Columbia University has announced the winners of the 2015 Feature and Short Production Sloan Grants. This year's award recognizes three Columbia student films that explore the world of science and technology and the personalities behind them. With topics ranging from the weaponization of the world's worst garage band to first dates at a convention for hackers to a web series about a colonial woman building a bridge to Roanoke, the films awarded grants are:
SONIC BOOM, written by Alex Cannon. Feature Grant
When a disgruntled weapons developer has a crisis of conscience, he assembles a ragtag group of activists and engineers, who surreptitiously contract the town’s worst garage band to help them weaponize audio. A science-based comedy about a few ruthless hippies and the advent of non-lethal weaponry - in the vein of This Is Spinal Tap and The Big Lebowski.
THE BRIDGE, directed by Nicholas Weiss-Richmond, written by Nicholas Weiss-Richmond and Ben Leonberg. Production Grant
The New World,1590: the colonial settlement at Roanoke Island has fallen apart. Resupply ships, promised to return with provisions, are five months late. The colonists fear they've been lost at sea, and desert the settlement. But one woman defies the leadership and stays behind, starting work on a bridge connecting the settlement to the return ships' planned landing site. Untrained in engineering and working against brutal conditions, with only improvised tools and her own resourcefulness, the labor is dangerous and all but impossible. But with her family aboard the return ship, she can’t bring herself to abandon the task.
SP0T THE F3D, written by Callum Smith. Production Grant
Sp0t the F3d takes place at a Vegas convention for hackers, where hackers come to buy and sell technology, learn new ways to exploit that technology and of course, party. They are not, however, the only guests - at the largest gathering of hackers in the country, many undercover federal agents are also in attendance. At the convention, a young male hacker known as Bo+mbe66 meets a female hacker, known as M4ps. The convention runs a contest called ’Spot the Fed’, which offers a reward to anyone who can expose an undercover federal agent at the convention. In an effort to impress M4ps, Bo+mbe66 invents a scheme to win the contest, but in their efforts to find one agent, Bo+mbe66 and M4ps find themselves chasing another, much bigger fish right in the inner circles of the hacker elite.