March 14, 2013 What can Night of the Living Dead (1968) tell us about the inner workings of the zombie brain? How did artificial intelligence research inform the “character” of HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)? These are just some of the subjects addressed in Science on Screen, a lively and inventive national [...]
Consider the maverick volcanologists in Journey to the Center of the Earth and Dante’s Peak—these earth-based scientists are a romanticized lot, often portrayed in movies backpacking through forbidding terrain and fighting against the wilds of nature.
A robot helps an elderly man in the “near future” of upstate New York; a rural boatman in the lake region of conflict-ravaged Kashmir learns about environmental sustainability.
Gathering together all the winners of Sloan awards over the past three years, the Sloan Film Summit 2011 serves to bring the finest and brightest filmmakers together for three days and nights in New York, serve them lots of wine and appetizers, and encourage them to encourage and inspire each other. For a screenwriter, the sensation is that of having fuel thrown over our small flame of a script.
My final impression is that the Sloan Summit is a wonderful, vital gathering. The content of the panels and screenings was excellent, and the chance to meet like-minded filmmakers in such a welcoming, well-catered environment was incredible, really perhaps the best part of the weekend. In fact, I’m already looking forward to next year.
Transcendent Man, a documentary about the inventor Ray Kurzweil, raises questions about the science of artificial intelligence. Anthony Kaufman asks, how far are we from the Singularity and a future of superhuman machines?
In revealing the all-too-human aspects of Charles Darwin’s life, the new movie Creation explodes the stereotype of the cold, closed-off scientist. John Anderson talks to John Collee, the doctor-turned-novelist and screenwriter who wrote the film.
Adam, a love story between an engineer with Asperger’s Syndrome and a woman who moves into his building, won the Sloan Prize at Sundance and is currently in theaters. Anthony Kaufman talks to writer-director Max Mayer about the process of creating a romantic leading man with this little-understood neurological disorder.
The Sloan Film Summit introduced grant winners to scientists, scientists to film professionals, film professionals to budding filmmakers and playwrights, in a kind of melding effort that mirrored the Sloan mission itself—the integration of an accurate and engaging portrayal of science in the popular arts.
Writer-director Alex Rivera and co-writer David Riker discuss their Sloan award-winning feature, Sleep Dealer, a mix of sci-fi speculation and social realism.
Writer and director Leeson, winner of a Sloan award for Teknolust (2002), discusses her new feature, a drama-documentary hybrid that chronicles the ongoing case of Steve Kurtz, an art professor and activist who became a bioterrorism suspect while working on a project on genetically modified food.
Danny Boyle’s new film, about a manned mission to the dying sun, borrows its plot from cutting-edge particle physics and was made with the help of a leading experimental physicist. But how plausible is it?
The science of robotics has developed at a rapid clip. But the most realistic robots can still be found in the science fiction classics of the ’70s and ’80s, not in the fanciful likes of Transformers.
An interview with David Freeman, whose A First Class Man is this year’s winning screenplay in the Tribeca/Sloan Screenplay Development Program. A First Class Man examines the life of Indian mathematician and untutored genius Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887–1920).
Every episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation deals with the use of science in law enforcement. A member of the TV show’s writing staff offers an inside look at how real science is depicted on the hit series.
Hollywood embraced the biopic in the heyday of the studio system, and many early films in the genre portray the lives of well-known research scientists. The genesis of these early biopics shed light on the history of entertainment and popular science in the 1930s and ’40s.
Satoshi Kon’s animated feature Paprika concerns a sleep researcher whose alter ego investigates criminal cases by entering her subject’s dreams. David Schwartz moderates this discussion with Harvard scientist Dr. Robert Stickgold, renowned for his work on sleep and dreaming, and film scholar Gilberto Perez, author of The Material Ghost.
The Fountain, a Sloan prizewinner at the 2006 Hamptons International Film Festival, tells the story of a doctor trying to cure his wife’s cancer. Aronofksy and his writing partner Handel, who has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, discuss how they balance their interest in science with the demands of cinematic storytelling.
The directing-producing team of Howard and Grazer has made more than 25 films since they founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986. They discuss their collaborative working process and movies, including Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind, two of the most popular recent films that depict the lives and work of scientists.
Breaking into Hollywood as a writer is hard, and for writers attracted to stories inspired by science or mathematics, it can feel impossible. Screenwriter Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz offers a personal account of the 2005 Sloan Film Summit.
The key to making a compelling movie about science is often to focus on the scientist as much as on the scientific process. Bill Condon’s Kinsey, winner of the 2004 Sloan prize at the Hamptons International Film Festival, incorporates the scientist’s investigative process into its narrative.
Does a film about alternative explanations for the creation of life undermine biologists’ accepted theory of evolution? And is a science museum justified in refusing to screen such a film?
Werner Herzog’s Grizzly Man represents the culmination of many of the filmmaker’s longstanding themes: a fascination with madness, the use of the natural environment as protagonist, and the questioning of man’s fundamental relationship to nature.
Shane Carruth’s debut, an ingenious sci-fi thriller about a fraternity of innovators who develop a time-travel technology, won the Grand Jury prize and the Sloan prize at Sundance in 2004. David Schwartz moderates this discussion with writer-director Carruth, independent film producer George van Buskirk, and Jerome Swartz, inventor of bar-code scanning technology.