Tribeca: 'Radium Girls' Film, Viola Davis-Produced Doc Series Join Lineup

Viola Davis Earrings Oscars - Getty - H 2018
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The Tribeca Film Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have announced two projects, 'The New Miracle' and 'The Spark,' as recipients of this year's TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, with a total of $150,000 in grants.

The Tribeca Film Festival is less than two weeks away, but this year's 17th annual event has found room to add another movie and TV series.

The festival will host the world premiere of the Lily Tomlin executive-produced Radium Girls, starring Joey King and Abby Quinn. The film is based on the true story of women in the early 20th century who worked at the U.S. Radium Corp. factory painting glow-in-the-dark watches. But by licking their paint brushes, the women ultimately developed cancer. Radium Girls was directed by veteran producer Lydia Dean Pilcher and Ginny Mohler, both making their feature directorial debuts. Mohler and Brittany Shaw co-wrote the script, which received a Sloan Foundation production grant at NYU-Tisch. The film was produced by Pilcher and Emily McEvoy and executive produced by Willette Klausner, Harriet Leve, Jayne Baron Sherman, Tomlin and Jane Wagner.

Following the premiere, Pilcher, Mohler, King and former EPA executive Betsy Southerland will participate in a discussion about the movie and how the early organization of the women's movement empowered the subjects of the film to speak out.

Separately, it was announced yesterday that the festival would screen the first episode of documentary series The Last Defense, executive produced by Viola Davis and Julius Tennon.

The seven-episode doc series, from Xcon Productions and Lincoln Square Productions, is set to air on ABC. It explores flaws in the American justice system through emotional, in-depth examinations of multiple death row cases. 

The series is executive produced by Davis and Tennon for JuVee Productions, Christine Connor and Lee Beckett for Xcon Productions and Vanessa Potkin and Aida Leisenring for Lincoln Square Productions.

Both Radium Girls and The Last Defense will debut at Tribeca on April 27.

The Tribeca Film Institute and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, also hosting the Radium Girls premiere, have announced two projects, The New Miracle and The Spark, as this year's recipients of the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund, with a total of $150,000 in grants. Each film will receive a $75,000 grant and participate in the TFI Network, presented by AT&T and the 2018 Sloan Screenplay Reading. Select scenes will be read on Saturday, April 21, at 3 p.m. at Spring Studios. 

Past recipients of the TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grant include The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015), A Birder's Guide to Everything (2011) and Oscar-winner The Imitation Game (2014).

"Thanks to Sloan's generous partnership, more diverse voices will have access to mentorship from science and film advisers in addition to vital project funding," TFI executive director Amy Hobby said in a statement. "This year, we are exceptionally proud to announce that both supported projects are led by all-women teams."

Sloan Foundation vice president and program director Doron Weber added, "We are delighted to continue our seminal partnership with the Tribeca Film Institute with the premiere of Radium Girls, a cautionary tale with contemporary resonance, and the awarding of two new $75,000 grants for developing The New Miracle, about the first test-tube baby and The Spark, about a talented female electricity expert with a checkered past. Radium Girls also received a major Sloan production grant at NYU-Tisch as part of Sloan's nationwide film program, which has resulted in over 20 completed feature films, including several amazing stories about women in science, and To Dust, also premiering at this year's festival."