A television series about Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert’s research into psychedelics has been awarded the Sloan Episodic Grant by Film Independent. The series, called SEVEN ETERNITIES, is written by recent NYU MFA graduate Mirella Christou. Christou won a Sloan screenwriting grant from NYU earlier this year for to develop the project. The Episodic Grant is a $10,000 award that will go towards the development of the series pilot. Christou will also receive support from a science advisor to ensure the scientific accuracy of her story. She will participate in Film Independent’s five-week Episodic Lab where industry professionals provide feedback.
We spoke with Mirella Christou in February, after she received her first Sloan grant for SEVEN ETERNITIES. The pilot episode, she said, “takes place in 1960, with flashbacks and flash-forwards, and features the Concord Prison Experiment. Timothy Leary aims to use psilocybin, the synthetic form of magic mushrooms, which he procured from Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland which also synthesized LSD-25 [the laboratory name for LSD]. Leary was able to procure it to experiment with inmates to see if he could alter their perspective and create the change necessary to reduce recidivism rates—the rates that prisoners would keep going back to prison, the cycle of criminality.”
Another Sloan-supported filmmaker has been selected as one of seven to attend this year’s Film Independent Episodic Lab: Christopher Abeel. Abeel has received Sloan funding to make his short film KNIGHTS IN NEWARK, which premiered on Sloan Science & Film. Abeel also won a Sloan Screenwriting Grant for his feature script A MOTIVATED MAN, about the controversial chemist Fritz Haber. He will attend the Episodic Lab with a new project, THE DEVIL’S TEETH.
For more on Christou’s SEVEN ETERNITIES, read our interview.