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The Power of Stories

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© Sundance Institute | Brandon Cruz

Keri Putnam

Regardless of our political views, the results of this election rocked many of us, taking us by surprise. Win or lose, the rhetoric of divisiveness during the campaign was made manifest by a vote that tore our country in half, with each side barely recognizing the other.

Let’s bravely stride into this breach to understand the anxiety and fear that have motivated both parts of our electorate this year — never to excuse hatred and bigotry, and always as allies with those whose voices are overlooked.

We live in a country with a diverse and vibrant array of voices, but they are speaking in echo chambers, only to the like-minded. We need a shared media space in which robust civil debate is welcome — a campfire we can all gather around, with open minds and the ability not just to hear but to really listen.

I believe the artists will lead us with brave creative visions and generosity of spirit. Independent storytellers have a profound legacy of building understanding of worlds and characters different from those we know. The stories they tell — on the screen, on the stage, and beyond — can be our campfire.

Artists spark our shared imagination of what’s possible and allow us to hear one another, above the din of internet chatter. And while facts provide the baseline reality of the world as it is, stories reach us in our marrow and allow us to imagine the world as it can be. Through these stories I believe we will find common humanity and purpose.

Keri Putnam
Executive Director, Sundance Institute

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