Sloan Film Collection: Celebrating Juneteenth

Juneteenth, the annual commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, celebrated its fourth year as a federal holiday this week. In recognition of the countless Black scientists and artists whose contributions might have otherwise gone unrealized, we’ve identified a collection of Sloan-recognized films made by Black artists, with an emphasis on those that speak to the experience of African Americans in science. Including both finished films and projects currently in development, the selection ranges from fictional coming-of-age stories to those inspired by the true stories of pioneering figures like Alice Ball, Benjamin Banneker, and Lewis Latimer.


AFRONAUTS. Dir. Nuotama Bodomo. It is July 16, 1969: America is preparing to launch Apollo 11. Thousands of miles away, the Zambia Space Academy hopes to beat America to the moon. Inspired by true events. Watch it here on

THE BALL METHOD. Dir. Dag Abebe. The untold story of African-American chemist Alice Ball, who at the age of 23 found an effective treatment for leprosy in 1915 Hawaii. Available to rent or buy.

LET THERE BE LIGHT. Dir. Jon K. Jones. LET THERE BE LIGHT is based on the true story of African American inventor, draftsman, scientist, poet, and American Civil War veteran Lewis H. Latimer, who struggles to balance love and scientific curiosity amidst the turn of the 20th century in the United States.


CODED BIAS. Dir. Shalini Kantayya. Modern society sits at the intersection of two crucial questions: What does it mean when artificial intelligence (AI) increasingly governs our liberties? And what are the consequences for the people AI is biased against? When MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini discovers that most facial-recognition software does not accurately identify darker-skinned faces and the faces of women, she delves into an investigation of widespread bias in algorithms. As it turns out, AI is not neutral, and women are leading the charge to ensure our civil rights are protected. Available on Netflix.

HIDDEN FIGURES. Dir. Theodore Melfi. HIDDEN FIGURES uncovers the true story of the Black female mathematicians at NASA who helped win the space race against America's rivals in the Soviet Union and, at the same time, sent the quest for equal rights and opportunity rocketing forwards. The film centers on Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson who worked at NASA as "human computers" in the 1950s. Hidden Figures is based on the Sloan-supported book by Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. Available on Disney+.


An elderly Black man awakens from a coma to find his body severely burned from a fiery car crash. When he is offered a life risking face transplant surgery, his daughter must reconcile her emotional trauma with the new person her father is becoming. Inspired by the true story of Robert Chelsea, the first black man and oldest person to receive a full face transplant.

GOLIATH by Anthony Onah
After a brilliant African American scientist discovers a leading pesticide may be harmful, paranoia and rage threaten to consume him as he battles its manufacturer, the most powerful chemical company in the world. Based on a true story.

After being blindsided by a deceitful peer, a stubborn college student builds a replica of the first wooden clock in America, bringing justice to both himself and Benjamin Banneker.

In a world where your body is not your own, 15-year-old Maisey is sold to the good doctor J. Marion Sims. While working in his “haunted” house, she has to discover what makes him so peculiar in time to save herself from the man who would heal us all.

WOODSIDE by Gerard Shaka
While struggling to cope with an abusive father and a complacent mother, a queer Bahamian boy discovers self-love through his experiences replanting mangroves with a marine conservationist.

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