Tribeca Film Institue announces first Sloan Filmmaker Fund recipients

Five projects benefit to the tune of $110,000.

by Amber Wilkinson

The Tribeca Film Institute has announced the five film projects to receive financial and creative support from its inaugural TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, supported by the Alfred P Sloan Foundation.

Out of 130 applications submitted, the five projects chosen will receive a total of $110,000 (£70,000). The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund supports narrative projects that tell compelling stories about science and technology or portray scientists, engineers and mathematicians as major characters.

Co-chairman of the TFI board Jane Rosenthal said: "The TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund affords us an opportunity to provide funding at a crucial time in the industry.

"These are projects we would like to see brought to fruition and we are happy to be able to support them with funding and our vote of confidence."

The selected projects are as follows (funding amounts shown in brackets):

($40,000) - Director: Amy Redford; Screenwriters: Gretchen Somerfeld, Jose Rivera; Producers: David Baxter, Gretchen Somerfeld - The story of screen siren Hedy Lamarr's little-known vocation as an inventor and scientist. Working with avant-garde composer George Antheil, with whom she had a passionate affair, Lamarr patented "frequency hopping" to aid the US military in WWII. Little did she know, it would become a key component in most current wireless technology.

($40,000) - Director/Screenwriter: Greg Harrison; Producer: Danielle Renfrew, William Horberg; - Based on the true story of a 16-year-old Boy Scout in Michigan who, in 1995, attempted to build the core of a nuclear reactor in his backyard shed and was shut down by the Federal government.

- Screenwriters: Alex Lyras, Michael Dorian - Was Thomas Edison America's greatest inventor, or a clever thief with a pioneering acumen for marketing? Alva explores the life of Edison from a precocious young rule breaker, to the full blown 'Wizard of Menlo Park'.

- Producer: Anil Baral; Screenwriter: Kathryn Maughan - Marie Curie was one of the leading feminist figures of the scientific world, facing obstacles in her professional and personal life, both exacerbated by gender discrimination. This is the story of how she proved the existence of the element Radium, thereby paving the way for many discoveries in nuclear science and earning her a second Nobel Prize.

- Director/Screenwriter: Tim Kirkman; Producers: Joshua Astrachan, Lucy Barzun Donnelly, Gill Holland - The story of the Wright Brothers, the original aviation pioneers, that chronicles their journey and struggles towards the first manned flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Submissions for the 2009 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund open November 12, 2008 and will be accepted through January 9, 2009 (postmark deadline). Fund recipients will be announced in the spring of 2009. Visit for further rules and information on submissions.

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