Sundance Institute has been selected to represent the private sector in Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue, a program that will screen American and international independent films in the US and abroad.

The program is part of an effort by US public sector bodies the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to foster cross-cultural understanding through cinematic storytelling.

The program will curate a group of 10 contemporary independent films - five American and five international - and invite the filmmakers to present their works in the US and at American embassies and other venues around the world. Masterclasses, discussion panels, Q&As and other engagements between filmmakers and audiences will be programmed around the screenings.

The project will launch in New York in December and conclude in September, 2011. All the films will screen next spring at a gala showcase in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford said: “Film Forward brings the Institute full circle and helps further our mission of supporting and promoting independent storytelling around the world.”

Institute executive director Keri Putnam added: “We are honored to partner with our nation’s leading cultural entities that share a commitment to cultural exchange. Film Forward is an important step in advancing our founder Robert Redford’s original vision of making independent storytelling accessible and relevant throughout the world. We believe that film has the power both to reflect our cultural diversity and to connect people, and we are thrilled to be bringing these wonderful films and their filmmakers to diverse audiences.”