Sundance Institute Collaborates With The Chickasaw Nation And Chickasaw Cultural Center

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Park City, Utah  — Sundance Institute in collaboration with the Chickasaw Nation and the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma today announced two unique film events that will take place in Oklahoma September 6 to 8: A Native Filmmaker Summit and FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue.

FILM FORWARD, a touring film program that offers screenings, workshops, and discussions designed to foster dialogue and cross-cultural understanding, is an Initiative of Sundance Institute and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Filmmakers in Oklahoma are invited to a one-day Native Filmmaker Summit at 10 a.m. on September 6 at The Chickasaw Cultural Center.  Led by Bird Runningwater (Cheyenne/Mescalero Apache), Director of the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Programs and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and co-hosted by the Chickasaw Nation and the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, the Summit will include roundtable discussions, short film presentations and presentations from Runningwater, filmmaker Sterlin Harjo (Seminole and Creek Nations), Chad Burris (Chickasaw Nation) and Australian filmmaker Rachel Perkins (Arrernte/Kalkadoon Nations).   Those interested in attending should RSVP to by August 31.  For more information visit

Following the Summit, FILM FORWARD, will host free public screenings of seven films at The Chickasaw Cultural Center. The films are Bran Nue Dae, by Rachel Perkins; Senna, by Asif Kapadia; On the Ice, by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean; Buck, by Cindy Meehl; Beginners, by Michael Mills; Somewhere Between, by Linda Goldstein Knowlton and Another Earth, by Mike Cahill.  Filmmakers Rachel Perkins and Asif Kapadia are the featured filmmakers who will be in attendance to participate in question and answer sessions and moderated discussions after their films screen.

FILM FORWARD will also feature two panel discussions: Perspectives on Indigenous Filmmaking, moderated by Bird Runningwater with Sterlin Harjo, Rachel Perkins and Jason Asenap as panelists and Perspectives on Oklahoma Filmmaking moderated by the Oklahoma Film Commission.

For a complete schedule of FILM FORWARD screenings and events, visit

“Film connects us all through a shared language of storytelling,” said Keri Putnam Executive Director, Sundance Institute.   “Sundance Institute is proud to offer an opportunity for filmmakers and audiences to share in a rich exchange of ideas through our presentation of this Film Forward initiative in collaboration with the Chickasaw Nation and the Chickasaw Cultural Center.”

Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, said that this type of collaboration with Sundance Institute and FILM FORWARD is “incredibly valuable” to American Indians and other independent filmmakers striving to tell stories from their own perspective.

“It is vitally important that filmmakers with a unique cultural perspective have the training, tools and experience necessary to bring their history, culture and heritage  to the screen in a meaningful way,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “It is difficult to overestimate the value of FILM FORWARD to film makers striving to remain true to their own culture while relaying stories of universal significance. We are very pleased to be part of this important event.” 

Sulphur, Oklahoma marks FILM FORWARD’s seventh stop this year as it travels around the globe promoting greater cultural awareness.  Recent destinations have included Colombia, China; Morocco; Imperial Valley, California and Mexico. 

Sundance Institute’s Managing Director, Jill Miller and FILM FORWARD Manager Jacqueline Carlson will also be in attendance. 


Another Earth / USA (Director: Mike Cahill) — After the discovery of a duplicate Earth, tragedy strikes, and the lives of these strangers become irrevocably intertwined.  When one of them is presented with the opportunity to travel to the other Earth and embrace an alternative reality, which new life will they choose?  Cast: Brit Marling (also a co-writer), William Mapother, Matthew-Lee Erlbach

Beginners / USA (Director: Mike Mills) — BEGINNERS imaginatively explores the hilarity, confusion, and surprises of love through the evolving consciousness of Oliver, whose life is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover. Cast: Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent

Bran Nue Dae / Australia (Director: Rachel Perkins) — This musical, set in the Summer of 1969, tells the story of a young man who flees the Catholic mission where he is studying to join the priesthood.  He journeys across Australia on a life-changing journey that ultimately leads him back home.  Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Geoffrey Rush

Buck / USA (Director: Cindy Meehl) — BUCK profiles famous “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman, tracing his life from an abusive childhood to his career as a world-renowned horse handler and trainer. By teaching people to communicate with horses through instinct, not punishment, he frees the spirit of the horse and its human comrade.

