Athena Film Festival Announces 2024 Sloan Winners

The 14th Annual Athena Film Festival (AFF) – which runs February 29 to March 3 – kicked off yesterday by announcing the festival’s 2024 award winners, including the two newest Sloan grantees. The festival’s partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, designed to break the status quo by supporting inspiring films about women in STEM, includes a development grant and a screenwriting fellowship. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Athena List Development Grant is a $20,000 award given to an Athena List finalist or winner for a script featuring a woman in STEM, while the Alfred P. Sloan AFF Writers Lab Fellowship enables a woman filmmaker to attend one of AFF’s three-day creative development workshops. These biannual labs provide artists with creative guidance and foster the growth of a supportive network within the entertainment industry.

Tickets and passes are still available for the festival, which is currently underway. The lineup showcases a range of short and feature length films, narrative and documentary alike. We recommend Sophie Jarvis’s UNTIL BRANCHES BEND, winner of the AFF Breakthrough Award. Sloan Science and Film’s Sonia Epstein interviewed Jarvis following the film’s world premiere at Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022. Molly McGlynn’s recently released FITTING IN, a Sloan Science on Film Showcase selection at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival, also screens March 2. Rounding out the festival’s' science programming on March 3 is a Sloan- sponsored screening of Nicole Newnham’s documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF SHERE HITE, followed by a panel on data, science and feminism moderated by computational scientist Dr. Saima Akhtar of Barnard College.

More detail about the new Sloan winners is below.

Winner of the 2024 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Athena List Development Grant:

SCARCE by Mrittika “Mou” Sarin
Logline: “After discovering that the water supply of an underprivileged community has been stolen, a cynical software engineer fights to right this injustice — even as it draws her into conflict with her idealistic son.”

This is the second Sloan grant for Sarin, who previously won the 2019 Sloan UCLA Screenwriting Grant for the same project.

Winner of the 2024 Alfred P. Sloan AFF Writers Lab Fellowship:

THE AQUANAUTS by Rachel Caccese
Logline: “In the summer of 1970, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sends the first all-female team of marine biologists on a two-week underwater mission. The women must battle the dangers below while overcoming obstacles on the surface. Inspired by real events.”

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