Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grants Awarded; Marja Bål Nango Wins Merata Mita Fellowship – Sundance Briefs

Patrick Hipes
·2 min read

The Sundance Institute and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation on Friday unveiled recipients of their 2021 grants and bestowed the annual Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize to Son of Monarchs, Alexis Gambis’ feature that is making its international debut in the NEXT section at the Sundance Film Festival.

This year’s honorees also include Pharmacopeia‘s Tania Taiwo (Sundance Institute | Sloan Commissioning Grant), Chariot‘s Alyssa Loh (Sundance Institute | Sloan Development Fellowship), and Jennifer Lee and Graham Sack for The Harvard Computers (Sundance Institute | Sloan Episodic Fellowship).

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Son of Monarchs will receive a $20,000 check for the honor, part of the annual Sloan program to encourage 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.

The grant awards this year total $70,000 as part of the Sundance Institute Science-in-Film Initiative, which is made possible by a grant from the foundation.

“The world has been uniquely preoccupied with science for the last year, and it’s clearer than ever that it has crucial implications for our culture,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of Sundance Institute. “The Sloan Foundation has always recognized that artfully-told stories about science, technology and human engagement have the power to advance our understanding and imaginations.”

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Marja Bål Nango (Sámi) has been chosen to receive this year’s Merata Mita Fellowship, named in honor of the late Māori filmmaker Merata Mita (1942-2010). The news what unveiled Friday by N. Bird Runningwater, director of the Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion work, during the fest’s Native Forum Celebration.

Nango, selected from a global pool of applicants, wrote, directed and produced the short film Hilbes biigá, which has screened at nearly 30 film festivals, and her latest film The Tongues. She and co-writer Ingir Bål are now developing the feature film I Love My Reindeerherder.

With the fellowship, she will be given cash grants, yearlong support and mentorship opportunities with access to strategic and creative services offered by the Institute’s artist programs.

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