Writer/director Diane Bell's pic nabs sci-tech kudo

PARK CITY, Utah — Writer/director Diane Bell’s “Obselidia” has been awarded the 2010 Sundance Film Festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Prize, awarded each year to an outstanding film focusing on science or technology, or featuring a major character who is a scientist, engineer or mathematician.

Prize carries a $20,000 cash award. Last year’s recipient was “Adam.”

Bell’s debut feature, “Obselidia” focuses on an encyclopedia salesman who, obsessed with the past, decides to write “The Obselidia,” a compendium of obsolete things. Along the way, he meets a beautiful cinema projectionist who believes technology and the future are what matters. When they interview a reclusive scientist who predicts that 80% of the world’s population will be killed in 2100 because of climate changes, they start to question whether they should both start living in the present.

Michael Piccirilli and Gaynor Howe star in the film, which played in competition at Sundance.

Producers are Matthew Medlin, Chris Byrne and Ken Morris. Bell was born in Scotland and grew up in Japan, Australia and Germany. She has a degree in Mental Philosophy and has written a number of scripts.

Alfred P. Sloan Prize is a major component of the Sundance Science-in-Film Initiative, which is made possible by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

This year’s jury members included Harvard University professor of history and physics Peter Galison; neuroscientist Darcy Kelley; NPR science correspondent Joe Palca; University of Chicago professor and explorer-in-residence at National Geographic Paul Sereno and filmmaker Marianna Palka.

Sundance also announced that Rob Meyer’s “A Birder’s Guide to Everything” has received the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship grant. Meyer, whose latest film was short “Aquarium,” wrote the script with Luke Matheny.

Cath Le Couteur’s “Bed” received the Sundance/Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant. Le Couteur co-wrote “Bed” with Joel Davis.

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