched in 1996, Sloan’s Film program has awarded grants to over 750 film projects from some of the nation’s most innovative filmmakers, and has created a film development pipeline of multiple program partners through which Sloan nurtures and develops individual projects. Over the past 20 years, the Foundation has partnered with six of the top film schools in the country and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize.  The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs at the Sundance Film Institute, the Tribeca Film Institute, the Black List, SFFILM, Film Independent, and the Athena Film Festival.  To gain distribution for Sloan films, the Foundation has expanded Coolidge Corner Theater’s Science on Screen effort into a nationwide program that has awarded 274 grants to 96 independent cinemas, each of which shows at least one Sloan-supported film a year.

Film Schools

These grants support programs at leading film schools to encourage the emerging generation of filmmakers to tackle science and technology themes in their work.  Film school programs include a diverse variety of opportunities for students, including seminars that introduce students to the latest scientific discoveries, access to scientific advisors to help with science content, awards for science-themed projects, and networking events with industry insiders.

Currently supported film schools include:

Each year, the Sloan Foundation awards a Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize to the best-of-the-best screenplay from the Foundation’s six long term film school partners and a Student Discovery Award to a screenplay written by a student from one of the following six schools: Brooklyn College Feirstein School of Cinema, SUNY Purchase School of Film and Media Studies, Florida State University, University of Texas Austin, Temple University, and the University of Michigan.

Festivals and Development

The Foundation partners with influential film festivals or prominent institutions within Hollywood to fund efforts to raise the profile of science films and develop feature-length screenplays that can be produced and released theatrically.

Grants support a diverse range of activities, including feature film prizes, screenplay readings, panels, industry receptions, filmmaker fellowships, commissioning grants, production and distribution grants, and screenwriting labs.  

Grantees in this program act as a development pipeline or “farm system” for the development of high-quality science themed projects.  One project may receive support from multiple partners at different stages of development.

Current partners:

Former partners:

Production and Distribution

​Grantmaking focuses on helping develop science-themed screenplays into production or in helping finished science-themed films find distribution.

Current partners:

Upcoming Events

Catalog of Supported Films

A catalog of Sloan-supported feature films that have been produced and released. For a full list of supported films, including shorts, unproduced scripts, and films in production but not yet released, visit the Sloan Science and Film website at For a complete list of Sloan-award-winning finished feature films, visit the Science on Screen site at

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The Foundation does not accept unsolicited scripts, treatments, or pitch letters.  Screenwriters or filmmakers who wish to apply for one of the various awards available through our festival or film development partners should go to the respective organization’s website for information about eligibility, application deadlines, etc.

The Foundation not currently seeking new film school or new film festival partners.

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