The Sundance Institute and Sandbox Films has revealed the filmmakers and projects that will receive support from the Sandbox Fund, which has the goal of elevating and assisting independent filmmakers working in the science documentary field.
Eight projects and 12 filmmakers make up the new cohort. The projects will be provided with unrestricted and non-recoupable grants totaling US$255,000. The filmmakers will also receive tailored project support and year-round support from the Sundance Institute, including opportunities to connect with Sundance’s network of alumni and creative advisors as well as Sandbox Films’s roster of scientists.
The 2021 Sandbox Fund grantees in the development category are Give Love Create (Hungary), directed by Márton Vizkelety and Zoltán Moll, about a researcher on the brink of a breakthrough that could revolutionize treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; How Free People Think (pictured, U.S.A.), directed by Lacey Schwartz Delgado and Mehret Mandefro, which explores the role science could play in solving racism in America; A Life Illuminated (U.S.A.), directed by Tasha Van Zandt, about a marine biologist who uses light to communicate with deep-sea creatures; and Untitled Deep Sea Taxonomy Documentary (UK), directed by Eleanor Mortimer, which follows biologists discovering deep-sea species and examining the ecosystems of the planet’s largest biome.
In the production category are Herbaria (Argentina, Germany), directed by Leandro Listorti, an exploration of botanical archives, their processes and their artistic and political derivations as they relate to diverse fields like film preservation and ecology; Science Fiction (Spain, U.S.A.), directed by Francisco Forbes, Ferran Romeu and Matthew Barton, about an aging inventor chasing his lifelong dream of building a zero-emission aircraft; Space is a Monstrous Animal (Costa Rica), directed by Natalia Solórzano Vásquez, about a man training to be part of the first all-Latin American space mission; and Untitled Dwarfism Project (U.S.A.), directed by Julie Forrest Wyman, which explores the possible ramifications of a new drug that promises to make people with dwarfism taller.
“We are thrilled to support these exciting voices in storytelling as they show how art and science converge over overlapping goals to reveal the world around us in beautiful, complex and challenging ways. These diverse projects are playing with form to engage our curiosity and create meaning,” said Hajnal Molnar-Szakacs, director of the Sundance Institute’s granting program, in a release.
Added Jessica Harrop, head of production and development at Sandbox Films: “Science storytelling does not have to be didactic or by the book. We are consistently excited by the creative and unique storytelling techniques that are being used by these artists from around the world to tell stories about science.”