8/14/2013 | Seattle International Film Festival
Rachel Eggers | 206.315.0683 |

Los Angeles, CA - Sundance Institute and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced on Monday that FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue will host free screenings of eight films with moderated discussions for the first time ever in Washington State. Filmmakers traveling with the program are Julia Meltzer (The Light In Her Eyes) and Jerry Rothwell (Town Of Runners). 
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 federal partners include 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.
"Film inspires imagination, encourages civic engagement and underscores the rich diversity of human experience," said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. "We are honored to present FILM FORWARD to a diverse group of audiences including skateboarders in Tacoma, the Seattle Ethiopian community and Muslim studies students at the University of Puget Sound among many other unique groups in Washington."
"My job as a filmmaker is to tell truthful stories about the world. I am hoping The Light In her Eyes will help audiences gain a greater understanding of women's roles and rights within conservative Islam, especially now while the Middle East is undergoing great change." said filmmaker Julia Meltzer. "I am excited to meet audiences in Washington through the FILM FORWARD program and participate in a dialogue about universal themes that unite and affect us all."
"Town of Runners is a film about opportunity, which is a theme that connects audiences from Ethiopia to Washington State," said filmmaker Jerry Rothwell. "From growing up in Kenya, to living in the United Kingdom, to filming around the world, I have come to realize how film can be a powerful medium to discuss global issues. I look forward to using Town of Runners as a catalyst for conversation."
FILM FORWARD seeks audiences that are new to independent film, students and the local filmmaking community in each region. Common themes explored in the films include issues surrounding 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 Director Meredith Lavitt, FILM FORWARD Manager Jacqueline Carlson and Sundance Institute Social Media Manager Royale Zeigler.
Following FILM FORWARD's visit to Washington, upcoming destinations include: Bosnia & Herzegovina (September 19-25); and Maine (September 30 - October 4). Completed programs this year include California, Mexico, Colombia, China, Taiwan and Puerto Rico.

About SIFF
Founded in 1976, SIFF creates experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world with the Seattle International Film Festival, SIFF Cinema, and SIFF Education. Recognized as one of the top film festivals in North America, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest, most highly attended film festival in the United States, reaching more than 150,000 annually. The 25-day festival is renowned for its wide-ranging and eclectic programming, presenting over 250 features and 150 short films from over 70 countries each year. SIFF Cinema exhibits premiere theatrical engagements, repertory, classic, and revival film showings 365 days a year on four screens at the SIFF Film Center and the historic SIFF Cinema Uptown, reaching more than 100,000 attendees annually. SIFF Education offers educational programs for all audiences serving more than 11,000 students and youth in the community with free programs each year.