The Sundance Institute and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities announced Thursday details for the third edition of Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue. The program tours internationally through eight different locations and offers film screenings, workshops and conversations with filmmakers as a way to encourage dialogue and awareness about different cultural issues and to promote understanding about stories and values from around the world.
At the center of this year's film selection is Benh Zeitlin's Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize winner "Beasts of the Southern Wild," which revolves around a six year old's youthful imagination as she deals with the harsh realities of her ailing father and her rapidly sinking house following a huge storm. Also part of the program is Stacy Peralta's new documentary "Bones Brigade: An Autobiography." As in his previous films "Dogtown and Z-Boys" and "Riding Giants," Peralta, a former skateboarder, uses the nonfiction genre to encourage interest in sports, such as surfing and skating, that many dismiss as trivial. "Bones Brigade" follows a gang of counter-culture kids who became one of the most influential skateboarding teams in the world.
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Other films in the program are Jeff Orlowski's climate-change doc "Chasing Ice"; Julie Meltzer and Laura Nix's documentary about Syrian leader Houda al-Habash, "The Light in Her Eyes"; Nancy Buirski's film about the marriage of a part-black/part-Indian woman to a white man, "The Loving Story"; Jerry Rothwell's film about a group of Ethiopian Olympic runners, "Town of Runners"; and Musa Syeed's Kashmir drama, "Valley of Saints." Curiously, also in the selection is Patricia Riggen's immigration drama "Under the Same Moon," which had a moderately wide release five years ago.
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The eight films will tour locations in Bosnia & Herzegovina, California/Mexico, China/Taiwan, Colombia, Jordan, Maine, Puerto Rico and Washington. The programmers try to choose locations without ready access to independent films and filmmakers as part of the Film Forward initiative to spread awareness of the issues explored in the films. China, Puerto Rico and Colombia are making repeat appearances in the program's itinerary.
More information on the program, including dates, venues, tickets and more about the films, can be found on the Film Forward official website.