By Devin Lee Fuller | Indiewire November 9, 2011 at 4:27PM
The Sundance Insititute has announced the renewal of their Film Forward program. The ten films selected for the program will travel to eight domestic and international locations and be featured in a special presentation at UNESCO in Paris, France.
Film Forward aims to connect audiences with a diverse array of documentary and narrative films emphasizing cultural understanding.
“Film Forward was created to build a global conversation around the issues and themes explored in specific films, as well as the power of film to inform and unite,” said Robert Redford, founder and president of Sundance Institute. “What we learned from the first year of the program was that people can relate to personal stories on a larger level, despite cultural differences and geographic boundaries. We saw that there is much more work to be done and that initiatives like Film Forward are making a difference.”
The ten films chosen include Mike Cahill's "Another Earth," Mike Mills' "Beginners," Rachel Perkins' "Bran Nue Dae," Cindy Meehl's "Buck," Jasmila Zbanic's "Grbavica," Ali Samadi Ahadi's "The Green Wave," Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's "On The Ice," Asif Kapadia's "Senna," Linda Goldstein Knowlton's "Somewhere Between," and Benjamin Murray and Alysa Nahmias' "Unfinished Spaces."
Press release included below:
Los Angeles, CA — Following the success of last year’s inaugural Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue initiative, Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities announced today the renewal of the program. The slate of 10 new Film Forward films was also revealed along with the eight domestic and international locations in addition to a special presentation at UNESCO.
Film Forward is an initiative of Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Film Forward connects contemporary U.S. and international films and filmmakers with diverse global audiences and features documentary and narrative films. Film Forward underscores the importance of mutual understanding and respect for other cultures and traditions that is at the heart of cultural exchange.
“Film Forward was created to build a global conversation around the issues and themes explored in specific films, as well as the power of film to inform and unite,” said Robert Redford, Founder and President of Sundance Institute. “What we learned from the first year of the program was that people can relate to personal stories on a larger level, despite cultural differences and geographic boundaries. We saw that there is much more work to be done and that initiatives like Film Forward are making a difference.”
“We are thrilled to once again bring the Film Forward initiative to communities, both in the U.S. and around the world, who might not be otherwise exposed to these kinds of compelling stories and universal themes,” said Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. “The President’s Committee and the program’s federal partners, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, believe that audiences will connect with each other and the world around them through these carefully curated films.”
The films selected for the second year of the Film Forward program are: Another Earth, by Mike Cahill;Beginners, by Mike Mills; Bran Nue Dae, by Rachel Perkins; Buck, by Cindy Meehl; Grbavica, by Jasmila Zbanic; The Green Wave, by Ali Samadi Ahadi; On The Ice, by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean; Senna, by Asif Kapadia; Somewhere Between, by Linda Goldstein Knowlton; and Unfinished Spaces, by Benjamin Murray and Alysa Nahmias.
Film Forward filmmakers will once again travel with the initiative to present their work and participate in master classes, discussion panels, Q&As and other engagements with audiences. These activities, which foster dialogue and appreciation of varying viewpoints while encouraging new audiences for independent film, will be programmed around the screenings in all locations. Film Forward’s primary audiences continues to be communities without ready access to thought-provoking independent films, disenfranchised students and young people from all walks of life, and the local filmmaking community within each targeted region.
Collectively, these films characterize innovative exploration of universal themes concerning the evolving nature of the human condition amidst the search of identity and the experience of coming of age. Bran Nue Dae, On the Ice and Somewhere Between depict the transition of fragile but determined souls to adulthood in the midst of oppressive outside forces, while The Green Wave, Grbavica and Unfinished Spaces show the devastating effects of political upheaval on ordinary lives. Beginners and Another Earth explore the relationships we form and its evolution in light of life-changing events. Buck and Senna profile the fascinating lives of Buck Brannaman, an ordinary many who transcends his violent past and ends the legacy of abuse through his extraordinary work with horses and the late, legendary Formula One driver, Ayrton Senna who became a national treasure and symbol of success for Brazil.
“Film Forward takes bold, personal films and connects them with audiences both here and abroad, providing a larger cinematic cultural experience,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. “We are proud to deepen our collaboration with U.S. cultural agencies to present these films, which beautifully illustrate the common humanity and concerns we share – across all boundaries.”
Last year, Film Forward filmmakers held Q&As and workshops with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe in Michigan; the Kakuma Refugee camp in the northwest of Kenya near Sudan; and Oasis, a gay and lesbian youth shelter in Nashville. Overall, more than 118,000 people attended 116 presentations and more than 30 workshops and panels worldwide conducted by Film Forward’s filmmakers and other film professionals. This year the program will travel to eight locations, reaching a number of underserved communities in: the Central Valley of California, the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma, Tucson, Arizona, and Puerto Rico. The initiative will also travel overseas to China, Morocco, India and Colombia and will be presented to delegates at UNESCO in Paris, France.
Specific venues and dates for the initiative will be announced on the program’s website at www.sundance.org/filmforward