On April 22, 2016 at NeueHouse in New York, twelve actors sat down to read from five Sloan-supported scripts in development. The scripts have each been funded by the Sloan Foundation at different stages of development, and the annual Tribeca Film Institute event is often the first chance for the writers and directors to see how their work plays to an audience. The scripts, which are all feature films, are THE BURNING SEASON and HUMAN TERRAIN, which won a total of $160,000 as Tribeca Filmmaker Fund grantees; TO DUST, which received the Feature Film Prize from NYU and won the Tribeca-Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize of $50,000; FAMILY BREW, which was a runner-up for the Grand Jury Prize; PICKING COTTON, which was a 2015 Tribeca Filmmaker Fund grantee which recently attached a writer. The reading took place downstairs at NeueHouse. Sloan’s Vice President Doron Weber gave opening remarks, and then Tribeca’s Molly O’Keefe introduced the scripts.

The Director of the event was Paul Schneider an actor, screenwriter, producer, and director best known for GOODBYE TO ALL THAT and the TV show PARKS AND RECREATION. The actors reading the scripts were: Sakina Jaffrey of HOUSE OF CARDS, Jason Kravits of UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, Nadia Dajani, Wayne Duvall, Ato Essandoh, Phil Ettinger, Frankie Faison, Ismenia Mendes, Colby Imifie, Adam Mucci, Brenna Palughi, with stage directions read by Lillian Isabella.

The Sloan Film Program is committed to supporting films at every stage of development—from script to screen. It begins with supporting students, such as TO DUST’s Shawn Snyder and FAMILY BREW’s Jennifer Edwards, at film schools across the country to write feature film screenplays integrating science or technology themes or characters. It also funds scripts in development through grants at Tribeca, as in the case of these five screenplays, but also at Film Independent, the San Francisco Film Society, and the Black List. Scripts can receive multiple Sloan grants. Once the scripts make it onto screen, the Sloan program is committed to getting the films into theatres through its partnership with the Coolidge Corner Theatre and the Art House Convergence, whose Science on Screen program pairing films with introduction by scientists commits cinemas nationwide to show at least one Sloan-supported film a year as part of its program.

Science & Film previously covered the 2016 awards, and has interviewed the writer of TO DUST. Read about all the projects as well as the filmmakers on the Science & Film archive.