Aditya Sood, an Indian American producer’s near-future space film, “The Martian,” starring Matt Damon, is the inaugural recipient of the Sloan Science in Cinema Prize, celebrating the depiction of science in a narrative feature film. The San Francisco Film Society announced the news Dec. 14.
Presented in partnership between the Film Society and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the award kicks off a new initiative celebrating the achievement in rendering the worlds of science and technology through the language of films, according to a press release.
The Film Society and the Sloan Foundation presented the award Dec. 13 at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, at a private event for SFFS members and invited guests from the Bay Area science, technology and education communities.
At the event, Indian American producer of “The Martian” Aditya Sood; Andy Weir, author of the novel on which the film was based; and Christopher McKay, planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, participated in an in-depth discussion of the science behind the story and its journey to the big screen. Moderated by Film Society executive director Noah Cowan, the onstage conversation featured clips from the film and special behind-the-scenes content.
“There is no better film this year to receive the inaugural Sloan Science in Cinema Prize than ‘The Martian,’ which expresses the power and importance of modern science with incredible intelligence, wit and humor,” Cowan said in a press release. “It is a story that is both fantastically imaginative and absolutely grounded in reality, and has inspired countless readers and filmgoers with its brilliant approach to the realities of space exploration that we are sure to face in the near future. We are immensely grateful to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for partnering with us on this new initiative, and look forward to continuing this celebration of the intersection of science and cinema together.”
“We are delighted to award the first SFFS / Sloan Science in Cinema Prize to ‘The Martian,’ a realistic and exhilarating tale about the challenges and rewards of human exploration on Mars,” added Doron Weber, vice president and program director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Combining humor, suspense, adventure and wonderful characterization with scientific accuracy, the film dramatizes how human resourcefulness and cooperation allied with deep scientific and engineering know-how can spell the difference between life and death for an individual and for national and international efforts to explore the frontiers of space and knowledge.”