The Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) announced Tuesday that the festival’s 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize will be awarded to Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, 12 Years a Slave), Keira Knightley (Never Let Me Go, Pirates of the Caribbean), Matthew Goode (Watchmen, The Good Wife) and Mark Strong (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Low Winter Sun).
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation chose the film for its “sensitive and moving portrait” of British mathematician Alan Turing (Cumberbatch), who not only created the model for the early computer and for computer language, but whose code breaking skills helped the Allies win World War II. The October 11 festival screening will be followed by a panel discussion.
Cumberbatch delivers a monumental performance as Turing in Tyldum’s stirring historical drama. Told via flashback, The Imitation Game tracks the young, brilliant, and socially awkward Turing in the early days of World War II as he applies for a top-secret position tasked with decoding the notorious “unbreakable” Nazi cipher machine called “Enigma,” used to encrypt all military radio transmissions. His work was famously labeled by Winston Churchill as “the greatest single contribution to victory,” but after the war he suffered great personal and professional turmoil as he dealt with his homosexuality in a time when it was illegal. The Weinstein Company will release the film on November 21, 2014. (Watch the trailer below.)
“We are delighted to join our wonderful partners at HIFF for our 15th year together to award the 2014 Sloan Feature Film Prize to Morten Tyldum’s moving film about the pioneering—and persecuted—Alan Turing, The Imitation Game,” says Doron Weber, Vice President, Programs at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Turing was a brilliant mathematician and logician who made seminal contributions to computer science and artificial intelligence and whose remarkable skills as a cryptanalyst helped win World War II, yet he was also a victim of discrimination who died tragically,” he adds. ‘Many people have tried to bring this important story to the screen, but The Imitation Game, which Sloan previously supported in its post-production phase and features a bravura lead performance, is the first to succeed and we are thrilled to honor this impressive cinematic achievement.”
“I want to thank the Sloan Foundation and the dedicated stewardship by Doron Weber for their incredible long term support of HIFF. The Sloan Foundation has been a great supporter of filmmakers bringing the world of science to life on the big screen,” Stuart Match Suna, Chairman of the HIFF Board, says.
“For the past 15 years, The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has partnered with HIFF fostering films and filmmakers who tell stories dedicated to furthering the sciences. We are so proud that over 100 filmmakers, screenwriters and producers have been awarded cash prizes, screenwriting development and grants in support of that same mission,” Executive Director Anne Chaisson says. “Illustrious masters such as Darren Aronofsky, Julian Schnabel, Michael Apted, Lynn Hershman, Bill Condon and Alejandro Amenábar, as well as the new voices of Ryan Eslinger, Marc Abraham, Jeremy Sim and Jenny Deller have been allowed to bring to light personal scientific stories of triumph, discovery, wonder and sometimes tragedy. HIFF has been so lucky to have such a dedicated and generous partner in the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. We are honored to be a part of an important and lasting program of bringing together the arts and sciences.”
The 22nd Annual Hamptons International Film Festival will be held over Columbus Day Weekend, October 9-13.