January 24, 2018


The SCA alums win the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Sundance/Amazon prizes for the film Search

Search, co-written, produced and directed by SCA Alums Sev Ohanian (MFA, Production, ’12) and Aneesh Chaganty (BA, Production ’13) is one of Sundance’s most buzzworthy films this year. Told entirely through a computer screen, it follows a father, played by John Cho, who enlists a compassionate detective (Debra Messing) to track down his missing daughter. The daughter’s computer holds the most clues about her disappearance and the dogged father/detective team becomes engrossed in her online life.

Along with the Buzz has also come a $5 million sale of the film to Sony, one of the first big acquisitions of the fest, and prestigious accolades. Ohanian was awarded the Sundance Institute/Amazon Studios Producers Award for Narrative Feature Producer. Ohanian can now be considered a Sundance vet having been a Park City regular since debuting there with 2013’s Fruitvale Station, which was written and directed by another SCA alum Ryan Coogler, and had more than a dozen USC grads on the crew. Ohanian also took Andrew Bujalski’s Results, for which he served as executive producer, to the fest in 2015 and Clea Duvall’s The Intervention, as producer, in 2016. The award is given for continuous work as a creative producer in the indie space.

Search also won the festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Prize, which comes with a $20,000 cash prize. Part of the Sundance/Sloan Science-In-Film Initiative, the prize is presented to an outstanding feature film that focuses on science or technology as a theme. In awarding the prize, the jury or film and science professionals who chose Search said the film stood out for “its gripping and original interrogation of our evolving relationship with technology and how it mediates every other relationship in our lives, both positively and negatively.” The also commended the film’s unique screen-view telling, noting its “rigorous formal experimentation with narrative.”

Search’s producing team also includes another SCA alum, Natalie Qasabian, who graduated with a BA from Cinema and Media Studies in 2014.