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.