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D.C. initiative taps Sundance Institute

Film Forward to showcase 10 pics in U.S. and abroad

Washington has tapped the Sundance Institute to lead the private sector in a cultural exchange initiative, Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue.

Program continues the efforts of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, to foster cross-cultural understanding through cinematic storytelling.

Film Forward will launch in December. Under the program, 10 contemporary indie films will be selected to travel the world, five American and five international.

The filmmakers will be invited to present their works in selected locations in the U.S. and at American embassies and other venues abroad. At each location, there will be a number of events, all designed to cultivate dialogue, foster appreciation of other viewpoints and develop new audiences for independent film.

“Film Forward brings the institute full circle and helps further our mission of supporting and promoting independent storytelling around the world,” said Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford.

Film Forward will conclude in December 2011. Each of the 10 films will be screened during a gala showcase in partnership with the Smithsonian Institute in D.C.

Keri Putman, who took over as exec director of the Sundance Institute earlier this year, said Film Forward advances Redford’s original vision of making “independent storytelling accessible and relevant throughout the world.”

Film Forward is a continuation of the President’s Committee and cultural partners’ efforts to use film to engage diverse audiences, including a successful four-year effort in partnership with the American Film Institute as AFI: Project 20/20. Over the past four years that program has brought together 42 filmmakers repping the U.S. and 21 other countries as cultural ambassadors, who have traveled to 18 countries and 18 cities within the U.S.

“Art is often an expression of shared values and works to create connections among seemingly disparate groups. We are proud to be investing in Film Forward,” NEA chairman Rocco Landesman said.

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