Meet the winners of SFFILM’s Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowships

Filmmakers So Young Shelly Yo and Erica Liu

SFFILM and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have selected the recipients of the 2018 Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowships! Supporting the development of narrative feature screenplays that explore scientific or technological themes and characters, Sloan Fellowships are awarded once a year. Writer/directors So Young Shelly Yo (The 11th Endeavor) and Erica Liu (The Mushroomers) will each receive a $35,000 cash grant and a two-month residency at SFFILM’s FilmHouse residency space.

Fellows will gain free office space alongside access to weekly consulting services and professional development opportunities. SFFILM will connect each fellow to a science advisor with expertise in the scientific or technological subjects at the center of their screenplays, as well as leaders in the Bay Area’s science and technology communities. In addition to the residency and grant, SFFILM’s artist development team will facilitate industry introductions to producers and casting, financing, and creative advisors — investing in fellows from early script development stages through to release with the goal to further professional development and career sustainability.

Previous recipients of the Sloan Science in Cinema Fellowship include Michael Almereyda, to develop his screenplay about Nikola Tesla; Darcy Brislin and Dyana Winkler, to illuminate the lesser-known aspects of the life of Alexander Graham Bell; and Mark Eaton and Ron Najor, who are exploring the darkest corners of the dark web. These newest fellows are in good company!

The 11th Endeavor
So Young Shelly Yo, writer/director; Mark Castillo, producer
A fiery female biotechnologist, hoping to break ground outside the realms of her lab, competes to be Korea’s first astronaut on the nationwide televised Korean Astronaut Program. In her obsessive quest to become Korea’s first astronaut, So Yeon steps into a world of unmeasurable physical and mental stress and discovers shocking revelations about her country. Based on the true story of Yi So Yeon, South Korea’s first astronaut.

So Young Shelly Yo is a Korean American filmmaker currently based in Los Angeles. She is a recent graduate of the MFA film program at Columba University, where her thesis film Moonwalk with Me was awarded faculty honors. Her short films have screened and received accolades at film festivals around the world including the Mecal Barcelona International Short Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival, and New Filmmakers LA, among others. Prior to schooling, Shelly worked as a video editor for a tech company known as ZEFR and as an assistant in the freelance commercial film industry.

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The Mushroomers
Erica Liu, writer/director; David Yu-Hao Su, producer
Following her husband’s death, a young mycologist attempts to sublimate her grief by embarking on an offbeat project to heal a contaminated old-growth forest using only super fungi, but Mother Nature and the mechanics of her own mourning prove far fickler than she had anticipated.

Erica Liu is a Taiwanese-American writer/director based in Los Angeles. She participated in the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women in 2015. Her films have screened at Clermont-Ferrand, AFI Fest, and Palm Springs International Shortfest, among others. Springtime aired on public television nationwide via KQED and affiliate stations. The Disappointment Tour received a Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation grant. Erica earned her MFA from NYU Tisch Asia and previously spent five years working and shooting throughout Asia, collaborating with companies including BBC, Google, and China Film Group. Erica is currently incubating her first feature, The Mushroomers.

For more information about the SFFILM Sloan Science in Cinema Filmmaker Fellowship and other SFFILM Makers artist development programs, visit