A number of documentary projects have secured funding from the Science Sandbox Non-fiction Initiative, a grant program delivered by the Sundance Institute and Science Sandbox, part of the Simons Foundation.
The program, now in its second year, has expanded to fund the production of nine projects, up from five in its inaugural year.
Working at the intersection of science and non-fiction storytelling, the cohort of selected projects will receive non-recoupable grants and access to Sundance Institute’s year round continuum of support, which aims to help address creative, financial and production issues.
Grantees will also have the opportunity to connect with Sundance’s network of alumni and creative advisors, as well as Science Sandbox’s roster of scientists.
Projects to land funding include: Edge of Time, directed by Stephanie Spray, an ethnographic sci-fi intertwining Jorge Luis Borges’ meditations on immortality with scientists’ reflections on oceanography, time, and extinction; The Eyes to See, directed by Ian Cheney and Sharon Shattuck, which chronicles the groundswell of researchers writing a new chapter for women scientists; Fathom, directed by Drew Xanthopoulos, about the world’s most immersed whale researchers; The Last Kidney Donor, in which director Penny Lane’s decision to donate her kidney to a stranger leads into an exploration of organ transplantation; Missing Microbes, directed by Steven Lawrence and Sarah Schenck, which follows two globetrotting scientists grappling with disappearing microbes, while four patients with life-threatening diseases triggered by the loss fight for their lives.
Raising Khan (pictured), directed by Trevor Frost and Melissa Lesh, in which Afghanistan vet Harry Turner overcomes PTSD and severe depression while raising orphaned wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon with conservationist and scientist Samantha Zwicker; Red Heaven, directed by Lauren DeFilippo and Katherine Gorringe, about six people living in a NASA simulation of the first human habitat on Mars for a year; Untitled Black Hole Film, directed by Peter Galison, which follows a team of theorists – including Stephen Hawking – as they seek to resolve the greatest paradox in physics; Users, directed by Natalia Alamda, a visual essay documentary about the unintended and often dehumanizing consequences of society’s embedded belief that technological progress will lead to the betterment of humanity.