Film Forward, a touring film program that offers 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. Filmmakers in Oklahoma are invited to a one-day Native Filmmaker Summit at 10 a.m. on Sept. 6, at The Chickasaw Cultural Center.
Led by Bird Runningwater Director of the Sundance Institute Native American and Indigenous Programs and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and co-hosted by the Chickasaw Nation and the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum, the Summit will include roundtable discussions, short film presentations and presentations from Runningwater, filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, Chad Burris and Australian filmmaker
Following the Summit, Film Forward, will host free public screenings of seven films at The Chickasaw Cultural Center. The films are "Bran Nue Dae," by Rachel Perkins; "Senna," by Asif Kapadia; "On the Ice," by Andrew Okpeaha MacLean; "Buck," by Cindy Meehl; "Beginners," by Michael Mills; "Somewhere Between," by Linda Goldstein Knowlton and "Another Earth," by Mike Cahill.
Filmmakers Rachel Perkins and Asif Kapadia are the featured filmmakers who will be in attendance to participate in question and answer sessions and moderated discussions after their films screen.
Film Forward will also feature two panel discussions: Perspectives on Indigenous Filmmaking, moderated by Bird Runningwater with Sterlin Harjo, Rachel Perkins and Jason Asenap as panelists and Perspectives on Oklahoma Filmmaking moderated by the Oklahoma Film Commission.
"Film connects us all through a shared language of storytelling," said Keri Putnam Executive Director, Sundance Institute. "Sundance Institute is proud to offer an opportunity for filmmakers and audiences to share in a rich exchange of ideas through our presentation of this Film Forward initiative in collaboration with the Chickasaw Nation and the Chickasaw Cultural Center."
Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, said that this type of collaboration with Sundance Institute and Film Forward is "incredibly valuable" to American Indians and other independent filmmakers striving to tell stories from their own perspective.
"It is vitally important that filmmakers with a unique cultural perspective have the training, tools and experience necessary to bring their history, culture and heritage to the screen in a meaningful way," said Gov. Anoatubby. "It is difficult to overestimate the value of Film to film makers striving to remain true to their own culture while relaying stories of universal significance. We are very pleased to be part of this important event."
Sulphur, Oklahoma marks Film Forward's seventh stop this year as it travels around the globe promoting greater cultural awareness. Recent destinations have included Colombia, China; Morocco; Imperial Valley, California and Mexico.
Sundance Institute's Managing Director, Jill Miller and Film Forward Manager Jacqueline Carlson will also 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. 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) "Grabvica" 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.
For more information, visit www.sundance.org.