Science at the 2017 San Francisco International Film Festival

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation supports the San Francisco International Film Festival to screen films with scientific or technological themes. MARJORIE PRIME, Michael Almereyda’s feature about memory and artificial intelligence and Peter Livolsi’s HOUSE OF TOMORROW, about the ideas of the futurist Buckminster Fuller, were each supported by the Foundation’s film partners and will screen in the festival program. A new feature film by Marie Noëlle about two-time Nobel Prize-winner Marie Curie will play as well, followed by a Sloan-supported panel on women in science. The festival runs April 5 to 19 of 2017.

Directed, produced, and edited by French filmmaker Maire Noëlle, MARIE CURIE: THE COURAGE OF KNOWLEDGE, stars Karolina Gruszka (INLAND EMPIRE) as Marie Curie and Charles Berling (ELLE) as Pierre Curie. It focuses on the years between Marie Curie’s first and second Nobel Prizes for the discovery of radioactivity and the element radium. The Sloan-supported discussion on April 9 will focus on women in science. For more, read Science & Film’s article about the film.

MARJORIE PRIME, adapted from a play of the same name by Jordan Harris, is written and directed by Michael Almereyda (EXPERIMENTER). The film received the Sloan Feature Film Prize at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It stars Lois Smith as an aging woman with dementia whose companion is a hologram played by Jon Hamm. The film is being distributed by FilmRise and will be in theaters by mid-2017. Almereyda and producer Uri Singer will be present at the April 6 and 9 screenings. For more, read Science & Film’s exclusive with Almereyda.

THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW, starring Ellen Burstyn, will make its world premiere at the Festival. The film received Sloan development support through the Tribeca Film Institute. Directed by Peter Livolsi and produced by Burstyn and Tarik Karam. The film integrates the teachings of the futurist Buckminster Fuller and was shot in one of Fuller’s geodesic domes. Livolsi, Burstyn, and actors Asa Butterfield, Alex Wolff, and Maude Apatow will be at the April 8 screening. For more, read Science & Film’s interview with Ellen Burstyn.

In addition to these Sloan-supported screenings, five science-themed films will play at the festival. These include George Lucas’s first film THX 1138 which will be accompanied by a live score. Science & Film interviewed a neuroscientist about emotion and pharmaceuticals in relation to the film when it played at the 2017 Berlin International Film Festival. A new documentary, BILL NYE: SCIENCE GUY, is about the famed science communicator. Jeff Orlowski’s CHASING CORAL is about an effort to map the world’s coral ecosystem. Albert Serra’s feature THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV is about the final days of the Sun King as chronicled by his personal physician. Science & Film wrote about the film when it premiered at the New York Film Festival. LOST CITY OF Z, by James Gray, is about an explorer in the 1920s who leads an expedition into the Amazon rainforest.

This is the Foundation’s second year supporting the San Francisco International Film Festival. In 2016, the Sloan-supported films OPERATOR and THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY played. Stay tuned to Science & Film for coverage of the post-screening discussions.