International film program aims to promote dialogue

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, May 24, 2013 - Page 5

A touring international film program started on Wednesday, with the aim of fostering dialogue and promoting cross-cultural understanding, its organizers said.

The “Film Forward” program, initiated by the Sundance Institute and US cultural agencies, features seven international films on topics covering climate change, interracial marriage, the mother-son bond and girls’ education in Syria.

The films will be screened in Taipei, Taoyuan and Hualien until Sunday. Two visiting filmmakers will participate in workshops and film discussions at each location, according to a statement released by the American Institute in Taiwan, which helped bring the program to Taiwan.

“We are honored to present Film Forward in Taiwan and to offer audiences in the region an opportunity to discuss universal themes that touch us all,” Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute, said in the statement.

Jeff Orlowski, director of the film Chasing Ice, said that screening his work in Taiwan means reaching new audiences and engaging in dialogue on a global level.

“Through the power of film, Chasing Ice is showing audiences captivating and unforgettable images of the world’s melting glaciers that they may never see firsthand,” Orlowski said.

The Sundance Institute is a non-profit organization founded by actor and film director Robert Redford in 1981. It provides creative and financial support to filmmakers and storytellers worldwide.

Eight films and filmmakers from the US and abroad are selected by the institute and its partners each year to participate in the “Film Forward” program, traveling to four domestic and four international locations, according to the program’s official site.