film independent immersive storytelling

Film Independent Returns To Produce 2017 Sloan Film Summit: Immersive VR Storytelling, Technology And Entertainment

Over 100 Award-Winning Filmmakers from the Sloan Foundation’s Nationwide Film Program Gather for Three-Day Celebration Featuring: Keynote from Lydia Dean Pilcher, screenings of Marjorie Prime and Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, Immersive VR Storytellers Chris Milk and Alex McDowell in Conversation.

Film Independent announced today that it is returning for the second time to produce the Sloan Film Summit taking place October 27 through October 29 at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. The 2017 Summit will celebrate the thriving nationwide Sloan Film Program, bringing together over 120 screenwriters, directors and producers, as well as working scientists and representatives from leading film schools and film organizations, who work to bridge the gap between science, technology and popular culture.

The Sloan Film Summit, launched in 1999 and produced every three years, forms part of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Film Program under its broader effort in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology. This year’s event will highlight the program’s increasing success in bringing stories of pioneering women in science to the screen, recent support for television writing, screenings of the Sloan-awarded Marjorie Prime and the Sloan-supported Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story and new forays in emerging technologies such as VR. Academy Award-nominated producer Lydia Dean Pilcher will give the keynote address; the summit will also host a conversation between renowned music video director, immersive storyteller and virtual reality pioneer Chris Milk and award-winning designer, academic and experiential media creator Alex McDowell.

“We’re delighted to partner with Film Independent in hosting this triennial summit celebrating the Sloan Foundation’s pioneering Film Program, which has developed a nonprofit movie studio for science to support the most innovative filmmakers and original new work that engages science and technology themes and characters for a general audience,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Sloan’s development pipeline of six film schools, three film festivals and five screenplay development partners has resulted in 20 completed feature films released theatrically and a new generation of filmmakers, including two of this year’s 17 Student Academy Award winners and one finalist. The Foundation has long championed work about women scientists including this year’s Oscar-nominated hit, Hidden Figures, and new projects about Hedy Lamarr, Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie and Jane Goodall and we look forward to showcasing great stories about women in science at this year’s summit.”

“Film Independent is thrilled to again produce the Sloan Film Summit, a remarkable gathering of filmmakers, film organizations and the scientific community,” said Josh Welsh, Film Independent President. “The Sloan Foundation’s commitment to supporting filmmakers whose work deals with science and technology is so impactful, both for the filmmakers and for the culture at large.”

The Sloan Film Summit will kick off on Friday, October 27 at 8:00 pm with a public screening of Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime, which was awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. The screening will be followed by a conversation with the film’s creative team, who will be joined by esteemed scientists to explore the timely issues raised by the film, most notably the increasing presence of AI in the world and in our most intimate relationships.

On Saturday, October 28 the Summit will continue with a full day of private panels, workshops and networking sessions with industry professionals for all the Sloan supported filmmakers and organizations. Renowned music video director, immersive storyteller and virtual reality pioneer Chris Milk will participate in a conversation with Alex McDowell, creative director of Experimental Design Studios and director of the World Building Institute, on the future of immersive storytelling as new VR and AR technologies emerge. The day will conclude with a 7:30 pm public screening of Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, followed by a “Women in Science” panel with guest speakers including NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory systems engineer Tracy Drain and Professor Danijela Cabric from the Electrical Engineering Department at UCLA.

Sunday, October 29 features a public showcase of Sloan-winning short films, staged screenplay readings, and a sneak peek of upcoming features supported by the Foundation, including Lydia Dean Pilcher and Ginny Mohler’s Radium Girls, Shawn Snyder’s To Dust and Ben Lewin’s The Catcher Was a Spy. Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning producer Lydia Dean Pilcher will present a Keynote sharing her vision for cultural strategies and making movies with impact, including character-driven, science-themed movies, followed by a roundtable conversation on integrating science and technology into television with series creators.

Additionally, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Film Independent are debuting a video produced by Intrinsic Value Films, celebrating the triennial Sloan Film Summit and offering an inspiring look at the impact science has had on cinematic endeavors featuring commentary from Neil deGrasse Tyson, Geena Davis, Emily Mortimer, Lydia Dean Pilcher, Ginny Mohler, Michael Mitnick and others. A link to full video is here:

A limited number of seats to select events will be available to the public on a first come first served basis with priority access to Film Independent Members. RSVP information will be available at

About Film Independent

Film Independent is the non-profit arts organization that champions creative independence in visual storytelling and supports a community of artists who embody diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision. Film Independent helps filmmakers make their movies, builds an audience for their projects and works to diversify the film industry. Film Independent’s Board of Directors, filmmakers, staff and constituents, is comprised of an inclusive community of individuals across ability, age, ethnicity, gender, race and sexual orientation. Anyone passionate about film can become a Member, whether you are a filmmaker, industry professional or a film lover.

Film Independent produces the Spirit Awards, the annual celebration honoring artist-driven films and recognizing the finest achievements of American independent filmmakers. Film Independent also produces the LA Film Festival, showcasing the best of American and international cinema and the Film Independent at LACMA Film Series, a year-round, weekly program that offers unique cinematic experiences for the Los Angeles creative community and the general public.

With over 250 annual screenings and events, Film Independent provides access to a network of like-minded artists who are driving creativity in the film industry. Film Independent’s Artist Development program offers free Labs for selected writers, directors, producers and documentary filmmakers and presents year-round networking opportunities. Project Involve is Film Independent’s signature program dedicated to fostering the careers of talented filmmakers from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film industry. For more information or to become a Member, visit

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, is a non-profit philanthropy that makes grants for original research and education in science, technology, and economic performance.

About Sloan’s Public Understanding Program

Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science, Technology & Economics, 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 some of the top film schools in the country – including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC – and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production, along with an annual best-of-the best Student Grand Jury Prize administered by the Tribeca Film Institute. The Foundation also supports screenplay development programs with the Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, the San Francisco Film Society, the Black List, and Film Independent’s Producing Lab and Fast Track program and has helped develop such film projects as Lydia Pilcher and Ginny Mohler’s upcoming Radium Girls, Ben Lewin’s upcoming The Catcher Was a Spy, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, Mathew Brown’s The Man Who Knew Infinity, Michael Almereyda’s Experimenter, Rob Meyer’s A Birder’s Guide to Everything, Musa Syeed’s Valley of Saints, and Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess.

The Foundation also has an active theater program and commissions about twenty science plays each year from the Ensemble Studio Theater and Manhattan Theatre Club, as well as supporting select productions across the country and abroad. Recent grants have supported Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes, currently at the National Theatre in London, Leigh Fondakowski’s Spill, Nick Payne’s Incognito, Frank Basloe’s Please Continue, Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Informed Consent, Lucas Hnath’s Isaac’s Eye, and Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51. 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, now the highest grossing Oscar nominated film of 2017 that was also awarded the San Francisco Film Society Sloan Science in Cinema Prize in December 2016.

For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, visit

Contact: Alia Quart Khan, Film Independent,
Emily Torgerson, Film Independent,

For the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation:
Contact: Ben Austin, Ben Austin & Associates,
Gina Salese, Ben Austin & Associates,

SOURCE Film Independent

Author: VR Reporter

I am a hi-tech enthusiast, VR evangelist, and a Co-founder & Chief Director at Virtual Reality Reporter!

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