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Sundance films Robot & Frank and Valley of Saints split the festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, The Sundance Institute announced Friday. The films will share a $20,000 cash award.
In Robot & Frank, a curmudgeonly older father’s grown children install a robot as his caretaker. The film stars Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Liv Tyler. On Wednesday, Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Samuel Goldwyn Films partnered to pick up North American rights to Robot & Frank. Sources say the deal, which also includes all media rights for Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Russia, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, is valued at slightly more than $2 million.
In Valley of Saints, Gulzar plans to run away from the war and poverty surrounding his village in Kashmir with his best friend, but a beautiful young woman researching the dying lake leads him to contemplate a different future. The film stars Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, Mohammed Afzal Sofi and Neelofar Hamid.
“These two remarkable but completely different films attest to the enormous range of possibility for filmmakers who tackle science and technollogy subjects and for audiences eager to enter new worlds,” said Doron Weber, vice president of programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, in a statement.
The winner of the Sundance Institute’s Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant was Flood (writer/director Katy Scoggin), and the winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Lab Fellowship was Operator (co-writer/director Logan Kibens, co-writer Sharon Greene).
The prize, grant and fellowship are part of the Sundance Institute Science-in-Film Initiative, made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Initiative supports the development and exhibition of new independent film projects that explore science and technology themes or those that depict scientists, engineers and mathematicians in engaging ways.
Email: Daniel.Miller@THR.com; Jay.Fernandez@THR.com
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