The new feature film AMMONITE, directed by Francis Lee and starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan, is the 2020 recipient of the Sloan Science in Cinema Prize presented by SFFILM. The award celebrates the compelling depiction of science in a narrative feature film–past winners include THE AERONAUTS and FIRST MAN.
AMMONITE is set in England in the 1840s and centers on a self-taught paleontologist named Mary Anning, famous for her discovery of the skeleton of an icthyosaur at the age of 12. Anning's lonely existence is interrupted by the arrival of a wealthy tourist who falls ill and stays with Anning, becoming her companion and lover. The film is loosely inspired by the life of Mary Anning who was similarly a self-taught paleontologist born in Lyme Regis who made a number of groundbreaking fossil discoveries, but has been largely overlooked in history.
The Sloan Prize was presented by SFFILM to AMMONITE in a virtual event on December 18. The event featured a discussion and Q&A with writer/director Francis Lee, geologist Paddy Howe, and micropaleontologist Lisa White.