FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue, an initiative of Sundance Institute and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, takes place in Arizona from February 27 through March 1, 2012. In collaboration with The Loft Cinema, FILM FORWARD presents screenings of six films as well as personal appearances and workshops with filmmakers from three of the titles at a variety of community locations in Tucson and Sells, Arizona.
"Film has the power to not only entertain but engage us in stories that transcend cultural differences and geographic boundaries," said Sundance Institute Executive Director Keri Putnam. "Together with our FILM FORWARD collaborators at The Loft Cinema, we hope that this collection of films and events sparks imaginations, inspires cross-cultural dialogue and opens up a real exchange of ideas and issues."
The films to be screened as part FILM FORWARD are: The Green Wave, On the Ice, Beginners, Grbavica, Somewhere Between and Unfinished Spaces.
Filmmakers for three of the films, Ali Samadi Ahadi (The Green Wave), Andrew Okpeaha MacLean (On The Ice) and Mike Mills (Beginners), will be in attendance to participate in Q&As, moderated discussions, workshops and meet-and-greet events with the Tucson and Sells communities. All three films will screen at The Loft Cinema in Tucson and also in Sells at the Tohono O'odham Nation Recreation Center. On The Ice will be followed by a discussion on Native voices at the Recreation Center. Two workshops will be presented in Tucson at the University of Arizona: Documentary Filmmaking, Social Media and Arab Spring with Ali Samadi Ahadi following his screening of The Green Wave and Mike Mills will lead a student Script to Screen workshop on how to transition from a short filmmaker to a feature filmmaker; clips and short films from Mills' body of work will be presented and discussed after a screening of his feature film, Beginners. There will also be a screening of On The Ice followed by a special moderated discussion for the local refugee community at the Grace St. Paul's Church.
Sundance Institute's Meredith Lavitt, Associate Director, Film Forward and Owl Johnson, Manager, Native American & Indigenous Program will be in attendance. Rocco Landesman, the Chairman of the NEA, will be a guest at several of the Arizona FILM FORWARD events.
A consortium of local Arizona cultural and government organizations will be supporting the FILM FORWARD initiative in Tucson including: Arizona Commission on the Arts (NEA), Arizona Department of Education (Indian Education Program), Gila River Reservation, Arizona State Museum, Tucson Pima Arts Council, Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, The University of Arizona and Pima College.
Official venues in Tucson are: The University of Arizona, Tohono O'odham Nation Recreation Center, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson Chinese Cultural Center and Grace St. Paul's Church join The Loft as official Tucson venues for FILM FORWARD.
The films participating in the FILM FORWARD program represent a powerful exploration of universal themes that provide an avenue for greater cultural understanding. All 10 films collectively illustrate coming-of-age stories, explore identity and reveal the transformation process, both political and personal. On The Ice navigates the rocky landscape of adolescence; The Green Wave depicts the challenges and resourcefulness of a country and people in conflict; Beginners explores the relationship between father and son and the endurance of love; Unfinished Spaces shows the collision between art and politics; Grbavica reveals the scars of war as a mother and daughter struggle through post-war Sarajevo and ultimately the strength of family; Somewhere Between follows the story of four Chinese-American girls struggling with their Identity as they grow into young women. FILM FORWARD mirrors the diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints it promotes, underscoring the importance of mutual understanding and respect for other cultures and traditions that is at the heart of cultural exchange.