COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY
WRITER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, DIRECTOR
TO SPEAK AT AFI CONSERVATORY’S
2014 SLOAN SEMINAR ON MAY 2, 2014
April 24, 2014, Los Angeles, CA – The American Film Institute (AFI) Conservatory today announced its 2014 Sloan Seminar guest will be Ann Druyan, writer, executive producer and director of COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY (2014). Druyan will speak to AFI Conservatory Fellows on campus May 2, 2014. The Sloan Seminar is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, whose nationwide film program includes support for six leading film schools which provide screenplay and production awards to students who successfully integrate science and technology themes and characters into narrative films. The Sloan Seminar is held only once a year and considered a singular honor, featuring a select master filmmaker whose work in science and technology has greatly impacted the art form.
Ann Druyan is an American author and producer specializing in programming about cosmology and popular science. Druyan served as Creative Director on NASA’s legendary Voyager Interstellar Message Project. She was co-creator of the 1980 PBS documentary series COSMOS: A PERSONAL VOYAGE, hosted by her late husband Carl Sagan. She is a writer, executive producer and director of the follow-up COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson and airing Sundays (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX and Mondays (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on Nat Geo. Druyan will screen an episode followed by a candid Q&A session with AFI Conservatory Fellows.
The goal of the Sloan program at the AFI Conservatory, now in its second decade, is to encourage the next generation of filmmakers to create more realistic and dramatic stories about science and technology and to challenge existing stereotypes of scientists, engineers and mathematicians. Past participants include Andy Serkis (2013), Leonard Mlodinow (2012), Vince Gilligan (2010), Randy Olson (2009), George Walczak (2008), Chris Paine (2007), Allen MacDonald (previous AFI Sloan Award recipient), Richard Catalani, Cheryl Heuton, Nicolas Falacci (2006) and John Underkoffler (2005).
The AFI Conservatory has hosted a number of leading scientists and professionals within the entertainment industry through the annual Sloan Seminar. At the seminar, a recent film or television show is screened, followed by a discussion with the filmmakers, science advisors or scientists/engineers related to the film/TV show’s topic. The Seminar gives AFI Fellows a chance to interact with leading scientists, engineers and film community professionals. Additionally, the Sloan Seminar is an opportunity to inspire new science/technology ideas for the AFI Fellows to use in their own films.
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. Sloan’s program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, directed by Doron Weber, supports books, radio, film, television, theater and new media 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 decade, the Foundation has partnered with some of the top film schools in the country – including AFI, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, NYU, UCLA, and USC – and established annual awards in screenwriting and film production and an annual best-of-the-best Student Grand Jury Prize. Sloan also supports Screenplay Development Programs at Sundance, the Hamptons International Film Festival, Film Independent and Tribeca Film Festival and has developed several completed feature films such as Future Weather, Valley of Saints, Robot & Frank, A Birder’s Guide to Everything, and Computer Chess. As more finished films emerge from this development pipeline, the Foundation has partnered with the Coolidge Corner Theater and the ArtHouse Convergence to expand Coolidge’s Science on Screen program, pairing feature films with scientists, to 40 theaters nationwide. This program provides a unique distribution platform for Sloan films as one of the three films that the theatres show each year is a film that has received Sloan support.
The Foundation also awards annual Science and Technology Feature Film Prizes and has honored such films as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Grizzly Man, I Origins, Agora, Decoding Annie Parker, and Another Earth. Sloan also partners with Ensemble Studio Theatre and Manhattan Theatre Club in support of new science plays such as Isaac’s Eye about the rivalry between Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke and The Explorers Club, a witty satire about gender bias in science. For more information about the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation please visit sloan.org.
About Cosmos Studios
Carl Sagan, and those privileged to work with him, demonstrated there is a worldwide appetite for compelling entertainment that reflects our deepening understanding of cosmic evolution and our place in its great story. Ann Druyan, with support from entrepreneur Joe Firmage, founded Cosmos Studios in 2000 as a successor to Carl Sagan Productions, the company that produced the original series. Cosmos Studios, based in Ithaca, NY, creates, produces and distributes eye, brain, heart and soul-nourishing science-based entertainment integrated across all media. Most of all, Cosmos Studios aims to touch global audiences with the soaring spiritual high that comes from grasping science’s central revelation – our oneness with the cosmos. In addition to distributing COSMOS: A Personal Voyage and producing COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey, Cosmos Studios has produced three documentaries. Ms. Druyan remains its CEO and Mitchell Cannold, an executive producer of the new series, serves as President.
About the American Film Institute
AFI is America’s promise to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award – the highest honor for a career in film – now in its 42nd year; AFI Awards, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI Fest presented by Audi, AFI Docs and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world renowned AFI Conservatory, recognized for the quality of its instructors and speakers and its notable alumni. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI.