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Preview of Science Films at the Tribeca Film Festival

The 2021 Tribeca Film Festival will take place online and in person June 9 to 20. Of the 66 feature films in this year’s festival, nine touch on science or technology themes. These include the Sloan-supported documentary THE FATHER OF THE CYBORGS. See below for this year’s science and technology-related films, with descriptions quoted from the festival programmers.

Documentary Competition

FATHOM, directed by Drew Xanthopoulos. Filmmaker & cinematographer Drew Xanthopoulos delivers a visual and aural wonder of a documentary—an immersive and sensorial film that follows researchers working to finally decode the communication of humpback whales.

ASCENSION (ASCENSION 登楼), directed by Jessica Kingdon. The absorbingly cinematic ASCENSION explores the pursuit of the “Chinese Dream.” Driven by mesmerizing—and sometimes humorous—imagery, this observational documentary presents a contemporary vision of China that prioritizes productivity and innovation above all.


International Narrative Competition

ROARING 20'S (ANNÉES 20), directed by Elisabeth Vogler, written by François Mark, Elisabeth Vogler, Noémie Schmidt, Joris Avodo. In a single unbroken shot, Roaring 20's gives viewers the chance not only to travel to Paris, but to live a day in the life there during the COVID-19 pandemic. Audiences can experience first hand both the universality of life in 2020, as well as the specificity and beauty of a summer day in the French capital.


Spotlight Narrative

FALSE POSITIVE, directed by John Lee, written by John Lee & Ilana Glazer. After fertility struggles, a couple seem to have found their savior in a celebrated reproductive specialist. But as hope transforms to happiness, the now-expectant mother is thrown into a spiral of suspicion, threatening her grasp on reality.


as of yet, directed by Chanel James, Taylor Garron, written by Taylor Garron. Told entirely through video calls and digital diaries, Naomi (Taylor Garron who also wrote and co-directs) navigates a problematic roommate and a burgeoning romance all while locked down during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Movies Plus

THE FATHER OF THE CYBORGS, directed and written by David Burke. Produced by David Burke, Sean O'Cualain. (Ireland) - World Premiere, Feature Documentary. Dr. Kennedy made headlines for implanting electrodes in the brain of a paralyzed man then teaching the patient to control a computer. After much controversy he later began experimenting on himself.

  • After the Movie: A conversation with the filmmakers and scientific experts about Dr. Phil Kennedy's extraordinary work and legacy within his field of computer-brain interface and beyond. Hosted by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

WITH/IN. Shooting on iPhones during last year’s quarantine, an impressive collective of talent chronicles 2020 pandemic life’s myriad challenges and simple pleasures through narrative shorts. Sometimes poignant, other times funny and consistently free-spirited, this stripped-down anthology turns confinement into creativity.

  • After the Movie: A conversation with Directors Sanaa Lathan, Maya Singer, Morgan Spector, & more.

Online Premieres

EXPLANT, directed by Jeremy Simmons. Over the past six decades, thousands of women across the globe have become sick with an amalgam of mysterious and severe autoimmune disease symptoms. The common denominator in many of their cases? Breast implants.


SETTLERS, written and directed by Wyatt Rockefeller. In this compelling sci-fi thriller set on a desolate Mars homestead, young Remmy finds herself the prisoner of a mysterious and murderous stranger. Escape seems impossible, but an unlikely friendship might prove her deliverance.

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