Sundance Film Forward

PRESS RELEASE: Los Angeles, CA: Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced today that FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue will host free screenings of eight films, moderated discussions and panel discussions for the first time in Maine, September 30 through October 4.  Filmmaker Laura Nix (The Light In Her Eyes) and producer Michael Gottwald  (Beasts of the Southern Wild) are traveling with the program.

For a full schedule of events in Maine visit and to view content from past trips visit

FILM FORWARD, a partnership of Sundance Institute and four U.S. federal cultural agencies, is a touring program that offers film screenings, workshops and discussions designed to foster dialogue and cross-cultural understanding. It uses the power of cinema to promote broader cultural understanding, inspire curiosity and enhance awareness of shared stories and values across generations, language, education and borders. The partnering federal agencies are the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and The Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“The FILM FORWARD program in Maine will visit several schools, and we are incredibly excited to discuss independent film with a student audience,” said Keri Putnam.  “In addition to screening eight feature films that speak to common themes, we look forward to enriching the classroom experience with visits from filmmakers and lively discussions about global ideas.”

“During the making of The Light In Her Eyes, we uncovered a lively debate about women’s roles as mothers, teachers, wives, workers, sisters and daughters,” said filmmaker Laura Nix. “I am excited to meet audiences in Maine through the FILM FORWARD program and to reach common ground with the universal themes that touch us all.”

“Through the power of film and the point of view of an optimistic six-year-old, Beasts of the Southern Wild shows audiences how a small community overcomes catastrophe,” said producer Michael Gottwald. “Screening the film in Maine will mean reaching new audiences and discussing situations unique to the characters that also relate to communities around the world.”

FILM FORWARD seeks audiences that are new to independent film, students and the local filmmaking community. Common themes explored in the films include family, friendship and community, as well as the intersection of tradition and modern culture.

Sundance Institute staff members traveling with the program are: FILM FORWARD Manager Jacqueline Carlson, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program and Fund Director Kristin Feely and Sundance Institute Director of Program Operations Eva Rinaldi.

FILM FORWARD’s visit to Maine will be the final destination of year three. Programs include:  California, Mexico, Colombia, China, Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Washington, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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 was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at, on Twitter @NEAarts, or on Facebook.

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. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, and follow @US_IMLS on Twitter and on Facebook.

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 supporting intercultural dialogue. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geopolitical, 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 WaterSon of BabylonAmreekaAn Inconvenient TruthSpring AwakeningLight in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on FacebookInstagramTwitterand YouTube.

Media Contacts:

Sarah Eaton
Sundance Institute
Elizabeth Latenser
Sundance Institute

Film stills and director headshots available upon request. Email


For: Sundance Institute

Inrichmint Media Studios

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