2023 Sloan Winners at Columbia University and SFFILM

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s numerous partnerships with film organizations nationwide reflect its commitment to supporting filmmakers at every stage of development. From scripts in development to finished films and pilots ready for distribution, new grantees are recognized year-round. We’ve rounded up some of the recent winners from SFFILM and Columbia University.

SFFILM returns for its 66th year April 13–22, showcasing films from around the world over the course over the course of ten days. The festival includes the annual presentation of the Sloan Science on Screen Award, which celebrates the compelling depiction of science in a narrative feature film. (Colin West’s recently released LINOLEUM was the 2022 recipient.) This year's winner is Matt Johson’s BLACKBERRY, which chronicles the rise and demise of the titular smart phone, the first of its kind when it debuted in the mid-’90s. The award presentation will include a post-screening Q&A with Matt Johnson and scientist Joel Moore, moderated by Jessie Fairbanks. Starring Jay Baruchel as BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis, the film will be released by IFC Films on May 12, 2023. Stay tuned for further coverage.

SFFILM 2023 will also screen Sophie Barthe’s THE POD GENERATION, which won the 2023 Sloan Feature Film Prize at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. For more on the film, check out Science & Film’s interview with Barthes from earlier this year. Barthes’s alma mater Columbia University has also announced its latest grant recipients, funding five new projects with screenwriting and production grants.

Winners of the Columbia University 2023 Sloan Production Grants:

DO YOU HAVE A NAME. Dir. Xiaolong Wang. Prod. Bohan Zhang (Short Film)
Chengyi Wang, an elderly man with severe visual impairment, loses his lovely guide dog, Niu Niu. Intensely suffering, he rekindles his hope for life under the care of his neighbor Ai jun Zhang and his daughter, and in addition to getting a mechanical dog, he also gains a precious and warm relationship.

TO FADE AWAY. Dir. Camille Hamadé. Prod. Yasmeen Gholmieh. (Short Film)
When a scientist loses his company’s support to achieve his dream of harnessing solar energy, he quits his job to pursue other sources of funding and quickly realizes he may have put his life at risk.

Winners of the Columbia University 2023 Sloan Screenwriting Grants:

FOLSOM MAN by Kristen Edney (Feature)
An archaeology PhD finds the confidence to pursue her own methodologies as she traces the journey of a 19th century black cowboy and naturalist to his discovery of the site of her research.

KILLING JAR by Vivienne Shaw (Feature)
When the abrupt death of her mother launches her into a confusing web of family lies and secrets, a competitive entomology PhD student decides to study the insects on her mother's decomposing body in order to uncover the horrifying truth.

THE TEKTITE by Emily Everhard (Limited Series)
On the cusp of 1970, elite female scientists arrive in the US Virgin Islands to compete for a spot on NASA’s next aquatic mission, “The Tektite.” As the women vie for a coveted spot, tensions arise between the candidates and the public’s doubt that women can complete the dangerous mission.

More from Sloan Science and Film: