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HOUSE OF SAND Wins Alfred P. Sloan Prize At 2006 Sundance Film FestivalFilm also a recipient of the 2002 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award
The 2006 Sundance Film Festival is pleased to announce that THE HOUSE OF SAND, directed by Andrucha Waddington and written by Elena Soarez, is the recipient of this years Alfred P. Sloan Prize. The Prize, which carries a $20,000 cash award to the writer/director provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, is presented to the outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character. The Prize was presented at the Sundance Film Festival Awards Ceremony on Saturday, January 28.
THE HOUSE OF SAND is the story of a woman across three generations. In the remote dunes of Brazil, Maria spends her life while an entire century passes by her, her house, and sand. The film, which screened in this years World Cinema Dramatic Competition section, was recognized for its ?poetic meditation on the physics of time and the biology of human variation in a story of an isolated family's search for meaning against the backdrop of a half-century's scientific and technological evolution.
THE HOUSE OF SAND was also a recipient of the 2002 Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award which supports independent directors with a $10,000 grant and a guarantee from NHK, Japans largest broadcaster, to purchase the Japanese television broadcast rights.
The Alfred P. Sloan Prize is a major component of the Sundance Science-in-Film Initiative, which is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Now in its fourth year, the Initiative supports the development and exhibition of new independent film projects that explore science and technology themes or that depict scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging and innovative ways. In addition to the Prize, the Initiative presents a panel discussion at the Festival that brings together scientists and filmmakers to explore compelling, contemporary issues regarding science in film; and, in the Sundance Feature Film Program, the Initiative supports the Sloan Commissioning Fund, which provides resources for Initiative projects early in the development phase; and the Sloan Fellowship, which develops eligible projects at the Sundance Feature Film Labs towards production. This Initiative blends the Sloan Foundations goal of enhancing public understanding of science and technology with Sundance Institutes mission to foster independent voices and compelling storytelling in film.
The winning film was selected by a committee of film and science professionals based on the quality of the films presentation of science and technology themes and/or characters. This years Alfred P. Sloan selection committee includes: John Underkoffler, MIT Media Lab alumnus and science consultant on MINORITY REPORT, THE HULK, and AEON FLUX; Greg Harrison, director of GROOVE (Sundance 2000), NOVEMBER (Sundance 2004), and the upcoming RADIOACTIVE BOYSCOUT; Lynn Hershman Leeson, director of CONCEIVING AVA and TECHNOLUST, both of which have screened at previous Sundance Film Festivals; Dr. Martha Farah, Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania; and Dr. Antonio Damasio, M.W. Van Allen Professor and head of Neurology, University of Iowa.
This effort forms part of a broader national program by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to stimulate leading artists in film, television, and theater; to create more realistic and compelling stories about science and technology; and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in the popular imagination. Over the past seven years, the Foundation has partnered with six of the top film schools in the country AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, and USC and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production and an annual first-feature award for alumni. The Foundation has also started an annual Sloan Feature Film Prize at the Hamptons International Film Festival and initiated new screenwriting workshops at the Hamptons and TriBeca Film Festival. And it continues to work with leading writer-producers and major studios to create more films, TV shows and TV movies featuring scientists, mathematicians and engineers.
The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology, and economic performance. The Foundations program in public understanding of science, directed by Program Director Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, and theatre, including not only Proof, Copenhagen, and Alan Aldas QED, but dozens of new plays from the Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Manhattan Theater Club, including the Broadway-bound play, The Secret Order.
The 2006 Sundance Film Festival sponsors help sustain Sundance Institute's year-round programs to support independent artists, inspire risk-taking and encourage diversity in the arts. This year's Festival community includes: Presenting?Hewlett-Packard Company, Entertainment Weekly, Volkswagen of America, Inc., and Adobe Systems Incorporated; Leadership Sponsors?American Express, Delta Air Lines, DirecTV, Intel Corporation and Sprint; Sustaining Sponsors?Aquafina, Blockbuster Inc., CESAR Food For Small Dogs, LOreal Paris, Moviefone, The New York Times, Sony Electronics Inc., Starbucks Coffee Company, Stella Artois®, Turning Leaf Vineyards, and the Utah Film Commission.
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is the premier showcase for American and international independent film. Held each January in and around Park City, Utah, the Festival is a core program of Sundance Institute, a nonprofit cultural organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981.
Presenting 120 dramatic and documentary feature-length films in nine distinct categories, and 80 short films each year, the Sundance Film Festival has introduced American audiences to some of the most innovative films of the past two decades, including sex, lies, and videotape, Clerks, Smoke Signals, In the Bedroom, American Splendor, Napoleon Dynamite, Born into Brothels, and Me and You and Everyone We Know. Beyond the streets of Park City, the official Website of the Sundance Film Festival, www.sundance.org, shares the Festival experience with a global audience through the streaming of short films and filmmaker interviews, combined with current news and box office information.
Dedicated year-round to the development of artists of independent vision and to the exhibition of their new work, Sundance Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2006. Since its inception, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for thousands of independent artists through its Sundance Film Festival and artistic development programs which provide a range of concentrated creative and financial support for fiction and nonfiction filmmakers, screenwriters, documentary film editors, composers, playwrights and theatre artists. The original values of independence, creative diversity, and discovery continue to define and guide the work of Sundance Institute, both with artists in the U.S. and, increasingly, with artists from other regions of the world.
For more information visit http://institute.sundance.org.
Gregg Schwenk is a writer, educator, and entrepreneur. He reports on a number of various subjects including: film, art, technology and politics. Mr. Schwenk is an adjunct professor at CSUF's Center for Entertainment and Tourism located in Orange County, California. He is also a consultant and advisor to several entertainment and technology firms. In 2005, Mr. Schwenk was appointed by the US Secretary of Commerce, to the District Export Council. He has a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and completed the Advanced Management Program at USC.
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