SFFILM in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation are excited to announce the winners of their generous grants that helps develop scientific and technology-oriented filmmaking.

Divided between two separate initiatives, SFFILM and the Sloan Foundation is awarding the grant to five lucky filmmakers to help develop their stories. Read below for the winners!

Per the press release from SFFILM, "SFFILM’s partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation—the nation’s leading philanthropic grantor for science and the arts—culminates in the SFFILM Sloan Science in Cinema Initiative. SFFILM launched the program in 2015 to celebrate and highlight cinema that brings together science and the art of storytelling, showing how these two seemingly disparate areas can combine to enhance the power of one another. The selections are meant to immerse a broad public audience in the challenges and rewards of scientific discovery, as well as to engage members of the scientific community."

Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowships

L to R: Vivienne Shaw, Fradique, Sahand Nikoukar, Katherine Burns, and James S\u00e9amus Bearheart. Photos courtesy of SFFILM and filmmakers.

L to R: Vivienne Shaw, Fradique, Sahand Nikoukar, Katherine Burns, and James Séamus Bearheart. Photos courtesy of SFFILM and filmmakers.


The Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowships supports the development of their narrative feature screenplays and is designed to ensure that narrative feature films that tell compelling stories about the worlds of science and technology continue to be made and seen. The winners are Vivienne Shaw and Fradique.

Vivienne Shaw | Killing Jar

After her mother’s abrupt death, an obsessive insect researcher thrown into a confusing web of family lies and secrets decides to undertake her own forensic entomology investigation to uncover the truth.

Fradique | Hold Time for Me

An Angolan photographer seeks a vanished Cuban biologist in a surreal, environmentally-crisis-ridden world where Luanda drifts away from the mainland.

Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund

The Sloan Stories of Science Development Fund supports the screen adaptations of specific scientific articles and discoveries that have been cataloged in the Sloan Stories of Science Sourcebook.

The winners are Sahand Nikoukar, Katherine Burns, and James Séamus Bearheart.

Sahand Nikoukar | Centaur

What if an AI ran for President—and won? When a band of irreverent tech visionaries launches their AI algorithm as a mock presidential candidate, they inadvertently trigger a nationwide phenomenon. As the AI contender outwits seasoned politicians, exposes hypocrisy, and reveals flaws in the system, this campaign mockumentary examines the future of politics and humanity itself.

Katherine Burns | Henry

Dee Peralta (37) has left Hollywood behind to play the titular role in a stage production of Henry V, searching for a feeling of connection that she has been missing. But when she discovers that the production is being run by a new AI chatbot, she must grapple with what connection really means—and perhaps find it in an unlikely place.

James Séamus Bearheart | Visible

A scientist's remarkable observation of the glass frog's unique behavior is continually dismissed as unimportant by her peers. The scientist must dig deep to believe in herself and show the world how important this discovery is.

“We are proud to partner with SFFILM to support these five talented screenwriters whose original and compelling scripts engage with important issues in science and society while giving eloquent voice to underrepresented characters,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

“These selected writers join a nationwide program that has supported over 800 science and film projects and include award-winning filmmakers from twelve distinguished film schools and six outstanding screenplay development partners.”