Above: A film still from “Dope.”
Sundance Film Forward–an initiative of the Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities–aims to spark a cultural dialogue by connecting filmmakers and audiences. The organization takes movies, and the people who make them, on the road. This month, it is stopping in Macon, Ga. with 2015’s “Dope” and one of the film’s producers, Mimi Valdes.
The event came about after Sundance caught wind of a screening of the documentary “Freedom Summer” that took place in Macon last month.
“Sundance Institute saw a press release I sent out about the collaboration between Tubman Museum, Middle Georgia State University and Macon Film Festival for the ‘Freedom Summer’ screening we did in February,” said Terrell Sandefur, a past president of the Macon Film Festival, as well as an active promoter of filmmaking in the Georgia city. “Sundance Institute contacted me about collaborating on a ‘Dope’ screening and asked if I could assemble that same group to co-present.”
Sandefur did, and on March 29, audiences will have a chance to enjoy “Dope”–an independent film about a young man trying to achieve his academic goals while living in a challenging environment. After viewing the film, the audience will have an opportunity to dialogue with Valdes.
“I consider this to be a big deal, not only for Macon Film Festival, but for Macon in general,” Sandefur said.
The Sundance Institute’s programs and collaborations help artists and filmmakers strengthen their storytelling skills. In the past, Knight has funded the expansion of Sundance Institute programs into Knight cities, including a $1 million Knight Fellows Project modeled on Sundance Institute labs and workshops.
An event like Sundance Film Forward’s screening of “Dope,” which brings a professional such as Valdes into a community to elaborate on how a story was brought to life on the big screen, can help inspire local and aspiring filmmakers. At the same time, the unique experience of meeting the producer can enhance a general audience’s appreciation of the art of storytelling through film.
“Dope” will be screened at Middle Georgia State University on Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.