Mumbai Mantra Media Ltd, The American Center in New Delhi, Taj Enlighten Film Society and Whistling Woods Collaborate with Sundance Institute to Bring FILM FORWARD to

Mumbai, New Delhi, Aligarh, Noida and Gurgaon

Mumbai, India — Sundance Institute announced today that FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue, a program that promotes cultural dialogue through independent documentary and narrative film, is travelling from March 15 to 22, 2012 to five locations in India: Mumbai, New Delhi, Aligarh, Gurgaon and Noida. Mumbai Mantra Media Ltd and the American Center in New Delhi, in collaboration with Taj Enlighten Film Society and Whistling Woods International, will present the FILM FORWARD program which includes 10 films, filmmaker appearances and workshops at multiple venues in the five cities.  All FILM FORWARD screenings are free of charge for University students and the general public.

FILM FORWARD 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.  A full schedule of FILM FORWARD screenings and events in India along with a complete list of outreach partners is available at

“It is exciting to expand our relationships with the vibrant community in India as we mount this multi faceted cinematic program,” said Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. “Together with our FILM FORWARD collaborators at Mumbai Mantra and the American Center in New Delhi, we hope to continue building cultural bridges which encourage discourse, the creation of new ideas and a meaningful cross-cultural dialogue.”

Filmmakers Asif Kapadia (Senna) and Linda Goldstein Knowlton (Somewhere Between) will be in attendance to participate in Q&As, discussions, workshops and meet-and-greet events with the different communities in the select destinations in India (complete schedule attached).

Sundance Institute’s Meredith Lavitt, Associate Director, FILM FORWARD; Jacqueline Carlson, Manager, FILM FORWARD; and Joseph Beyer, Director of Digital Initiatives will be in attendance.

A consortium of local cultural and government organizations will support the FILM FORWARD initiative in India including: Taj Enlighten Film Society, Whistling Woods International, Aligarh Muslim University, Amity University, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Epicenter Gurgaon, FICCI Frames, Habitat World at India Habitat Center, Hauz Khas Village, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The films participating in the FILM FORWARD program represent a powerful exploration of universal themes that provide an avenue for greater cultural understanding. All 10 films collectively illustrate coming-of-age stories, explore identity and reveal the transformation process, both political and personal. Somewhere Between follows the story of four Chinese-American girls struggling with their Identity as they grow into young women, and Senna follows the life of legendary Formula One driver, Ayrton Senna who became a national treasure and symbol of success for Brazil. On the Ice navigates the rocky landscape of adolescence; The Green Wave depicts the challenges and resourcefulness of a country and people in conflict; Beginners explores the relationship between father and son and the endurance of love; Unfinished Spaces shows the collision between art and politics; Grbavica reveals the scars of war as a mother and daughter struggle through post-war Sarajevo and ultimately the strength of family; Bran Nue Dae is a musical coming of age story told from the Australian outback; Buck, the story of Buck Brannaman and his extraordinary work with horses, and Another Earth about the lives of two strangers whose lives become intertwined after the discovery of a duplicate Earth

A total of 10 films and filmmakers from the U.S. and abroad were selected by Sundance Institute and the partners to participate in the 2012 FILM FORWARD program, traveling to four domestic and five international locations. Filmmakers participate in screenings, extended Q&As, workshops, and master classes at Universities, film and cultural centers, museums, libraries and other community, educational, and cultural venues cultivating engaged dialogue, fostering appreciation of other viewpoints, and developing new audiences for independent film.


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. By 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) — GRBAVICA 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 teenaged 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.

Upcoming FILM FORWARD Tour Dates

China: March 14-22

India: March 15-22

Imperial Valley: May 1-4

Morocco: May 6-13

Colombia: July 9-14

Puerto Rico: August 22-26

Oklahoma: September 6-8

UNESCO, Paris: September dates tbd

Mumbai Mantra Media Ltd

Mumbai Mantra Media Ltd, the Media & Entertainment vertical of the Mahindra Group, is actively evaluating opportunities in content and infrastructure in the domestic as well as international media and entertainment space. Mumbai Mantra’s ‘Antaheen’, won 4 National Awards including Best Feature Film in 2009. It has also co-produced the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ directed by Julie Taymor. Several other films are in development.

Mumbai Mantra has also made a commitment towards providing a platform for independent voices in Indian cinema to champion an emerging generation of exciting film makers. The first step in this direction is the forging of a partnership with the renowned Sundance Institute founded by Robert Redford, for the establishment of the Mumbai Mantra | Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab which is planned to be an annual event in India, and the Sundance Institute | Mahindra Global Filmmaking Award to be awarded to 4 international film makers annually.

American Center in New Delhi

The U.S. Embassy in New Delhi is one of the largest U.S. diplomatic missions in the world, a reflection of the importance the United States places on its relationship with India. The Embassy represents 17 U.S. federal government agencies, from the U.S. Department of State to the Federal Aviation Administration. The Embassy coordinates the activities of four consulates — in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad – ensuring that the U.S.-India relationship is strong throughout the country. The Embassy also maintains a Virtual Consulate through its web site serving residents of Bangalore.

Taj Enlighten Film Society

A partnership between Brooke Bond Taj Mahal and Enlighten Film Society, Taj Enlighten Film Society has 10,000 members across the country and has recently been certified as India’s largest film society by Federation of Film Societies of India.

Apart from a continuous stream of screenings in five cities, they also organize exclusive events and talks by leading talents of Indian cinema like Anurag Kashyap, Saif Ali Khan, Tapan Sinha, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Sudhir Mishra, Ketan Mehta, Waheeda Rehman, Sriram Raghavan. They have also hosted various award-winning filmmakers from countries like Italy, France, Germany, Russia, Iran, China, Indonesia, the US, Turkey, and Argentina. They regularly organize film festivals occasionally focusing on a particular country in a bid to increase the understanding about different cultures. Retrospectives of great film makers is another constant practice at Enlighten.

Whistling Woods

Promoted by Filmmaker Subhash Ghai, Mukta Arts Limited and Filmcity Mumbai, Whistling Woods International is Asia’s largest film, television and media arts institute, providing education in technical and creative aspects of filmmaking and television. Whistling Woods is ranked amongst the World’s Top 10 film schools by Hollywood Reporter

FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue

FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue is an international cultural exchange program designed to enhance cross-cultural understanding, collaboration and dialogue around the globe by engaging audiences through the exhibition of film and conversation with filmmakers. FILM FORWARD 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.

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 (NEA) is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.

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.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is an independent federal grant-making agency dedicated to creating strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The IMLS works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

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, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, 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 Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.