The 16th Tribeca Film Festival runs April 19-30, 2017. Each year with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the festival programs a scientifically themed screening and discussion. BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY will make its world premiere on April 23 at the Sloan-supported screening, followed by a discussion with director Alexandra Dean, producer Susan Sarandon, and a number of women working in science and technology. This is one of 11 scientific or technologically themed films playing at this year’s festival.

Making its world premiere in the Special Screening section, BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY is a documentary written and directed by Alexandra Dean and executive produced by Susan Sarandon’s company Reframed Pictures. Though Hedy Lamarr is most well known as a movie star (ECSTASY), she is one of the most important inventors; she invented spread spectrum technology which is responsible for GPS navigation. Diane Kruger voices many of Lamarr’s letters in the film. Kruger is set to play Hedy Lamarr in a forthcoming narrative series. After the screening of BOMBSHELL, there will be a panel and discussion about women in science.

The Irish documentary THE FARTHEST, directed by Emer Reynolds, makes its international premiere in the Viewpoints section. The film is about the Golden Record, produced by astronomer and science communicator Carl Sagan. The record was meant to represent all of humanity, and was launched on the Voyager spacecraft into outer space for those who might be out there. It remains in orbit.


Directed by Greg Kohs, ALPHAGO premieres in the Spotlight Documentary section. The film is about the legendary win by Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence system, of the Chinese board game Go, against a human opponent.

Michael Bloomberg will introduce a special screening of Michael Bonfiglio’s documentary FROM THE ASHES, which makes its world premiere. It is about the coal industry in America. The director will be in person after the screening to discuss the state of the industry under the Trump administration.

The first feature by Brian Shoaf, AARDVARK, stars Jenny Slate as a therapist treating a patient (played by Zachary Quinto) who is suffering from hallucinations. Jon Hamm plays his brother. The film is in the US Narrative Competition.


Perri Peltz’s documentary WARNING: THIS DRUG MAY KILL YOU is about opioid addiction in the United States. The film is making its world premiere, and will be released by HBO. After the screening, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Dr. Nora Volkow will discuss addiction with other specialists in the field including Dr. Andrew Kolodny (Opioid Policy Research Collaborative) and Gail Cole (Hope and Healing After an Addiction Death). Producer Sascha Weiss and director Perri Peltz will join.

James Ponsoldt’s feature THE CIRCLE, based on the novel by Dave Eggers of the same name, will make its world premiere. Emma Watson stars as a new hire at a tech company which is pushing the bounds of internet privacy. Tom Hanks plays the company’s founder. The film is being released by STXfilms.


Mark Grieco’s A RIVER BELOW will make its world premiere in the documentary competition. It is about the pink river dolphin, indigenous to the Amazon, which is in danger of extinction. The film focuses on a marine biologist and a TV star each trying to save the species.

BLUES PLANET: TRIPTYCH is a documentary written and directed by the painter Robert Wyland. The film is about the Gulf Oil Spill and its aftermath. The screening will be followed by a live music performance by Taj Mahal and the Wyland Blues Planet Band.


The Tribeca TV program will feature Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s science fiction novel The Handmaid’s Tale, starring Elisabeth Moss. The section will also feature National Geographic’s series GENIUS, starring Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein. The series is executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard. Stay tuned to Science & Film for an article by historian Alberto Martínez on Einstein’s first wife, the physicist Mileva Maric, who is portrayed in the series.

Science & Film will be covering the 2017 festival.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been supporting the Tribeca Film Festival since its inception in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11. In addition to supporting a screening and discussion at the Festival, the Sloan-Tribeca program provides funding and year-round support to filmmakers whose projects are in development.