There’s nothing quite like the Sloan Film Summit—the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Film Independent’s triennial, weekend-long celebration of the intersecting fields of cinema, science, math and engineering. In fact, you’d probably need several abacuses (abaci?) to properly tally all the films generously supported by the Sloan Foundations myriad grant programs: over 750 individual projects featuring “realistic and compelling” stories about tech and science, ranging from dramas like The Imitation Game to docs likes Particle Fever.
Twice-delayed due to COVID-19, the first Sloan Film Summit since 2017 (were we ever so young?) is happening next week, April 8-10, at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The invitation-only summit—with blogs and videos of full panels, Q&As and other event highlights publicly available here—will bring together 150+ screenwriters, directors, producers, scientists, engineers and representatives from top film schools and film programs around the world.
To refresh your memory, here are some highlights from the last Sloan Film Summit, back in 2017:
“After twice postposing this event due to COVID-19, we’re delighted to partner with Film Independent,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, continuing: “Sloan’s network of a dozen film schools, six screenplay development partners and three film festivals has created a unique developmental pipeline for supporting original work.”
So! Here’s what to expect at the upcoming 2022 Sloan Film Summit…
The Sloan Film Summit will kick off on Friday, April 8 with an opening reception, followed by a screening of A24’s After Yang—awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival—followed by a conversation with director Kogonada and leading scientists in the field of robotics and AI, including Presidential Award recipient Maja Matarić. Recently, the film was also awarded a $50,000 distribution grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
Saturday? Saturday is jam-packed. April 9 continues the Summit with a full day of private panels, workshops and industry networking sessions. A “Women in Science and On Film” panel will feature JPL Flight Systems Engineer Tracy Drain in conversation with writer and producer Wendy Calhoun, alongside special Case Study panels exploring the production of such Sloan-supported films such at Student Academy Award-winning short Sweet Potatoes and the Film Independent Spirit Award nominated feature To Dust.
The 2022 Sloan Film Summit closes with a bang on Sunday, April 10, with a public showcase of Sloan-winning short films, live table reads of excerpts from Sloan-supported screenplays, and a Q&A screening of David France’s acclaimed documentary How to Survive a Pandemic featuring the film’s creative team as well as experts on virology, epidemiology and public health, including UCLA’s Dr. Anne Rimoin and USC’s Jeffery Klausner. The day (and summit) concludes with a keynote address from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Andrea Ghez.
WHY WE CARE
Says Film Independent President Josh Welsh, “The past few years have only clarified the importance of science and technology and the power of art to shine a spotlight on these issues to bring them into the mainstream.” Adding: “The Sloan Foundation’s commitment to supporting visual storytellers whose work deeply engages with themes of science and technology is more essential now than ever.”
The Summit—launched in 1999—is, in fact, part of Sloan’s greater efforts as part of its Public Understanding of Science and Technology initiative. Celebrating its seventh iteration, this year’s Summit (the third consecutive one produced by Film Independent) is a celebration of the program’s wide-ranging success supporting young filmmakers, while also bringing together a new group of artists and scientists to highlight how art and science interact and collaborate.
So thank you, Sloan-supported filmmakers past and present. We can’t wait to see you next weekend! The 2022 Sloan Film Summit is happening April 8-10 in Los Angeles. Stay tuned to sloanfilmsummit.org for videos, blog recaps and more.
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(Header: After Yang)