Computer Chess, directed and written by Andrew Bujalski, has been awarded the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize and will receive a $20,000 cash award by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Now in its tenth year, the Prize is selected by a jury of film and science professionals and presented to outstanding feature films focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.
Computer Chess is an existential comedy about the brilliant men who taught machines to play chess – back when the machines seemed clumsy and we seemed smart. The cast includes Patrick Riester, Myles Paige, James Curry, Robin Schwartz, Gerald Peary and Wiley Wiggins. The jury presented the award to the film for its “off-beat and formalistically adventurous exploration of questions of artificial intelligence and human connections, unfolding during an early computer chess tournament.”
Previous Alfred P. Sloan Prize Winners include: Jake Schreier, Christopher Ford,Robot & Frank (2012); Musa Syeed, Valley of Saints (2012); Mike Cahill and Brit Marling, Another Earth (2011); Diane Bell, Obselidia (2010); Max Mayer, Adam (2009); Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer (2008); Shi-Zheng Chen, Dark Matter (2007); Andrucha Waddington, The House of Sand (2006); Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man(2005), Shane Carruth, Primer (2004) and Marc Decena, Dopamine (2003). Several past winners have also been awarded Jury Awards at the Festival, including the Grand Jury Prize for Primer, the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for Sleep Dealer and the Excellence in Cinematography Award for Obselidia.
Andrew Bujalski was born in Boston in 1977 and studied film at Harvard’s Department of Visual and Environmental Studies. He wrote and directed the filmsFunny Ha Ha, Mutual Appreciation, and Beeswax. His first three films all appeared on the New York Times’s “Best of the Year” lists. He types 89 words per minute.