A group of federal cultural initiatives have tapped the Sundance Institute to represent the private sector in a program called "Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue." The concept is a public/private cultural exchange effort spearheaded by the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) in cooperation with its federal cultural partners, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), to "foster cross-cultural understanding through cinematic storytelling."
The new initiative selects a curated group of ten contemporary independent films, five American and five international, and invites the filmmakers to screen their work in selected locations in the U.S. and at American embassies and other locations around the world.
Additionally, planned master classes, discussion panels, Q&As and other exchanges between filmmakers and audiences are planned around screenings in all locations, with the aim of "cultivating engaged dialogue, fostering appreciation of other viewpoints and developing new audiences for independent film."
The project will launch in New York in December of 2010 and conclude in September, 2011, with all of the films screening next spring at a gala showcase in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
"We are honored to partner with our nation's leading cultural entities that share a commitment to cultural exchange," commented Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute in a statement. "Film Forward is an important step in advancing our founder Robert Redford's original vision of making independent storytelling accessible and relevant throughout the world. We believe that film has the power both to reflect our cultural diversity and to connect people, and we are thrilled to be bringing these wonderful films and their filmmakers to diverse audiences."
"Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue" is a continuation of the President's Committee and cultural partners' efforts to use film to engage diverse audiences in the U.S. and internationally, including a four-year effort in partnership with the American Film Institute as "AFI: Project 20/20." Over the past four years that program has brought together 42 filmmakers representing the United States and 21 other countries as cultural ambassadors, who have traveled to 18 countries and 18 cities within the U.S.
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization that aims to nurture artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences.