Now in its fourth year, Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue will send eight filmmakers and their films to visit China, Taiwan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Indonesia, as well as Detroit, MI; Jackson, MS;, Harrisburg, PA and San Diego, CA. Film Forward seeks to enhance greater cultural understanding by engaging audiences that don’t have access to film or these kinds of experiences. Over the past three years the program and its filmmakers have held screening and Q&As here and abroad at refugee camps, detention centers, neighborhood centers, Native American reservations and hundreds of schools, libraries and museums.
“In today’s turbulent world, it is more important than ever to identify and share stories that bring us together rather than drive us apart. Film Forward is a compelling example of a program that builds bridges and then crosses them, revealing the bonds between diverse cultures and peoples,” said Rachel Goslins, Executive Director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Along with the Sundance Institute and our federal partners, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, we are proud to share Film Forward with more new audiences around the world.“
Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, “These films are an extraordinary representation of universal themes that will inspire and challenge audiences to look at their community and our world in a new way. Film Forward uses the powerful medium of film and storytelling to bring people of different cultures, viewpoints, and backgrounds together in a shared dialogue.”
This year’s films include: Circles, by Srdan Golubovic; Dancing in Jaffa, by Hilla Medalia; Fruitvale Station by Ryan Coogler; If You Build It, by Patrick Creedon; The Rocket, by Kim Mordaunt; The World Before Her, by Nisha Pahuja; Twenty Feet from Stardom, Morgan Nevill; and Valentine Road, by Marta Cunningham. All these films capture Film Forward’s breadth of curiosity and interest in other cultures and ideas from Circles, which explores the ramifications of a Serbian soldier death at the hands of his Serbian comrades for saving the life of a Muslim neighbor to the music of Motown in Twenty Feet from Stardom and the hard road stardom for the back-up vocalists, whose voices made hits for groups from the Rolling Stones to Bruce Springsteen.
The success of Film Forward in creating connections through dialogue and engagement with audiences is best illustrated by the experiences of filmmakers like Stacy Peralta, who said of his experience last year, “Film Forward is a unique program that allowed me to travel to remote places around the world to connect with audiences who are hungry to chase their own dreams and overcome their own cultural obstacles to becoming a filmmaker, writer or artist. Many along the way thank us profusely for coming to their town to connect and share ideas. For me though, this is a heartfelt example of what you give, you get back ten-fold. I am the richer for being part of Film Forward.”
You can follow Film Forward’s journey in 2014 and the experiences of the filmmakers by following the program on Facebook.