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HIFF And Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Celebrate Ten Years

Originally Posted: October 05, 2009

East Hampton - For the 10th consecutive year, the $25,000 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize is presented as part of the Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF). The cash prize is awarded to a feature-length narrative film that explores science and technology themes in fresh, innovative ways, and depicts scientists and engineers in a realistic and compelling fashion.

HIFF was the first film festival to partner with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and this prestigious prize has been an annual highlight of the festival, having been presented in the past to films such as "Kinsey" (2004), "The Fountain" (2006), "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (2007) and last year's "Flash of Genius." In looking back at 10 year's of films that have received the Sloan Foundation Award, there are so many films and filmmakers whose work HIFF's is honored to have celebrated. Alejandro Amenabar's "Agora" is such a great addition to this impressive body of work.

HIFF and The Sloan Foundation are proud to present this year's Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize to Alejandro Amenabar's historical drama "Agora," starring Rachel Weisz, which chronicles the life of philosopher and scientist Hypatia of Alexandra. The prize will be awarded on Friday, October 9 at a special event celebrating the 10-year partnership between The Sloan Foundation and HIFF - The Sloan Science In Film Tribute.

"We are delighted to partner with The Hamptons International Film Festival for the 10th consecutive year and to present this year's Sloan Feature Film Prize to Alejandro Amenabar's epic, "Agpra," said Doron Weber, Vice President at the Sloan Foundation. "Rachel Weisz's fierce and moving portrayal of the great fifth century female astronomer and mathematician Hypatia of Alexandria and her passionate, uncompromising quest for a rational, scientific understanding of the universe set against the religious turmoil of Roman Egypt, reminds us why science and technology cut to the heart of the human enterprise and make for high-stakes cinematic drama."

The event will take place at Guild Hall and will be hosted by Bob Balaban. This special evening will be a celebration of the feature films that have received Sloan recognition at the HIFF over the past 10 years.

The on-stage event will include a number of special guests, including Alan Alda, Amy Redford and past Sloan Prize Winners Marc Abraham ("Flash of Genius"), Su Rynard ("Kardia"), Maggie Greenwald ("Songcatcher"), and Ryan Eslinger ("Madness and Genius").

Awards Ceremony
The Sloan Science in Film Tribute will also be an opportunity to announce two special production awards for science and technology scripts. This year's grant recipients will be unveiled at the event. Other awards that will be presented at the Tribute include the Sloan Feature Film Prize, which will be presented to "Agora," and the Hollywood Reporter Nielsen Industry Impact Award, which honors the impact that an individual or organization has had on the independent film community.

Annual Sloan Screenplay Reading At HIFF
In addition to the Sloan Science in Film Tribute, HIFF will present two science and technology-themed screenplays from the 2009 HIFF Screenwriters' lab to be performed as staged readings at the festival. This year's featured screenplays are "The Transformation," by Kirk Davis and Sam Sloves and "Charm School For Primates," by Karen Odyniec. "The Transformation" is based on the true story of Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, the innovative Hungarian physician who makes a radical discovery of the cause and cure of Childbed Fever, a disease killing thousands of poor pregnant women in the hospitals of 19th Century Europe. In "Charm School For Primates," a lovelorn primatologist with acute social anxiety must present her ape research to a board of executives and defeat brilliant scientists in order to win a coveted grant.

Actors Chris Bauer ("Trud Blood," "The Wire"), Ross Partridge ("Baghead"), John Ventimiglia ("The Sopranos"), among others, will attend the festival to participate in the reading, which will take place on Sunday, October 11 at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in East Hampton.

The New York based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology, economics and the quality of American life. Sloan's program in public understanding of science and technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and the Internet to reach a wide, non-specialized audience. Over the past 10 years, Sloan 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. In addition to Sloan Screenplay Development Programs that have initiated such film projects as "Face Value," the Hedy Lamarr story, slated for shooting in January, the Foundation has sponsored screenwriting and film production workshops at Sundance, the Hamptons, the Tribeca Filmmaker Fund, and Film Independent and honored new recent feature films such as "Adam" and "Sleep Dealer." Sloan is also a longtime supporter of new science plays at the Ensemble Studio Theater and Manhattan Theater Club, of the John Adams' opera "Doctor Atomic" and of the World Science Festival.

For more information go to www.sloan.org.

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