Alfred P. Sloan Prize Awarded At 2009 Sundance Film Festival

Sloan Jury Sets its Gaze Upon Star-filled Adam, Directed by Max Mayer

Posted Jan 23, 2009

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Park City,UT – The 2009 Sundance Film Festival is pleased to announce that Adam, directed by Max Mayer, is therecipient of this year’s Alfred P. Sloan Prize. The Prize, which carries a$20,000 cash award to the filmmaker provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation,is presented to an outstanding feature film focusing on science or technologyas a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a majorcharacter.

Adam is a love story between a manwith Asperger's Syndrome (Hugh Dancy)and the woman who moves into his apartment building (Rose Byrne) who has justhad her heart broken.  It is aboutmaking the strange familiar and the obstacles we all face when we try to loveintimately.  The film, whichscreened in Dramatic Competition, was selected “for its credible and movingportrayal of an engineer with Asperger's Syndromewhose passion for science helps him in his struggle to achieve a meaningfulrelationship.”

Director Max Mayer is a Founder and Producing Director of New YorkStage and Film which has presented twenty-four summer seasons of original playsat the Powerhouse Theatre at Vassar College.  Mayer has directed over fifty new plays including world orUS premieres by writers such as John Patrick Shanley,Lee Blessing, Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, RichardNelson, George F. Walker and Eric Overmyer. Hisproductions have opened both Off-Broadway and in regional theatres includingArena Stage, Long Wharf and Steppenwolf in Chicago.  For television, Mayer has directed episodes of NBC’s THEWEST WING, ABC’s ALIAS and CBS’s FAMILY LAW.  Mayer directed his first feature film, Better Living, starring Roy Scheider,Olympia Dukakis and Edward Hermann which opened theatrically in 2000. Lastyear, Adam was chosen as a winner ofthe 12th Annual Writers’ Network Fiction and Screenplay Competition. Adam is his second feature film.

TheAlfred P. Sloan Prize is a major component of the Sundance Science-in-FilmInitiative, which is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. SloanFoundation. The Initiative supports the development and exhibition of newindependent film projects that explore science and technology themes or thatdepict scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovativeways.  In addition to the Prize,the Initiative presents a panel discussion at the Festival that brings togetherscientists and filmmakers to explore compelling, contemporary issues regardingscience in film; and, in the Sundance Feature Film

Program,the Initiative supports the Sloan Commissioning Fund, which provides resourcesfor Initiative projects early in the development phase; and the SloanFellowship, which develops eligible projects at the Sundance Feature Film Labstowards production. This Initiative blends the Sloan Foundation’s goal ofenhancing public understanding of science and technology with SundanceInstitute’s mission to foster independent voices and compelling storytelling infilm.

PreviousAlfred P. Sloan Prize Winners include: Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer (2008); Shi-Zheng Chen, Dark Matter (2007); Andrucha Waddington, The House of Sand (2006);Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man (2005) andShane Carruth, Primer (2004).

Thewinning film was selected by a committee of film and science professionalsbased on the quality of the film’s presentation of science and technologythemes and/or characters. This year’s Alfred P. Sloan jury members include:

Fran Bagenal – Fran Bagenal’s research interests are in the magnetic fields ofplanets, planetary plasmas and the interaction of planetary objects - fromJupiter down to comets - with the solar wind or magnetospheric plasmas. She works with data from planetary missions (Galileo, Deep Space 1,New Horizons) as well as emissions observed remotely with telescopes (HST,Cassini) Selected Recent Publications: Jupiter: The Planet, Satellites andMagnetosphere, Fran Bagenal, Bill McKinnon, TimDowling (eds), Cambridge University Press 2004Modeling temporal variability of plasma conditions in the Io plasma torusduring the Cassini era, Peter Delamere, Andrew Steffl and Fran Bagenal, J. Geophys. Res., 109, A10216, 2004 Pluto's kineticinteraction with the solar wind, Peter Delamere andFran Bagenal, Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L04807, 2004

Rodney Brooks -- Inaddition to his multiple roles at MIT, Rodney Brooks is Chairman and ChiefTechnical Officer of iRobot Corporation. He receiveddegrees in pure mathematics from the Flinders University of South Australia andthe Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1981. Brooks is aFounding Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Raymond Gesteland --Raymond Gesteland earned his Ph. D from HarvardUniversity. He was working in Geneva as a postdoc inAlfred Tissieres' and Pierce Barrs'lab, when he began looking for work back in the US. John Cairns hired him inCold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1967 where he began work as Assistant Directorfor Research with Jim Watson. His research in the lab involved working on translationand trying to understand the regulation of translation of HT4 infected cells.He then began more research work into translation systems for eukaryotic cellsto begin understanding the genes in alden adeno replicaton. Gesteland is a Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics atthe University of Utah.

