Park City, UT — Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced today that Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue will host free screenings of eight films with moderated discussions, panels and artist roundtables in Jackson and Cleveland, Mississippi.
For a full schedule of events in Mississippi visit sundance.org/filmforward and to view content from past trips visit sundance.org/video/playlists/film-forward/. Over the past three years Film Forward has reached more than 46,000 people in more than 11 countries and 12 US cities.
Film Forward, a partnership of Sundance Institute and four U.S. federal cultural agencies, is a touring program that offers film screenings, workshops and discussions designed to foster dialogue and cross-cultural understanding. It uses the power of cinema to promote broader cultural understanding, inspire curiosity and enhance awareness of shared stories and values across generations, religion, ethnicity and borders. The partnering federal agencies are the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and The Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Common themes explored in the films include communities in conflict, overcoming adversity and the transformative power of art. In each location, Film Forward seeks audiences that have limited access to independent film, students and the local filmmaking community. In Mississippi, the program will explore the regional tradition of storytelling, blues music, literature and filmmaking; and delve into the topic of tolerance.
“Film inspires imagination, encourages civic engagement and underscores the rich diversity of human experience,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. “We are honored to collaborate with Mississippi Film Office and Crossroads Film Society to present this rich and thought-provoking Film Forward program.”
“I was compelled to make Valentine Road and use this film as an educational tool for schools to start dialogue around compassion,” said filmmaker Marta Cunningham. “Through Film Forward, I am excited to meet audiences in Mississippi to talk about the themes, challenges and issues that unite us all.”
“We are pleased to join Sundance Institute, the Mississippi Humanities Council and other partners to make these outstanding films available to audiences in Mississippi,” said Carole Watson, deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. “Film Forward provides great opportunities to initiate community and civic dialogues that further understanding of ourselves, our neighbors, and other cultures.”
Sundance Institute staff members traveling with the program are: Film Forward Director Meredith Lavitt, Film Forward Manager Jacqueline Carlson, Sundance Film Festival Programmer Charlie Reff and Sundance Institute Editorial Manager Nate Von Zumwalt.
Following Film Forward’s visit to Mississippi, the program will visit California (San Diego); Mexico (Tijuana); Michigan (Detroit, Dearborn, Ann Arbor); Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Lancaster); Taiwan; China; Bosnia & Herzegovina; and Indonesia.
Dates, specific venues, partners and schedules for each location will be announced at www.sundance.org/filmforward.
FILM FORWARD Year Four Films:
|Circles – (Directed by: Srdan Golubovic )
Five people are affected by a tragic heroic act. Twenty years later, all of them will have to confront the past through their own crises. Will they overcome the guilt, frustration, and the urge for revenge? Will they do the right thing, at all costs?
|Dancing in Jaffa – (Directed by: Hilla Medalia)
Renowned ballroom dancer, Pierre Dulaine, takes his belief that dance can overcome political and cultural differences and applies it to 11 year old Jewish and Palestinian Israelis. What occurs is magical and transformative.
|Fruitvale Station – (Directed by: Ryan Coogler)
The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.
|If You Build It – (Directed by: Patrick Creadon)
If You Build It spends a year in the life of one of America’s most innovative classrooms. Designer/activists Emily Pilloton and Matt Miller, together with their high school students, unleash the power of humanitarian design to help their struggling community in rural North Carolina.
|The Rocket – (Directed by: Kim Mordaunt)
A boy who is believed to bring bad luck leads his family and a couple of ragged misfits through Laos to find a new home. After a calamity–filled journey through a land scarred by war, the boy sets off to prove he’s not cursed and builds a giant rocket to enter the most lucrative but dangerous competition of the year: the Rocket Festival.
|The World Before Her – (Directed by: Nisha Pahuja)
Moving between two extremes—the intimate verité drama of the Miss India pageant’s rigorous beauty “bootcamp” and the intense regime of a militant Hindu fundamentalist camp for young girls—The World Before Her delivers a provocative portrait of India and its current cultural conflicts during a key transitional era in the country's modern history.
|Twenty Feet From Stardom – (Directed by: Morgan Neville)
Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. Twenty Feet From Stardom shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.
|Valentine Road – (Directed by: Marta Cunningham)
On February 12, 2008, eighth-grade student Brandon McInerney shot his classmate Larry King twice in the back of the head. With keen insight, the film connects the human wreckage of Larry’s and Brandon’s troubled lives—both bullied and both searching for a sense of belonging.
The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) bridges the interests of American federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation and excellence in the arts and humanities, and helps incorporate these disciplines into White House objectives. First Lady Michelle Obama is the Honorary Chairman of the PCAH.
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at arts.gov, follow us on Twitter @NEAarts or like us on Facebook.
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), an independent federal agency, provides support for documentary films, digital media and other educational programs in the humanities through competitive grant programs. The NEH is the nation’s leading supporter of research, education, preservation and public programs in the humanities. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The mission of IMLS is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. The agency’s grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov and follow @US_IMLS on Twitter and on Facebook.
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
# # #
Film stills and director headshots available upon request. Email email@example.com.