The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has been a founding and signature sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival since 2002. Sloan’s partnership with Tribeca forms part of a national program to stimulate the creation of realistic and compelling stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists, engineers and mathematicians in the popular imagination. In addition to showcasing the intersection of science and film at the festival, the Foundation supports the development, production and distribution of narrative features that dramatize science and technology stories through the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund.
The Sloan Retrospective Screening at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival featured Good Will Hunting as a tribute to the late Robin Williams and as a celebration of a seminal, award-winning film about mathematics. Will Hunting (Academy Award-winner Matt Damon) is a math genius working at MIT as a janitor. After another run-in with the law, Will is taken under the wing of a psychology professor (Academy Award-winner Robin Williams). Good Will Hunting was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, and won two: Best Supporting Actor for Robin Williams and Best Original Screenplay for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
The accompanying panel featured director Gus Van Sant, actors Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgard, scientist Paul Browde, and World Science Festival co-founder Brian Greene, and was moderated by Faith Salie of Science Goes to the Movies. The panel discussed the making of and contemporary relevance of both mathematics and science in the film including research on eidetic memory and the algebraic graph theory. Following was a cocktail reception at Avenue, which also recognized and celebrated the 2015 Sloan Filmmaker Fund grantees.
In addition to financial and year-round ancillary support, TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grant recipients will receive exposure to industry executives, financiers and producers during the Tribeca Film Festival at the invitation-only Sloan Works-In-Progress showcase, a presentation of the grant-winning projects. The projects in development will have scenes performed by an esteemed cast.