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NYU Student Wins Tribeca Film Institute Inaugural Screenwriting Prize

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Feb 17, 2011 | 7:48am EST

Tribeca Film InstituteTribeca Film Institute has just made Robert Cohen a very, very happy man.

Cohen, a student at New York University's Tisch School of Arts, was just awarded the Inaugural Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Student Grand Jury Prize for Screenwriting for his screenplay Bystander.

Cohen will receive a $30,000 cash prize (a nice lump of money for anyone, let alone a struggling artist) with an additional $20,000 to be used to support the project. Plus, the TFI will assist as well, providing scientific and film industry professionals to mentor, networking opportunities, and industry exposure. According to the press release, the $50,000 grant was created to "recognize exceptional feature screenplays that dramatize science and technology themes and/or that portray scientists, engineers, or mathematicians in prominent character roles."

But enough of that. Here's what we can expect from Bystander:

"Bystander is about the rape and murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 outside an apartment complex in Queens while 37 witnesses looked on. Though the attack lasted over 30 minutes, none of the witnesses called the police or intervened until she was already dead. In 1968, John Darley and Bibb Latané published a psychological study on the "Bystander Effect" explaining the inaction of the witnesses. It became one of the most conclusive and replicable effects in the field of psychology. Bystander is a fictional account of the aftermath of this attack, but the scientific research and theories it includes are historically and psychologically accurate."

Source: Tribeca Film Institute

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