Grbavica / Bosnia and Herzegovina (Director: Jasmila Zbanic) — GRBAVICA explores the painful long-term effects of war on a Bosnian woman and her daughter as they struggle to make a life in post-war Sarajevo.  Removing the veil from the ultimate taboo of the war in the Balkans, the use of rape as a weapon, the film reveals that the post-war denial of this war crime is as devastating as the crime itself.  Cast: Mirjana Karanovic, Luna Mijovic, Leon Lucev.

The Green Wave / Germany (Director: Ali Samadi Ahadi) — Ali Samadi Ahadi’s timely documentary reveals how Iranian civilians reacted to the 2009 Iranian Presidential elections.  Using actual footage of the protests as well as interviews with Iranian bloggers and political leaders, Ahadi paints a compelling portrait of a nation on the brink of revolution.

On the Ice / USA (Director: Andrew Okpeaha MacLean) — Two Alaskan teenagers deal with guilt and a web of deceit after accidentally killing a friend in a fight that got out of control. With their future in the balance, the two boys are forced to explore the limits of friendship and honor. Cast: Frank Irelan, Adamina Kerr, John Miller

Senna / UK (Director: Asif Kapadia) — The story of Ayrton Senna, perhaps the greatest race car driver who ever lived, is an epic tale that literally twists at every turn. Facing titanic struggles, he conquered Formula One and became a global icon who was idolized in his home country.

Somewhere Between / USA (Director: Linda Goldstein Knowlton) — Somewhere Between tells the story of four teenage girls adjusting to life in the US after their Chinese birth parents are forced to part with them due to China’s “One-Child” policy.  The film provides an intimate look into the lives of teenage adoptees as they come to terms with their unique identities.

Unfinished Spaces (Directors: Benjamin Murray, Alysa Nahmias) — Fidel Castro invites 3 exiled architects back to Cuba to finish work on art school they started 40 years ago.  Featuring intimate footage of Fidel Castro, the documentary offers a remarkable view into Cuba’s past, present, and future.

Upcoming FILM FORWARD Tour Dates
Suphur, Oklahoma: September 6-8
San Juan and Caguas, Puerto Rico: September 19-22

Already Completed:
Tucson and Sells, Arizona: Feb 26-March 1
Mumbai and New Delhi, India: March 15-22
Beijing and Kunming, China: March 15-22
Imperial Valley, California and Mexicali, Mexico: May 1-4
Casablanca, Rabat, Oujda, Beni Mellal, Berkane and Fez, Morocco: May 6-12
Bogota, Cali and Manizales, Colombia:  July 9 – 14

About the Chickasaw Cultural Center
Located on 109 acres of rolling hills, woodlands and streams adjacent to the Chickasaw National Recreation Area near Sulphur, Okla., the Chickasaw Cultural Center utilizes the latest technology, live demonstrations, ancient artifacts and natural outdoor spaces to tell the story of the unconquered and unconquerable Chickasaw Nation. The cultural center campus features an amphitheatre, sky terrace and traditional village along with more than 96,000 square feet of indoor space, including an Exhibit Center, Holisso Research Center, and large-format theatre.

About the Chickasaw Nation
With more than 50,000 citizens, the Chickasaw Nation is the 12th largest federally-recognized Indian tribe in the United States. The Chickasaw Nation had an economic impact of more than $2.4 billion in Oklahoma in 2011. The tribe is the seventh largest employer in Oklahoma, with more than 10,000 employees in the state and more than 12,500 worldwide. A democratic republic with executive, legislative and judicial departments, the tribe’s jurisdictional territory includes all or part of 13 counties in south central Oklahoma.

FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue
FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue is an international cultural exchange program designed to enhance cross-cultural understanding, collaboration and dialogue around the globe by engaging audiences through the exhibition of film and conversation with filmmakers. FILM FORWARD is an Initiative of Sundance Institute and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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 (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), 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.

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. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Media Contacts:



Sundance Institute:
Elizabeth Latenser

The Chickasaw Nation
Tony Choate





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