November 01, 2022

UofU Professor Receives Sundance Institute | Sandbox Fund Grant

Photo of Antarctic Landscape by Pixabay Photo of Antarctic Landscape by Pixabay

F&MAD Professor Emelie Mahdavian and her production team are among this year's recipients of the Sundance Institute | Sandbox Fund, as reported in Deadline. The fund, which aims to support filmmakers who expand the documentary form through science filmmaking, has "inspired new new audiences to reimagine the definition of 'science film' by challenging common preconceptions about the scientific process, who does science and what it means to be a scientist," said Paola Mottura, Director of the Sundance Institute's Documentary Fund. 

Mahdavian's new film, Untitled Thwaites Film, will tell the story of a small, female-led research team's last trip to one of the most significant site of climate science in the world: the ice shelf at Thwaites Glacier (nicknamed the "Doomsday Glacier") in West Antarctica. The film will be directed by Mahdavian, and produced by Mahdavian and F&MAD alum John D. Sutter. The film is currently in pre-production, but will very soon embark on production as the research team heads out to Antarctica. Mahdavian will be embedded among the team of scientists for eleven weeks from November through January, living on the ice shelf while shooting the film as a solo shooter/audio recordist. With the film, Mahdavian aims to tell a story in direct contrast to the common narrative of a single superhero scientist. Rather, she hopes to show how this team of women scientists can create significant change through small moments of collaboration and collective labor.

F&MAD wishes Professor Mahdavian all the best on her travels, and congratulates her and her team on receiving a Sundance Institute | Sandbox Fund grant.