Coolidge Corner expanding Science On Screen series nationwide

The Coolidge Corner Theatre
Image by Dr. RawheaD via Flickr

Brookline, Massachusetts, January 24, 2011 – The Coolidge Corner Theatre, in partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, today announced a national initiative to expand the Coolidge’s Science on Screen series, an innovative program that educates about science while entertaining through movies. With the support of a $150,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation, the Coolidge Corner Theatre and Sloan will award a series of grants to select independent art house theaters around the country to bring Science on Screen to their communities.

Now in its seventh season, Science on Screen creatively pairs screenings of feature films and documentaries with lively presentations by notable experts in science and technology.  Each film serves as a jumping off point for the speaker to share insights from scientific research or discuss technological advances in a way that engages popular-culture audiences.  Programs such as Night of the Living Dead with Steven Schlozman, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Fight Club with biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham, and The Day the Earth Stood Still with roboticist Dennis Hong have enlightened audiences about zombie neurobiology, the origins of male violence, and groundbreaking advances in humanoid robots.

The Sloan Foundation’s support of Science on Screen is part of the Foundation’s broader commitment to fostering greater public understanding of science and technology through the medium of film.  “Over the past decade, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has made enormous contributions to the film community and the public by partnering with major film schools and film festivals to promote a deeper, richer connection to the many different ways that science and technology affect our lives,” said Denise Kasell, executive director of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation.  “We’re thrilled to be working with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to expand their science in film program by bringing Science on Screen to a national network of independent theaters.”

“We are delighted to partner with the Coolidge Corner Theatre and bring its pioneering Science on Screen program to theaters nationwide,” said Doron Weber, vice president of programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “This is a wonderful opportunity for art house theaters to pair great films with great speakers and show how science and technology can open up the conversation and expand our notion of entertainment, fun, and enlightenment.”

The Coolidge Corner Theatre launched Science on Screen in 2005 with cognitive scientist Steven Pinker introducing the 3-D version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder with a talk on the mental representation of 3-D space.  Alfred Hitchcock and science?  “Instead of just searching for the closest match in terms of subject matter, which too often means that you’re merely illustrating information already given in a formulaic way, we wanted to surprise people and also attract a diverse audience of sciencephiles, film buffs, and those who are just plain curious about new ideas,” said Elizabeth Taylor Mead, associate director of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation and curator of Science on Screen.

All U.S.-based non-profit art house cinemas that have participated in the Art House Convergence are eligible to apply for a Science on Screen grant.  Presented in cooperation with the Sundance Institute, the Art House Convergence is an annual gathering of professionals from independent theaters across North America.  This year’s Convergence took place in Midway, Utah from January 17-20, where representatives from the Coolidge Corner Theatre and Sloan Foundation introduced the national Science on Screen initiative.

Grant applications and a complete information packet on Science on Screen may be downloaded at www.coolidge.org/sloan.  Grant applications are due April 1, 2011, and recipients will be notified by June 1, 2011.  For more information about the Coolidge’s Science on Screen series, co-presented by the Museum of Science, Boston, visit www.coolidge.org/science.

About the Coolidge Corner Theatre

The Coolidge Corner Theatre is one of the nation’s most prominent independently operated movie theatres, run by the not-for-profit Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation.  A beloved movie house the Coolidge has been pleasing audiences with the best in cinematic entertainment since 1933.  In addition to contemporary art house and independent film, the Coolidge presents the prestigious annual Coolidge Award; Science on Screen; high-definition broadcasts of live opera, ballet, and theater performances; Big Screen Classics; midnight screenings of cult films; kids’ programs; and sneak previews and discussion of upcoming films as part of Talk Cinema.  The Coolidge has won numerous awards and honors for its creative programming.  For more information, visit www.coolidge.org.

About the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

The New York-based Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, founded in 1934, makes grants in science, technology and economic performance. The Foundation’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater, and Internet to reach a wide, non-specialized audience.

Sloan’s film program encourages filmmakers to create more realistic and accurate stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes about scientists and engineers in the popular imagination.  Over the past ten years, Sloan has partnered with six of the top film schools in the country – American Film Institute, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA and USC – and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production.  The Foundation has also sponsored screenwriting and film production workshops at the Hamptons International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and Film Independent’s Producer’s Lab.  Sloan Feature Film Prizes in Science and Technology, awarded at the Hamptons International and Sundance film festivals, have gone to some of the nation’s leading filmmakers while helping to launch the careers of promising newcomers.

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