Jeffrey Nachmanoff –Jeffrey Nachmanoff studied Art and English Literatureat Harvard University before attending USC film school.  He edited documentaries until Paramountoptioned his first screenplay.  Since then he has worked as a studio screenwriter oneverything from science fiction to action comedy.  In 2004 he penned the script for the ecological disasterfilm, The Day After Tomorrow withRoland Emmerich.  In 2008 he wrote and directed Traitor, a political thriller starring Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce.

Alex Rivera -- AlexRivera is a New York based digital media artist and filmmaker.  His firstfeature film, Sleep Dealer premieredat Sundance 2008, and won two awards, including the Waldo Salt ScreenwritingAward.  Rivera is a Sundance Fellow and a Rockefeller Fellow. His work,which addresses concerns of the Latino community through a language of humor,satire, and metaphor, has also been screened at The Berlin International FilmFestival, New Directors/New Films, The Guggenheim Museum, PBS, Telluride, andother international venues.

Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

This Sloan-Sundance partnership forms part of a broadernational program by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to stimulate leading artistsin film, television, and theater; to create more realistic and compellingstories about science and technology; and to challenge existing stereotypesabout scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in the popular imagination.Over the past decade, the Foundation has partnered with some of the top filmschools in the country – including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA,and USC – and established annual awards in screenwriting and film productionand an annual first-feature award for alumni. The Foundation has also startedan annual Sloan Feature Film Prize at the Hamptons International Film Festivaland initiated new screenwriting workshops at the Hamptons and TriBeca Film Festival. In addition, it continues to workwith leading writer/producers and major studios to create more films, TV showsand TV movies featuring scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in1934, makes grants in science, technology, economic performance and the qualityof American life. The Foundation’s program in public understanding of science,directed by Program Director Doron Weber, supportsbooks, radio, film, television, and theatre, including not only Proof,Copenhagen, and Alan Alda’s QED, but dozens of newplays from the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Manhattan Theater Club, PlaywrightsHorizons and the Magic Theater.

2009Sundance Film Festival Sponsors

The 2009 Sundance Film Festival sponsors help sustain the nonprofitSundance Institute's year-round programs to support independent artists,inspire risk-taking and encourage diversity in the arts. This year's FestivalSponsors include: Presenting SponsorsEntertainment Weekly, HP and Honda; Leadership Sponsors—American Express,Delta Air Lines, DIRECTV, FilterForGoodSM, a partnership between Brita® and Nalgene®, the National Milk Mustache "got milk?"®Campaign, L’Oreal Paris, Le Tourment Vert Absinthe Francaise, The NewYork Times, Ray-Ban, Sony Electronics, Inc., Stella Artois®, Timberland, andthe Utah Film Commission. GroupPartner Sundance Channel is the Official Television Network of the 2009Sundance Film Festival.

SundanceFilm Festival

The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase for U.S. andinternational independent film, held each January in and around Park City,Utah. Presenting 120 dramatic and documentary feature-length films in sevendistinct categories, and 80 short films each year, the Sundance Film Festivalhas introduced American audiences to some of the most ground-breaking films ofthe past two decades, including sex lies and videotape, MariaFull of Grace, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Trouble the Water and Central Station. www.sundance.org/festival

SundanceInstitute

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is anot-for-profit organization that fosters the development of originalstorytelling in film and theatre, and presents the annual Sundance FilmFestival. Internationally recognized for its artistic development programs fordirectors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatreartists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Angels inAmerica, Spring Awakening, Boys Don't Cry and Born into Brothels. www.sundance.org.

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Media Contact:

AnneBroecker, 435-776-7962

anne_broecker@sundance.org

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