Wednesday, July 18, 2018
  • Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017
Return Engagement: Film Independent To Produce Sloan Film Summit
Josh Welsh, president of Film Independent
  • --

Film Independent is returning for the second time to produce the Sloan Film Summit taking place October 27-29 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The 2017 Summit will celebrate the thriving nationwide Sloan Film Program, bringing together over 120 screenwriters, directors and producers, as well as working scientists and representatives from leading film schools and film organizations, who work to bridge the gap between science, technology and popular culture.
The Sloan Film Summit, launched in 1999 and produced every three years, forms part of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Film Program under its broader effort in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology. This year’s event will highlight the program’s increasing success in bringing stories of pioneering women in science to the screen, recent support for television writing, screenings of the Sloan-awarded Marjorie Prime and the Sloan-supported Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story and new forays in emerging technologies such as VR. Academy Award-nominated producer Lydia Dean Pilcher will give the keynote address; the summit will also host a conversation between renowned music video director, immersive storyteller and virtual reality pioneer Chris Milk and award-winning designer, academic and experiential media creator Alex McDowell.
“We’re delighted to partner with Film Independent in hosting this triennial summit celebrating the Sloan Foundation’s pioneering Film Program, which has developed a nonprofit movie studio for science to support the most innovative filmmakers and original new work that engages science and technology themes and characters for a general audience,” said Doron Weber, VP and program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Sloan’s development pipeline of six film schools, three film festivals and five screenplay development partners has resulted in 20 completed feature films released theatrically and a new generation of filmmakers, including two of this year’s 17 Student Academy Award winners and one finalist. The Foundation has long championed work about women scientists including this year’s Oscar-nominated hit, Hidden Figures, and new projects about Hedy Lamarr, Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie and Jane Goodall and we look forward to showcasing great stories about women in science at this year’s summit.”
“Film Independent is thrilled to again produce the Sloan Film Summit, a remarkable gathering of filmmakers, film organizations and the scientific community,” said Josh Welsh, Film Independent president. “The Sloan Foundation’s commitment to supporting filmmakers whose work deals with science and technology is so impactful, both for the filmmakers and for the culture at large.”
The Sloan Film Summit will kick off on Friday, October 27 at 8:00 pm with a public screening of Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime, which was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the film’s creative team, who will be joined by esteemed scientists to explore the timely issues raised by the film, most notably the increasing presence of AI in the world and in our most intimate relationships. 
On Saturday, October 28, the Summit will continue with a full day of private panels, workshops and networking sessions with industry professionals for all the Sloan supported filmmakers and organizations. Director Milk will participate in a conversation with McDowell, creative director of Experimental Design Studios and director of the World Building Institute, on the future of immersive storytelling as new VR and AR technologies emerge. The day will conclude with a 7:30 pm public screening of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, followed by a “Women in Science” panel with guest speakers including NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory systems engineer Tracy Drain and Professor Danijela Cabric from the Electrical Engineering Department at UCLA.
Sunday, October 29 features a public showcase of Sloan-winning short films, staged screenplay readings, and a sneak peek of upcoming features supported by the Foundation, including Pilcher and Ginny Mohler’s Radium Girls, Shawn Snyder’s To Dust and Ben Lewin’s The Catcher Was a Spy. Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning producer Pilcher will present a Keynote sharing her vision for cultural strategies and making movies with impact, including character-driven, science-themed movies, followed by a roundtable conversation on integrating science and technology into television with series creators.
Additionally, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Film Independent are debuting a video produced by Intrinsic Value Films, celebrating the triennial Sloan Film Summit and offering an inspiring look at the impact science has had on cinematic endeavors featuring commentary from Neil deGrasse Tyson, Geena Davis, Emily Mortimer, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Ginny Mohler, Michael Mitnick and others. 
A limited number of seats to select events will be available to the public on a first come first served basis with priority access to Film Independent members.


MySHOOT Profiles

Stewart Cohen / SCPictures
John Komnenich
Director, Editor