Announcement: MoMI to Administer Sloan Student Prizes

Beginning this year, Museum of the Moving Image and Sloan Science & Film will administer the prestigious Sloan Student Grand Jury and Discovery Prizes on behalf of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The juried prizes celebrate two outstanding screenplays for feature film or scripted series that integrate science or technology themes and characters into realistic, compelling, and timely stories. Winners receive a cash prize of $20,000, along with dedicated mentorship with working professionals including Claudia Weill, Luca Borghese, and Musa Syeed, and will be honored at an awards ceremony in fall 2021 and take part in work-in-progress sessions at the Museum’s First Look Festival in 2022.

The Sloan Student Prizes, established and formerly administered by Tribeca Film Institute in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, aim to support film development as well as advance the careers of diverse, emerging filmmakers interested in science and technology as they transition out of graduate school and into the film industry.

Student filmmakers from twelve of the nation’s top graduate film schools are eligible for the Prizes, and are nominated by faculty at each school. Specifically, nominees for the Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize are selected from the six university film programs that partner year-round with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation: American Film Institute; Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama; Columbia University Film Department; NYU Tisch School of the Arts; UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television; and USC School of Cinematic Arts. Nominees for the Sloan Student Discovery Prize are selected from six public universities with established graduate film programs. They are: Brooklyn College Feirstein School of Cinema; Florida State University; SUNY Purchase School of Film and Media Studies; Temple University; University of Texas at Austin; and University of Michigan.

Past winners for the Sloan Student Grand Jury and Discovery Prizes include Shawn Snyder and Jason Begue (2016 Grand Jury Prize), whose film TO DUST was released theatrically in 2018, produced by Emily Mortimer and Alessandro Nivola, and starring Matthew Broderick and Geza Rohrig. For more information about the Sloan Student Prizes and to see a list of past winners, visit this page.

The 2021 writing mentors are:

Claudia Weill is a film, television, and theater director. Her first feature, GIRLFRIENDS, won multiple awards at Cannes, Filmex, and Sundance. Her second feature, IT’S MY TURN, won the Donatello (European Oscar) for Best New Director. She made 30 short films for SESAME STREET and has directed numerous documentaries, notably THIS IS THE HOME OF MRS. LEVANT GRAHAM (Kennedy Journalism Award) and THE OTHER HALF OF THE SKY: A CHINA MEMOIR, with Shirley MacLaine, nominated for an Academy Award. Her work in television includes multiple episodes of THIRTYSOMETHING (Humanitas and Emmy Awards), MY SO-CALLED LIFE, CHICAGO HOPE, and GIRLS. She serves on the Directors’ Executive Committee for the Academy of Arts and Sciences and on the Board of Antaeus, the only classical theater in L.A.

Luca Borghese is co-founder of AgX, a New York–based production company. Recent projects include DIANE (dir. Kent Jones), which premiered in competition at Tribeca and Locarno in 2018; MONSTERS AND MEN (dir. Reinaldo Marcus Green), which won the Special Jury Award for Best First Feature at Sundance before being released by Neon; and Eric Steel’s MINYAN which premiered in the Berlinale in 2020. He was also Associate Producer on James Gray’s THE LOST CITY OF Z and Bong Joon Ho’s OKJA.

Musa Syeed is a writer-director whose two features, VALLEY OF SAINTS (Sundance Audience Award Winner) and A STRAY (SXSW Official Selection), were both New York Times Critic’s Picks. He was also a co-writer on the acclaimed feature Menashe, distributed by A24. Musa Syeed’s short films include the Sundance selections THE DISPOSSESSED and THE BIG HOUSE, as well as the documentaries BRONX PRINCESS (Berlinale) and A SON’S SACRIFICE (Best Short Doc, Tribeca). He is currently Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Screenwriting at Harvard.

Kate Sharp is an Emmy-nominated producer and Literary Manager at Bellevue Productions. Her feature film credits include PEEP WORLD, starring Michael C. Hall, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, Taraji P. Henson, and Judy Greer; BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY, which starred Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, and Jane Fonda; and MADAME BOVARY, which had its World Premiere at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival. Sharp also served as an Executive Producer on the Hulu original TV series BEHIND THE MASK. She produced short-form content for companies such as Showtime, MTV, and Verizon. For five years, Sharp was an executive at Occupant Entertainment, serving as Vice President of Development and Production for the last two.

Emily Rappaport is Literary Director at Conner Literary, a book-to-film/TV scouting firm sourcing fiction and nonfiction titles for adaptation. She previously worked in television development at Annapurna Pictures and in the television literary and packaging department at United Talent Agency. She has equal love for books and movies, dogs and cats, New York (where she's from) and Los Angeles (where she lives).

Nissar Modi is the screenwriter of BREAKING AT THE EDGE (2013) and Z FOR ZACHARIAH (2015). He graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Film Production from the University of Southern California, and has written scripts for a wide array of actors and filmmakers including Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Reeves, Gary Ross, Chloe Moretz, and David Mackenzie.

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