Sundance Institute Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue Travels to Taipei, Taichung and Taitung, Taiwan May 1 - 6

Sundance Institute, the American Institute in Taiwan, and CNEX Foundation Collaborate To Host Free Film Screenings and Guided Discussions

Filmmakers Patrick Creadon (If You Build It) and Nisha Pahuja (The World Before Her) Travel with the Program

Posted Apr 3, 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 Taipei, Taichung and Taitung, Taiwan. For a full schedule of events, venues and partners in Taiwan visit sundance.org/filmforward

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.

Common themes explored in the films traveling with the program include acceptance, 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.  The program in Taiwan will focus on the impact of modernization and tradition, the power of alternative education and community awareness, and the role and challenges facing girls and women in society. 

“These films explore universal themes that we hope will inspire audiences to look at their community and our world in a new way,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute.  “Film Forward uses the powerful medium of film and storytelling to bring people of different cultures, viewpoints, and backgrounds together in a shared dialogue.”

“Film Forward empowers filmmakers and audiences to talk about a range of ideas, perspectives and issues that affect all of us - whether we are in Mississippi or Taiwan,” said Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.  “Just as President’s Committee honorary Chair Michelle Obama made it a priority to reach out and engage young people on her recent trip to China,  Film Forward is excited to engage youth wherever the program goes, particularly in rural Taiwan.”

The World Before Her examines the contradictory messages young girls are receiving in India about what the future holds for them,” said filmmaker Nisha Pahuja. “Audiences around the world – not just women – can relate the struggle of what defines beauty and how to adapt to a modern world while not losing site of longstanding traditions. I look forward to the shared discussion around this film and hope audiences find similarities that will help make their world more nuanced.”

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 and Film Forward Manager Jacqueline Carlson.

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 http://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 introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

CNEX Foundation
CNEX Foundation, established in 2006, is considered the first non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the development of independent documentaries on the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong & Taiwan. CNEX aims to facilitate cultural exchange between Greater China and the rest of the world through supporting documentaries depicting contemporary stories of the people of Chinese ethnicity, their living and their society.  It sponsors 8 to 10 independent Chinese documentaries that follow its annual theme, each of which receives financial aid, content creation and production supports. CNEX itself serves as the producer, inviting renowned directors and scholars from home and abroad to advise the filmmakers. CNEX host annually a documentary film festival and a pitching forum CNEX Chinese Documentary Forum (CCDF) in Taipei.  This is the second year CNEX will partner with Film Forward in Taiwan.

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Media Contacts:

Sarah Eaton
Sundance Institute
310.360.1981
Sarah_Eaton@sundance.org

Elizabeth Latenser
Sundance Institute
435.658.3456
Elizabeth_Latenser@sundance.org

Film stills and director headshots available upon request. Email press@sundance.org.

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