Filmmakers Kiran Deol and Jon K. Jones have been selected by SFFILM to receive Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowships that will support the development of their scripts for narrative films. The grants are part of Sloan's "efforts to support programs that cultivate and promote films that address scientific or technological subjects and characters," according to a press release. The grants include $ 35,000 grants, virtual stays at the SFFILM film house, access to SFFILM's artist development programs, and connections with a science advisor and other science and technology communities in the Bay Area.
From the press release:
SFFILM and the Sloan Foundation have awarded the Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker 2020 scholarships to Kiran Deol for developing their script, Tidal Disruption, and Jon K. Jones for his Let There Be Light project.
The review committee consisted of Aneeta Akhurst, program director at Seeker Media; Brad Balukjian, Ph.D., director of the natural history and sustainability program at Merritt College; Sara Bender, Ph.D., Science Program Officer at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation; Sophie Gunther, manager of the film funds at SFFILM; Patrick House, Ph.D., writer and neuroscientist; Lauren McBride, artist development director at SFFILM; Indre Viskontas, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of San Francisco; and Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
The committee stated in a statement: “We are delighted to be supporting two projects with grants that not only address fascinating scientific fields, but in their own unique way tackle the very foundation of the scientific approach itself. From a historical depiction of a previously unsung African American scientist to a modern depiction of power dynamics and misogyny in science, both projects fearlessly show the flaws and advantages of scientific culture through the eyes of complex, underrepresented characters. In addition to our scholarship holders, the jury would like to award two projects with Honorable Mentions: Lauren López de Victoria's Salt the Fields and Gabriel Wilson's After the Wind. While the jury was unable to award scholarships to these filmmakers, both projects showed promising results in their dynamic and painfully human explorations of scientific discoveries. SFFILM and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation are pleased to continue to work together to advocate important stories from the past to the present, built on strong narrative foundations to expand public understanding of science and technology. "
"We are thrilled to partner with SFFILM to reward two outstanding screenwriters with the 2020 Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship," said Doron Weber, vice president and program director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. "These powerful scripts about the sexual harassment of a PhD student in astronomy and the real-world story of little-known African American pioneering scientist Lewis H. Latimer feature characters as complex and compelling as any in today's film."
Information on the two winners follows:
Kiran Deol, writer / director
A starry-eyed PhD student struggles desperately to maneuver between her passion for astronomy and the advancement of her charismatic mentor in this claustrophobic psychological thriller.
Kiran Deol is a comedian, filmmaker, and actress whose work treats difficult subjects with humor and intimacy. She starred in Mike Schur's NBC series Sunnyside alongside Kal Penn last fall and starred in Aline Brosh McKennas / Sono Patels pop TV pilot Arranged the year before. Other TV credits include "How to Get Away with Murder", "The Mindy Project", "Modern Family", "New Girl" and more. As a filmmaker, her film Woman Rebel, a documentary about female rebel soldiers, was nominated for an Emmy, shortlisted for an Oscar, and distributed by HBO. She is a 2020 Sundance Screenwriting Fellow and Sloan Award recipient for her first feature film, Tidal Disruption. Sundance Now also released her short film American Haze, about her experience as a first generation immigrant. She is a regular presenter on Crooked Media's all-female podcast, Hysteria, and she loves you.
Let there be light
Jon K. Jones, writer / director
Let There Be Light is based on the true story of the African American inventor, draftsman, scientist, poet, and veteran of the American Civil War, Lewis H. Latimer, who endeavored to harmonize love and scientific curiosity in the United States at the turn of the 20th century bring.
New York based writer and director Jon K. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Brooklyn College with a dual focus in screenwriting and film history and a Masters of Fine Arts from Columbia University School of the Arts to pursue his passion for history . His personal mission is to bring high quality, fun and original stories to life in television, novels and films by combining socially engaging storytelling with transportable and imaginative aesthetics. In 2020 Jones completed a coveted one-year internship on Saturday Night Live and received the Alfred P. Sloan Award for his short screenplay Let There Be Light, a snapshot of the life of African American inventor Lewis H. Latimer.