TIFF and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announce a new partnership to support science on screen

media release

May 1, 2023

TIFF and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announce a new partnership to support science on screen

TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival® is delighted to announce a new partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in support of science on screen. The new programme, Breakthroughs: The Sloan Science on Screen Programme, puts science in the spotlight and equips screen creators with industry connections and creative support at TIFF to further their science- and/or technology-focused projects. The Breakthroughs: The Sloan Science on Screen Programme will run at TIFF from 2023 to 2024, funded by a generous gift from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. This new initiative will comprise three areas of focus: the Sloan Science & Technology Project Pitch, the Sloan Science & Technology Writer Fellowship, and the Sloan Science on Film Showcase. Applications for the Sloan Science & Technology Project Pitch are now open. For more information, please visit Breakthroughs: The Sloan Science on Screen Programme.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Sloan Foundation on this exciting new programme,” said Anita Lee, TIFF Chief Programming Officer. “The intersections of art, science and technology have never been more relevant as artists and scientists seek to understand, invent and reflect the world around us.”

The three areas of focus for the Breakthroughs: The Sloan Science on Screen Programme are:
  • Sloan Science & Technology Project Pitch: The Sloan Science and Technology Project Pitch will provide four Canadian and international creators the opportunity to pitch their science- and/or technology-related film or episodic project at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival. Participants will deliver a maximum 15-minute presentation in front of a live audience of industry experts and decision makers. Each creator selected for the non-competitive pitch event will be awarded $15,000 CAD to develop their project. Applications open May 1, 2023, and close June 12, 2023.
  • Sloan Science & Technology Writer Fellowship: The Sloan Science and Technology Writer Fellowship offers a project development grant ($35,000 CAD) and creative support ― including participation in TIFF Writers’ Studio in March ― for one early- to mid-career screenwriter whose feature film or episodic project explores science and technology. Applications will open in Fall 2023.
  • Sloan Science on Film Showcase: The Sloan Science on Film Showcase will spotlight two science-forward feature films per year: one Official Selection title at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, and one year-round programming title at TIFF Bell Lightbox. One screening of each film will include a discussion between a member of the film team and a scientific expert. More information will be available in the coming months.
"We're delighted to make this inaugural grant to the Toronto International Film Festival and to extend our pioneering nationwide film program to an international audience," said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Sloan Foundation. "For over two decades, we have developed a rich pipeline for talented filmmakers and TIFF will give them an unparalleled opportunity to present their work in progress to industry experts and decision makers. We also look forward to showcasing two outstanding films a year and one exceptional screenwriter working on a script with a science and technology theme and/or character."

TIFF and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation believe that film has the power to transform the way we see the world. Through this partnership, the aim is to deliver a science-focused film programme that reaches creators and the public alike. With this programme, TIFF and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation will support and inspire the next generation of creators to tackle science and technology themes, and promote greater understanding and appreciation of these topics among movie-lovers.

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About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization with a mission to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival®in September; TIFF Lightbox, which features five cinemas, learning and entertainment facilities; and the innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel, and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation:
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is a New York based, philanthropic, not-for-profit institution that makes grants in three areas: research in science, technology and economics; quality and diversity of scientific institutions; and public engagement with science. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.

Sloan’s Film Program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination. Over the past two decades, Sloan has partnered with a dozen leading film schools and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, SFFILM, Film Independent, The Black List, the Athena Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. The Sloan Film Program has supported over 750 film projects and has helped develop over 30 feature films, including Tesla, Radium Girls, Adventures of a Mathematician, One Man Dies a Million Times, The Sound of Silence, To Dust, Operator, The Imitation Game and The Man Who Knew Infinity. The Foundation has supported feature documentaries such as Werner Herzog’s Theater of Thought, Laura Bialis’ Vishniac, David France’s How to Survive a Pandemic, Picture a Scientist, Coded Bias, In Silico, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, The Bit Player, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Particle Fever and Jacques Perrin’s Oceans. It has also given early award recognition to stand out films such as Blackberry, The Pod Generation, Don’t Look Up, After Yang, Linoleum, Son of Monarchs, Ammonite, The Aeronauts, Searching, The Martian, First Man and Hidden Figures.

The Foundation’s book program includes early support for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, the best-selling book that became the highest grossing Oscar-nominated film of 2017, and Kai Bird & Martin Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning American Prometheus, adapted for the screen and directed by Christopher Nolan currently scheduled for release in July 2023.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, visit sloan.org or follow the Foundation on Twitter and Facebook at @SloanPublic.

TIFF is generously supported by Major Sponsors RBC and Visa and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto.

TIFF Industry Programming is generously supported by Major Supporters Ontario Creates and Telefilm Canada.

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