Marjorie Prime wins Sloan Award

Winners of Sundance commissioning, episodic storytelling grants and lab fellowship also revealed.

by Amber Wilkinson

Jon Hamm in Marjorie Prime - in the near future — a time of artificial intelligence — 86-year-old Marjorie has a handsome new companion who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance?
Jon Hamm in Marjorie Prime - in the near future — a time of artificial intelligence — 86-year-old Marjorie has a handsome new companion who looks like her deceased husband and is programmed to feed the story of her life back to her. What would we remember, and what would we forget, if given the chance? Photo: Jason Robinette
Marjorie Prime has been announced as the winner of the Alfred P Sloan Foundation prize at Sundance. The $20,000 prize is given to outstanding feature films focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.

Adam Benic’s Levittown won the foundation's Episodic Storytelling Grant, Darcy Brislin and Dyana Winkler’s Bell won the lab fellowship and Jamie Dawson and Howard Gertler’s Untitled Smallpox Eradication Project won the commissioning grant.

VP of the Sloan Foundation Doron Weber said: "With cool intelligence, wit and poignancy - allied to a deft directorial hand and a stellar cast - Almereyda explores the emotional landscape of artificial intelligence and dramatises the emerging impact of intelligent machines on our most intimate human relationships.

"Sloan is also delighted to award three new screenwriting grants at Sundance focusing on scientists and inventors who helped shape the modern world as part of our "non-profit movie studio for science " and a national development pipeline which has resulted in 20 feature films to date."

The reception was preceded by an all-female panel on women in science and their onscreen portrayals (or lack thereof), with discussion of half a dozen films about women in science that were supported and championed by Sloan, including Hidden Figures.

Executive director of the Sundance Institute Keri Putnam said: “Support for these artists and their projects is more timely than ever.

“Telling nuanced, human stories about science and technology is the most effective way to drive understanding of the forces that play such a major role in shaping our world today.”

The Jury members were: Heather Berlin, Tracy Drain, Nell Greenfieldboyce, Nicole Perlman and Jennifer Phang.

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