Sundance Institute Announces FILM FORWARD: ADVANCING CULTURAL DIALOGUE Returns to Puerto Rico, Sept. 19-22

Sundance Institute Collaborates with Puerto Rico Film Society to Host Free Screenings, Workshops and Artist Roundtables in San Juan and Caguas Filmmakers Alysa Nahmias, Unfinished Spaces and Jasmila Zbanic, Grbavica To Lead Discussions and Panels

Posted Aug 28, 2012

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Park City, Utah — Sundance Institute, in collaboration with the Puerto Rico Film Society, announced today that the FILM FORWARD: ADVANCING CULTURAL DIALOGUE initiative will host free film screenings, workshops and artist roundtables in Puerto Rico for the second consecutive year. These programs will take place September 19 through 22 in San Juan and Caguas.

FILM FORWARD, a touring program that offers film 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.

The program kicks off in San Juan on September 19, with a reception and screening of Unfinished Spaces at University of Puerto Rico’s School of Architecture. The program will conclude with a special Closing Night screening of Grbavica followed by a Q&A with writer/director Jasmila Zbanic at the Caguas Museum and Center for Humanistic Studies.

Alysa Nahmias, co-director and producer of Unfinished Spaces, and Jasmila Zbanic, writer and director of Grbavica, will host screenings of their films and participate in Q&A sessions and filmmaking workshops with local students, filmmakers, activists, architects and community members. Workshop topics include narrative and documentary filmmaking as well as the intersection of film and architecture.

In addition to Grbavica and Unfinished Spaces, films screening in Puerto Rico are: Bran Nue Dae, by Rachel Perkins; The Green Wave, by Ali Samadi Ahadi; Somewhere Between, by Linda Goldstein Knowlton; and On the Ice, by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean.

All FILM FORWARD screenings and events in Puerto Rico are free and open to the public with special emphasis on local filmmakers and artists, rural youth, architecture and film students, and women’s groups.  For a complete schedule, visit https://www.sundance.org/filmforward/destination/puerto-rico-2012/.

“Sundance Institute is pleased to collaborate once again with the Puerto Rico Film Society to present FILM FORWARD,” said Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam. “Both organizations believe in the power of storytelling to unite audiences and celebrate diversity, it is our hope that this collection of films and events inspire audiences to explore worlds they might not otherwise.”

“For our society it is an honor to be part of this wonderful initiative on its second consecutive year,” said  Guillermo A. Vázquez-Machargo, Founder and Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Film Society.  “Once again, FILM FORWARD unites us as human beings, inviting us to reflect on fundamental issues through an extraordinary selection of films”.

Puerto Rico will mark FILM FORWARD’s eighth and final stop this year. Recent destinations include Oklahoma, Colombia, China, India, Morocco, Imperial Valley, California, Mexico and Tucson.
FILM FORWARD Associate Director, Meredith Lavitt, FILM FORWARD Manager Brittany Ballard and Sundance Institute Feature Film Program Manager Ilyse McKimmie will be in attendance. 

2012 FILM FORWARD Films

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
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
Sulphur, Oklahoma: September 6-8

Puerto Rico Film Society
The Puerto Rico Film Society is a bridge to underserved communities that do not have immediate exposure to independent films. The Society has partnered with museums, educational institutions and local organizations which provide access to free monthly screenings. The mission is to encourage and build conversation through independent and international cinema that brings Puerto Rican audiences together to unite, educate and create dialog around contemporary, cultural and current issues. http://www.puertoricofilmsociety.org/

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
435-658-3456
elizabeth_latenser@sundance.org

Puerto Rico Film Society:
Alexandra Vega
787-587-0747
alexandra@puertoricofilmsociety.org

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