Sundance Institute, Sandbox Films Set Sandbox Fund Beneficiaries – Deadline


EXCLUSIVE: The Sundance Institute and sandbox movies announced the 10 projects and production teams selected as the latest recipients of Sundance Institute scholarships | Sandbox backgrounds.

The fund offers grants to projects at stages from development to post-production, as well as engagement events and other opportunities for independent artists seeking to explore the intrinsic connection between science and culture through innovative non-fiction storytelling. The 10 selected project teams will receive non-recoverable grants totaling $300,000, also claiming tailored film support and joining the Sundance Institute artist community throughout the year, with opportunities to connect with the network. Sundance alumni and creative advisors, as well as Sandbox’s roster of renowned Science Films.

“Since its inception five years ago, the Sundance Institute | The Sandbox Fund has significantly enriched the documentary film program by allowing our team to extend its support to artists who push the boundaries of documentary form by exploring unique connections between art and science,” said Paola Mottura, who is director of documentary film at the Sundance Institute. Funds. “Our grantees have inspired new audiences to reinvent the definition of ‘science film’ by challenging common misconceptions about the scientific process, who does science and what it means to be a scientist. Our latest cohort of recipients is no exception when it comes to brilliance and ambition. »

“We continue to be so impressed with the quality and diversity of projects applying to this fund,” added Sandbox Films Head of Production and Development Jessica Harrop. “Partnering with the talented team at Sundance has helped us connect and support artists who have unique ways of exploring the artistry and beauty that can come from non-traditional science storytelling.”

Past projects supported by Sandbox Fund grants include All the light, everywherewhich won the 2021 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Nonfiction Experimentation; Herbariawhich premiered at Visions du Réel 2022; Users, which also premiered at Sundance 2021; and Wild catwhich was acquired last year by Amazon Studios and more recently premiered in Telluride.

Below is information on the latest set of Sandbox grantees, broken down by production stage.


Climate in therapy (Sweden, Norway)
Directors: Nathan Grossman, Olof Berglind
Producer: Cecilia Nessen

Climate in therapy is a feature-length documentary that follows seven climatologists confronting a hitherto unknown field of study: their own emotions.

Aware (UK)
Director: Suki Chan
Producers: Aimara Reques, Teresa Grimes, Suki Chan

Aware is a hopeful and cinematic experience, bringing us closer to understanding the strength and fragility of the human spirit. Using compelling visuals, textured sound, and captivating stories, the film takes audiences on an immersive and illuminating journey into other minds. What can a neuroscientist and three people with dementia tell us about consciousness in the technological age?

My mother, the scientist (USA, Tanzania)
Director: Thomas Allen Harris
Producers: Thomas Allen Harris, Don Perry

Faced with unprecedented global threats from new viruses and geopolitical competitors, America is in crisis as it wrestles with the question of why, after 30 years of effort, there are still too few black scientists. and BIPOC in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields to help ensure its future competitiveness.

Director: Marilyn Ness
Producer: Beth Levison

Autopsy is both a personal memoir, a true crime and a cultural interrogation. Filming the behind-the-scenes experience of staging the Autopsy play, we expose another layer: the true story beneath the art and how rigorous artistic creation can reveal deeper collective truths.

second nature (USA, Netherlands, Congo, Uganda)
Director: Drew Denny
Producer: Jennifer Steinman-Sternin

Did you know that clownfish change sex, penguins form same-sex pairs, and bonobos (our closest relatives) are matriarchal? Debunking myths that women are “inferior” and being queer is somehow “unnatural”, second nature follows LGBTQ scientists who prove that nature is far more diverse than we’ve been taught.

Untitled animal project (UNITED STATES)
Director: Jessica Kingon
Producers: Jamie Gonçalves, Nathan Truesdell

Untitled animal project explores contemporary global supply chains through the prism of animal experience. Across multiple locations around the world, the film weaves together the ways food industries affect various species – with a focus on exploring the elusive idea of ​​animal sentience.

Untitled Thwaites Movie (Antarctica, USA)
Director: Emelie Mahdavian
Producers: John D. Sutter, Emelie Mahdavian

How do you watch the climate crisis unfold without losing hope? Untitled Thwaites Movie tells the story of the final journey of a small female-led research team to a vulnerable Antarctic ice cap.


The kingdom (Mexico)
Director: Otilia Portillo Padua
Producers: Paula Arroio, Otilia Portillo, Elena Fortes

Three Mexican women, all scientists and indigenous activists, join forces with mushrooms to fight for their lands and cultures. The kingdom combines documentary and science fiction to explore the perspectives of humans and their most powerful allies: fungi.


Brigidy Bram: The Kendal Hanna Story (Bahamas, USA)
Directors: Laura Gamse, Kareem Mortimer
Producers: Kareem Mortimer, Laura Gamse

In this intimate portrait blending fact and fiction, the true story of prolific painter Kendal Hanna reveals a case study in how we codify genius.

fire of love (US, Canada)
Director: Sara Dosa
Producers: Shane Boris, Ina Fichman, Sara Dosa

fire of love is an unexpected love story between two intrepid scientists – Katia and Maurice Krafft – who die in a volcanic explosion while doing what brought them together: seeking to understand the mystery of volcanoes by capturing the most explosive images ever recorded. Poetic in style and playful in spirit, fire of love uses the spectacular Krafft archives to trace a story of creation and destruction, of nature and humanity, and of Maurice and Katia’s love – both for each other and for the planet. Screened at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival where it received the Jonathan Oppenheim Editing Award: US Documentary


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