Winners of the 2023 Sloan Student Prizes Announced

The winners of 2023 Sloan Student Prizes have been selected by a jury of scientists and film industry professionals, as recently announced in Variety. Each winner will receive $20,000 plus year-round mentorship from Museum of the Moving Image and film and science professionals. The Grand Jury prize represents the best screenplay selected from among those schools with which the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation partners year-round and the Discovery Prize represents an expansion of Sloan's film program to include nominations from six public universities.

The jury, comprised of Dr. Dwaipayan Banerjee (MIT), Dan Berger (President, Oscilloscope Laboratories), writer/director Sophie Barthes (THE POD GENERATION), actor/writer/director Anna Konkle (PEN15), Dr. Reyhaneh Maktoufi (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) and Dr. Katina Michael (Arizona State University), selected the following filmmakers:

The winner of the 2023 Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize:

LA FORZA by Justine Beed (USC)

Logline: “A semi-historical, romantic dramedy about the electric life of physicist Laura Bassi—the first female professor—and the husband who was her assistant.”

Jury citation: “LA FORZA is an exceptional treatment for a series—full of wit and romance—that tells the story of an underappreciated woman in science. The jury was impressed by the way in which the writer depicts eighteenth-century science and brings the characters to life. The jury is delighted to award the Sloan Student Grand Jury Prize to LA FORZA.”

The jury also awarded honorable mention to Emma Zetterberg for her feature script THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES:

THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES by Emma Zetterberg (NYU)

Logline: “Allvar Gullstrand, a Swedish scientist who won the Nobel Prize in 1911 for his contributions to understanding eyesight, is blinded by his own grief over losing his legacy and decides to prevent Albert Einstein from winning a Nobel Prize.”

Jury citation: “A gracefully written historical drama that explores scientific rivalry and a complex family relationship. The jury was moved by the honest dialogue, articulate storytelling, and the potential to visualize scientific concepts. The jury is pleased to award honorable mention to THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES.”

The winner of the 2023 Sloan Student Discovery Prize:

THE GARDEN by Lara Palmqvist (University of Texas, Austin)

Logline: “Drawing on timely concerns of climate change, biodiversity loss, and agricultural innovation, THE GARDEN follows a passionate plant breeder as he tries to secure his family’s future by developing genetically enhanced seeds while working for a controlling socialite who wants to transplant an elaborate garden onto her Kentucky estate. An ecological drama interested in interconnection, drawing links between social and environmental justice; opulence and exploitation; and food and the people who bring it to our plates.”

Jury citation: “The jury found THE GARDEN to be an impressive portrayal of a world grappling with the many devastating effects of climate change. The script is carefully attentive to the complexity of issues related to food production, plant genetics, and agricultural science. It is an original, poetic, and mythological, yet grounded, story. The jury is thrilled to award the Sloan Student Discovery Prize to THE GARDEN.”

Palmqvist is the first filmmaker of University of Texas at Austin to claim the prize since its inception in 2019.

Museum of the Moving Image will celebrate the winners on January 11, 2024 in New York.

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