Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize Awarded to Mike Cahills Another Earth at 2011 Sundance Film Fest

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Park City, UT – Sundance Institute today announced that Another Earth, directed and written by Mike Cahill and written by Brit Marling, is the recipient of the 2011 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Now in its ninth year, the Prize carries a $20,000 cash award by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and is presented to an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.

An integral part of the Festival’s Awards Ceremony, the Alfred P. Sloan Prize Feature Film Prize is a major component of the Sundance Institute Science-in-Film Initiative, which is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Initiative supports the development and exhibition of new independent film projects that explore science and technology themes or that depict scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways.

The winning film was selected by a committee of film and science professionals “for its original use of subtly rendered scientific concept – the sudden appearance of an alternate Earth where everyone may be living parallel lives and destinies – to explore the themes of remorse and forgiveness.”

Another Earth (Director: Mike Cahill; Screenwriters: Mike Cahill and Brit Marling) – On the eve of the discovery of a duplicate Earth, a horrible tragedy irrevocably alters the lives of two strangers, who begin an unlikely love affair. Cast: William Mapother, Brit Marling, Jordan Baker, Robin Lord Taylor, Flint Beverage.

In his auspicious debut, director Mike Cahill offers a taut, superbly conceived science fiction romance that marks the emergence of the multitalented actor/screenwriter Brit Marling. Marrying character with high concept, Another Earth lures audiences to go where no one has gone before.

Doron Weber, Vice President of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation said, “We are delighted to partner with Sundance Institute for the ninth consecutive year in recognizing outstanding feature films that dramatize science and technology themes. Another Earth is a beautiful example of how filmmakers can take complex scientific ideas such as the multiverse and create unforgettable and moving human stories that appeal to a wide audience.”

In addition to the Feature Film Prize, the Initiative presents annually a panel at the Sundance Film Festival that brings together scientists and filmmakers to explore compelling, contemporary issues regarding science in film. Also, through the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program, the Initiative supports the Sloan Commissioning Fund, which provides resources for Initiative projects early in the development phase, and the Sloan Fellowship, which develops eligible projects at the Institute’s labs. This Initiative blends the Sloan Foundation’s goal of enhancing public understanding of science and technology with Sundance Institute’s mission to foster independent voices and compelling storytelling in film.

“The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation provides to our artists support at critical points in their filmmaking journey,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute, “The vitality of our Feature Film Program is intimately connected to the Foundation’s year-round funding and we are grateful for this robust partnership,” Putnam added.

Previous Alfred P. Sloan Prize Winners include: Diane Bell, Obselidia (2010); Max Mayer, Adam (2009); Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer (2008); Shi-Zheng Chen, Dark Matter (2007); Andrucha Waddington, The House of Sand (2006); Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man (2005), Shane Carruth, Primer (2004) and Marc Decena, Dopamine (2003). Several of these past winners have also been awarded Jury Awards at the Sundance Film Festival, including the Grand Jury Prize for Primer, the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for Sleep Dealer and the Excellence in Cinematography Award for Obselidia.

This year’s Alfred P. Sloan jury members include:

Jon Amiel is an English film director who has worked in film and television in both the UK and the US. After studies in English literature, Amiel graduated from Cambridge University and ran the Oxford and Cambridge Shakespeare Company, which often toured the USA. He worked as a story editor at BBC before directing the critically-acclaimed TV series The Singing Detective. He has directed for TV and film, and is currently in production on his latest feature film.

Paula Apsell is a Senior Executive Producer, NOVA, and Director of the WGBH Science Unit. Today, NOVA is the most popular science series on American television and on the Web. In addition to the programs in the regular NOVA television schedule, Apsell has overseen the production of many award-winning WGBH Science Unit specials, including A Science Odyssey, Secrets of Lost Empires, Building Big, and most recently, the eight-part miniseries, Evolution. As executive in charge of NOVA’s large-format film unit, Apsell has overseen the production of Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, To the Limit, Stormchasers, Island of the Sharks, and Special Effects, the first IMAX film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in 1993 from Harvard University. Carroll is the author of “From Eternity to Here,” about cosmology and the arrow of time; has written a graduate textbook, “Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity”; and recorded a course on dark matter and dark energy for The Teaching Company.

