Sundance Institute Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue Travels to Detroit, Ann Arbor and Dearborn, Michigan September 22-25, 2014

Sundance Institute and the University of Michigan Collaborate to Host Free Film Screenings and Guided Discussions

Filmmakers Hilla Medalia (Dancing In Jaffa), Marta Cunningham (Valentine Road) and Producer Haroula Rose (Fruitvale Station) Travel with the Program

Posted Aug 26, 2014

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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 Detroit, Ann Arbor and Dearborn, Michigan September 22-25.  For a full schedule of events and venues in Michigan visit sundance.org/filmforward.

Film Forward, a partnership of Sundance Institute, the President's Committee and three 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.

The program in Michigan will focus on communities and change, beating the odds, acceptance, and the human experience behind the headlines. Common themes explored in the films traveling with the program this year include acceptance, overcoming adversity and the transformative power of the arts to heal and bridge differences. In each location, Film Forward seeks to engage audiences that have limited access to independent film, and artists.

"Storytelling through film illuminates different ways of thinking and brings about understanding of new cultures," said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. "We look forward to showing these films in Michigan which we hope will inspire a dynamic exchange of ideas."

"The National Endowment for the Humanities is proud to support Film Forward and the civic engagement it promotes through film," said Malcom Richardson, Senior Partnership Officer. "Film Forward programs demonstrate how the humanities actively expand knowledge of other cultures, perspectives and history, while the films and participating filmmakers help us understand the issues we face as citizens."

"Dancing In Jaffa is about defying expectations and believing that change is possible," said filmmaker Hilla Medalia. "No matter where the film is shown audiences around the world will relate to the common themes and issues expressed by the students. I am excited to engage audiences in dialogue in Michigan and see if my film can challenge audiences to see their community in a new way."

The 2014 season of Film Forward will reach over 10,000 people through international (Mexico, Taiwan, China, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Indonesia) and domestic locations (California, Michigan, Mississippi and Pennsylvania).Sundance Institute staff members traveling with the program are: Film Forward Director Meredith Lavitt, Film Forward Manager Jacqueline Carlson and Sundance Institute Manager of Diversity Initiatives Moira Griffin.

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?
International Narrative
 
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.
International Documentary
 
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.
US Narrative
 
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.
US Documentary
 

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.
International Narrative
 
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.
International Documentary
 
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.
US Documentary
 
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.
US Documentary

Federal Partners
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 www.imls.gov and follow @US_IMLS on Twitter and on Facebook.

Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to connect audiences to their work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling as art and as a compelling and powerful way to inform, inspire and unite people. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

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