Writer and director Mark Apicella’s film BETWEEN BLOOD AND SAND is premiering on Sloan Science & Film. Apicella received support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to make the 20-minute film while he was getting his MFA at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. BETWEEN BLOOD AND SAND is about a biologist who is genetically modifying crops in Afghanistan, and grieving over the loss of his son.

To make BETWEEN BLOOD AND SAND, Apicella consulted with Dr. Magnus Nordborg who is a biologist and Scientific Director of the Gregor Mendel Institute of Molecular Plant Biology in Vienna. Nordborg studies the genetics of the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana. His research focuses on identifying the relationship of genes to viewable traits of various plant species, as well as studying their evolution and genetic sequences.

The Sloan Foundation’s program with USC provides funding to graduate film students to make short films or write feature scripts featuring scientific or technological themes. The Foundation supports five additional film schools: NYU, Columbia University, UCLA, AFI, Carnegie Mellon. Sloan Science & Film has the only database of all Sloan-winning student projects, and a streaming library of all short films.