Clark Gregg made his directorial debut at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival with Choke, based on the cult Chuck Palahniuk novel. He has appeared in the Sundance films The Adventures of Sebastian Cole, Lovely and Amazing, and 500 Days of Summer. Clark is well-known for his roles on the hit television series The New Adventures of Old Christine and as Agent Coulson in the films Iron Man, Iron Man 2 and the upcoming Thor. He is currently filming Mr. Popper’s Penguins,followed by the Avengers. Clark is also a founding member of the Atlantic Theater Company in New York City. He is a member of the 2011 Sundance Institute Alumni Advisory Board.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Founded in 1934, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a non-profit philanthropy that makes grants in science, technology and economic performance. This Sloan-Sundance partnership forms part of a broader national program by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to stimulate leading artists in film, television, and theater; to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology; and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in the popular imagination. Over the past decade, the Foundation has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country – including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, and USC – and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production and an annual first-feature award for alumni. The Foundation has also started an annual Sloan Feature Film Prize at the Hamptons International Film Festival and initiated new screenwriting workshops at the Hamptons and Tribeca Film Festival. In addition, it continues to work with leading writer/producers and major studios to create more films, TV shows and TV movies featuring scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

Sundance/Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grants

American Prometheus (writer and director Robert Edwards) American Prometheustells the story of the McCarthy-era persecution and destruction of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, for his postwar opposition to the arms race. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin.

Writer/Director Robert Edwards’ work includes The Bomb in My Garden, an adaptation of James Carroll’s epic Cold War history “House of War,” an adaptation of John le Carré’s novel “The Night Manager,” and “One Minute to Midnight,” the acclaimed book about the Cuban missile crisis by Washington Post correspondent Michael Dobbs. His first screenplay Land of the Blind won a Nicholl Fellowship from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and in 2006 became his directorial debut, starring Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland. As a documentarian, Edwards produced and edited Sumo East and West, a feature documentary about East/West culture clash, and he also directed the short The Voice of the Prophet. In addition, he edited Barry Levinson’s 1999 documentary Yesterday’s Tomorrows, as well as Abandoned. He is currently working on a thriller for director Bennett Miller (Capote) and is adapting Jeremy Scahill’s bestselling “Blackwater,” about the neo-mercenary industry. Edwards will soon direct his next feature, Trust, from his original script, starring Billy Crudup, Kiefer Sutherland and Guy Pearce. He is based in New York City.

Paperclip (writer and director Ioana Uricaru) During a turbulent night in the last days of World War II in Allied-occupied German, a confrontation between two brilliant scientists unfolds illuminating the deep ethical and political dilemmas of the last days of the war.

Writer/Director Ioana Uricaru was born and raised in Romania, where she lived through her country’s totalitarian regime and the anti-dictatorship popular uprising. She relocated to Los Angeles upon admission to the Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production Program at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, where she received the Jack Nicholson Screenwriting Scholarship. Her thesis film The Sun and the Moon was screened at several international festivals. She also has a degree in Biochemistry from the University of Bucharest and has been collaborating with USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute. Uricaru co-directed the omnibus feature Tales From the Golden Age, an Official Selection at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, and was a fellow of the Residence de la Cinefondation, a program of the Cannes Film Festival, in 2009 and 2010. Her short film Stopover premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and she is currently completing post-production on The Witness, a short film funded by a Sloan Foundation Production Award.

Sundance/Alfred P. Sloan Lab Fellow

Stem (writer and director Diane Bell) After her mother suffers a heart attack, a stem cell researcher returns to her birthplace on a journey that challenges her belief in the predetermination of life.

Writer/Director Diane Bell is originally from Scotland, but grew up in Japan, Australia, and Germany. Her first film as a writer/director, Obselidia, premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Excellence in Cinematography Award and the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. The film has gone on to win acclaim at festivals around the world, and was recently nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, including one for Best First Screenplay. Bell currently resides in Santa Monica, California.

Festival Sponsors

The 2011 Sundance Film Festival sponsors include: Presenting Sponsors-Entertainment Weekly, HP, Acura, Sundance Channel and Chase SapphireSM; Leadership Sponsors-Bing™, Canon, DIRECTV, Honda, Southwest Airlines and YouTube™; Sustaining Sponsors-FilterForGood®, a partnership between Brita® and Nalgene®, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, L’Oréal Paris, Stella Artois®, Timberland, and Trident Vitality™. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations will defray costs associated with the 10-day Festival and the nonprofit Sundance Institute’s year-round programs for independent film and theatre artists. In return, sponsorship of the preeminent Festival provides these organizations with global exposure, a platform for brand impressions and unique access to Festival attendees.

About Sundance Film Festival

Supported by the nonprofit Sundance Institute, the Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films of the past two decades, including sex, lies, and videotape, Maria Full of Grace, The Cove, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious, Trouble the Water and Napoleon Dynamite and, through its New Frontier initiative, has brought the cinematic works of media artists including Isaac Julian, Doug Aitken, Pierre Huyghe, Jennifer Steinkamp and Matthew Barney.

About Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.

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Media Contacts:

Kelly Frey
Sundance Film Festival
(435) 776-7862

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