Sundance, Science Sandbox Announce Inaugural Science Nonfiction Film Grants

Five emerging filmmakers received grants and other critical support as part of a new program to elevate the voices of independent artists working at the intersection of science and nonfiction storytelling.

Science Sandbox and the Sundance Institute has announced the inaugural award recipients of the Science Sandbox Nonfiction Initiative. This program, administered by the Sundance Institute, aims to provide resources for emerging artists making science nonfiction films and to help them connect their works with audiences across the world.

In addition to funding, the five projects and filmmakers selected will receive support from the Sundance Institute to aid in any creative, financial or production issues they encounter. The Sundance Institute will also produce a series of events connecting awardees with its network of alumni and creative advisors, along with Science Sandbox’s network of scientists and practitioners in the science-engagement community.

For more information on the program, read the Sundance Institute’s press release here.

The five winners are:

Artist Grant

Theo Anthony

Theo Anthony is a writer, photographer and filmmaker based in Baltimore. In 2015, he was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” His first feature, Rat Film, was released in 2017 to critical acclaim: Richard Brody of the New Yorker called it “one of the most extraordinary, visionary inspirations in the recent cinema.” In 2017, he was named a Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow and is currently in postproduction on his second documentary feature, All Light, Everywhere.

Project Grants

Untitled Artificial Intelligence Documentary

Director and Producer: Shalini Kantayya
Untitled Artificial Intelligence Documentary
follows data scientists and mathematicians who uncover bias encoded in everyday computer algorithms and their journey to sound the alarm about how biased artificial intelligence threatens civil liberties.

“Inventing Tomorrow”

Director: Laura Nix
Producers: Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, Laura Nix

Meet passionate teenage innovators from around the globe who are creating cutting-edge solutions to confront the world’s environmental threats — found right in their own backyards — while navigating the doubts and insecurities that mark adolescence. Take a journey with these inspiring teens as they prepare their projects for the largest convening of high school scientists in the world, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), a program of the Society for Science & the Public.

“The Most Unknown”

Director and Producer: Ian Cheney
The Most Unknown
connects nine scientists in a chain of encounters around the world to explore some of humanity’s biggest unanswered questions.

“The Quiet Zone”

Director: Katie Dellamaggiore
Producer: Nelson Dellamaggiore, Tracie Holder

Welcome to Green Bank, West Virginia, the only town in America where, by federal decree, the use of cell phones, Wi-Fi and other wireless technology is banned. The reason: Green Bank is home to one of the world’s most powerful radio telescopes, a place where astronomers search for clues to unlock the mysteries of our galaxy. The Quiet Zone follows this close-knit community whose few hundred residents live with one foot in the past and one in the present, at the very moment when the telescope — the town’s economic engine — is threatened with closure.

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