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NOV
29
3 YEARS

Sundance Institute Selects 10 Movies for Film Forward Cultural Exchange Initiative

"Amreeka," "Winter's Bone" and "Last Train Home" are among the films that will travel from New York to Tunisia, Kenya, Turkey and China through September.

The Sundance Institute will include Amreeka, Winter's Bone and Last Train Home among the 10 films that will launch its new Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue initiative next month. The cultural exchange effort will travel from New York to Tunisia, Kenya, Turkey and China through September.

The films will travel to six U.S. states and six countries and screen in places such as the Saginaw Chippewa Reservation in Grand Rapids, Mich.; the Ghetto Film School in the Bronx, N.Y.; and the Puerto Rico Film Society in Puerto Rico. Film Forward filmmakers will present their work and lead master classes, discussion panels and Q&As, leading up to a final gala showcase of all 10 films screened simultaneously on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in May.

The five American and five international films chosen to represent the inaugural program and tour throughout the United States and abroad are:

A Small Act (Director: Jennifer Arnold) A young Kenyan's life changes dramatically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he founded his own scholarship program to replicate the kindness he once received.

Afghan Star / Afghanistan/U.K. (Director: Havana Marking) After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: Millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. This film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. 

Amreeka (Director and screenwriter: Cherien Dabis) When a divorced Palestinian woman and her teenage son move to rural Illinois, they find their new lives replete with challenges. Cast: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass, Yussuf Abu-Warda, Alia Shawkat, Joseph Ziegler. 

Boy / New Zealand (Director and screenwriter: Taika Waititi) When his father returns home after many years away, 11-year-old Boy and his little brother, Rocky, must reconcile reality with the fantasy dad they created in their imagination. Cast: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone. 

Freedom Riders (Director: Stanley Nelson) The story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called the Freedom Riders, who in 1961 creatively challenged segregation in the American South. 

La Mission / USA (Director and screenwriter: Peter Bratt) A traditional, Latino father in San Francisco's Mission District struggles to come to terms with his teenage son's homosexuality. Credited by Latino media as being both authentic and genuine to various aspects of American Hispanic cultures. Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Talisa Soto Bratt, Jesse Borrego. 

Last Train Home / Canada (Director: Lixin Fan) Getting a train ticket in China proves a towering ordeal as a migrant worker family embarks on a journey, along with 200 million other peasants, to reunite with their distant family. 

Son of Babylon / Iraq (Director: Mohamed Al Daradji; screenwriters: Mohamed Al-Daradji, Jennifer Norridge, Mithal Ghazi) In the days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, a young Kurdish boy and his grandmother venture through Iraq on a quest to find their missing father/son. Cast: Yasser Talib, Shazda Hussein, Bashir Al-Majid.  

Udaan / India (Director Vikramaditya Motwane; screenwriter: Motwane) Following his expulsion from boarding school, Rohan returns to the small industrial town of Jamshedpur. After eight years away, he finds himself closeted with an authoritarian father and a younger half-brother whom he didn't even know existed. Udaan explores deep-rooted family dynamics and a triumph of the human spirit.

Winter's Bone (Director: Debra Granik; screenwriters: Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini) An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her missing father while trying to keep her family intact. Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan.