Keri Putnam: Sundance for 30 years has been a place that’s dedicated to discovering and developing and supporting new artists in film and theater because we believe that storytellers in these medium really have an opportunity to inspire us and engage, you know, and connect us across boundaries. It's something that Robert Redford believed when he founded the institute. So the idea of seeking those artists whose voices can help tell the stories, to achieve that is a huge part of what we do and what we have done. But the second part of our mission, which is best embodied by the Sundance Film Festival, and now by Film Forward, is to connect audiences with this new work. And, initially, you know, ten, 15 years ago, having the film festival was a perfect way to do that because the distribution community would come there and then, the films would get seen from there. And that still works, to a large degree. But now, there's a number of wonderful films that just don’t get distributed and don't get to the audiences that really might be eager to see them and benefit from seeing them. So, at Sundance, we're looking for creative new ways to try to reach audiences that, either can't afford to come to Utah in January or, you know, aren't lucky enough to see it when it's on PBS, or have the local theatre in their community that screens these sorts of films. So a program like Film Forward, with both, you know, supporting the artist by, you know, allowing their film to be seen and allowing them to connect with other artists and audiences and seating audiences, as we've talked about, beyond the usual months for independent film, is very organic to what we stand for at Sundance. And I think it's one of many ways to push beyond what people think about as traditional distribution, in terms of getting these films in front of people.
Film Forward may only be in its second year, but as Keri Putnam points out in this excerpt from the podcast, its goal has been at the heart of the Sundance Institute since its inception. [1:40]