Sundance Institute and Puerto Rico Film Society (La Sociedad de Cine de Puerto Rico/SCPR) to Present Free Film Screenings June 21-25

Panels on State of Independent Film with Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming Trevor Groth, Filmmakers Lixin Fan and Debra Granik, Moderated by Carmen Oquendo-Villar

Posted Jun 15, 2011

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SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO -- Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue, an initiative of the nonprofit Sundance Institute created in partnership with U.S. federal cultural agencies, will present free screenings of 10 award-winning films at locations throughout Puerto Rico, it was announced today by Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute.  The free screenings, presented in collaboration with The Puerto Rico Film Society (La Sociedad de Cine de Puerto Rico/SCPR) will run June 21 through June 25 at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR) and the Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP). Trevor Groth, Director of Programming for the Sundance Film Festival, will be on hand, joined by filmmakers Lixin Fan (Last Train Home) and Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone). In addition, filmmaker, professor and arts theorist Carmen Oquendo-Villar will moderate two panels on independent film.

A joint venture of Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Film Forward connects contemporary U.S. and international films and filmmakers with diverse global audiences and features documentary and narrative films.  To date, Film Forward has brought films and filmmakers to Tunisia, Turkey, Nashville, China, New York, Washington, D.C., Michigan and, most recently, Tucson, Arizona.

“This marks the first time Sundance Institute has had an official presence in Puerto Rico, and we are thrilled with the community’s terrific response to the Film Forward program,” said Putnam. “We would like to commend Guillermo Vasquez and his team for their tireless commitment to fostering independent film on the island and look forward to vibrant discussions next week,” Putnam added.

The Puerto Rico Film Society (La Sociedad de Cine de Puerto Rico/SCPR) is a non-profit organization devoted to gathering and educating audiences about alternative cinema. In addition to screenings at MAPR and MAP, SCPR arranged for Film Forward screenings at La Universidad del Turabo, La Universidad Metropolitana, La Universidad del Este, El Municipio de Ponce and El Municipio de Mayaguez. Additional outreach for the screenings of Film Forward: Puerto Rico include Asociación de Productores, Alianza Francesa, El Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico, La Esuela de Artes Plasticas, The Puerto Rico Queer Film Festival, La Universidad de Mayaguez, La Asociación Estudiantil de Cine USC, Cinemovida, Taller Cinematico, Taller de Fotoperiodismo, La Fundación Nacional para la Cultura Popular, Dialogo Digital, Buena Vibra Group, Y no había luz, Puerto Rico Indi, Cinemas del Caribe, La Universidad Católica de Ponce, Sociedad de Fotografía Artística, Castin Puerto Rico, Escuela de Actores de Puerto Rico, The Puerto Rico Film Comisión, and Teatro Brevel.

The schedule of events includes:

Tuesday, June 21

Meet the Filmmakers Reception
6:30 @ Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (MAPR)
Museum of Art of Puerto Rico
299 Ave José De Diego
San Juan 00920, Puerto Rico
(787) 977-6277
http://www.mapr.org/

Screening of Last Train Home
7:30pm @MAPR
Q&A to follow with director Lixin Fan
Getting a train ticket in China proves a towering ordeal as a migrant worker family embarks on a journey, along with 200 million other peasants to reunite with their distant family. Director: Lixin Fan. Canada.

Wednesday, June 22

Panel: Independent Cinema
Moderated by Carmen Oquendo-Villar, Harvard Ph.D and an assistant professor of Cinema Studies, Media Theory and Film Production at SUNY, well known in Puerto Rico and abroad as a filmmaker and a media & art theorist.
Participants: Trevor Groth, Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival; filmmakers Lixin Fan and Debra Granik; Guillermo A. Vázquez-Machargo, Executive Director, La Sociedad de Cine de Puerto Rico/SCPR (Puerto Rico Film Society)
11:00am @MAPR

Screening of Afghan Star
2:30pm @MAPR
After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. This film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. Director: Havana Marking. Afghanistan/UK

Screening of Amreeka
5:00pm @MAPR
When a divorced Palestinian woman and her teenage son move to rural Illinois, they find their new lives replete with challenges. Cast: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass, Yussuf Abu-Warda, Alia Shawkat, Joseph Ziegler. Director and Screenwriter: Cherien Dabis. U.S.A.

Screening of Winter's Bone
7:15pm @MAPR
Q&A to follow with director Debra Granik
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her missing father while trying to keep her family intact. Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan. Director: Debra Granik; Screenwriters: Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini. U.S.A.

Thursday, June 24

Screening of Winter's Bone
7:00pm @ Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP)
2325 Avenue Las Américas
Ponce, 00717-0776, Puerto Rico    
(787) 848 0505
http://www.museoarteponce.org/

Q&A to follow with director Debra Granik
An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her missing father while trying to keep her family intact. Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan. Director: Debra Granik; Screenwriters: Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini. U.S.A.

Friday, June 25

Panel:  Film/Dialog/Exchange
Moderated by Carmen Oquendo-Villar, Harvard Ph.D and an assistant professor of Cinema Studies, Media Theory and Film Production at SUNY, well known in Puerto Rico and abroad as a filmmaker and a media & art theorist.

Participants: Trevor Groth, Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival; filmmakers Lixin Fan and Debra Granik; Guillermo A. Vázquez-Machargo, Executive Director, La Sociedad de Cine de Puerto Rico/SCPR (Puerto Rico Film Society)
11:00am @MAP

Screening of A Small Act
2:00pm @MAP
A young Kenyan’s life changes dramatically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he founded his own scholarship program to replicate the kindness he once received. Director: Jennifer Arnold. U.S.A.

Screening of Boy
4:30pm @MAP
When his father returns home after many years away, 11-year-old Boy and his little brother Rocky must reconcile reality with the fantasy dad they created in their imagination. Cast: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone. Director and screenwriter: Taika Waititi. New Zealand.

Screening of Last Train Home
7:20pm @MAP
Q&A to follow with director Lixin Fan
Getting a train ticket in China proves a towering ordeal as a migrant worker family embarks on a journey, along with 200 million other peasants to reunite with their distant family. Director: Lixin Fan. Canada.

About the Films

The films to be screened in Puerto Rico represent fresh explorations of universal themes. Boy and Winter’s Bone navigate the transition to adulthood and re-define family in broadly different circumstances; Amreeka and Last Train Home depict contemporary challenges of immigration for those seeking work and a better life; Afghan Star explores the story of youthful dreams and the clash of global pop culture in a traditional Muslim society; A Small Act shows the impact of one individual’s choice to give, within a global context. Film Forward mirrors the diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints it promotes, underscoring the importance of mutual understanding and respect for other cultures and traditions that is at the heart of cultural exchange.

U.S.A. Arts Organizations

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 (NEA) is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) serves and strengthens our Republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The NEH is the nation’s leading supporter of research education, preservation and public programs in the humanities.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is an independent federal grant making agency dedicated to creating strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The IMLS works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

Sundance Institute

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, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.

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Media Contacts:

Sundance Institute:
Casey De La Rosa
310.360.1981
casey_delarosa@sundance.org

Sundance Institute:
John Murphy
212.414.0408
jmurphy@murphypr.com

La Sociedad de Cine de Puerto Rico
Josette Pagán
787.963.1969
josettepagan@gmail.com

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