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Film Forward Program Travels to Maine

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HERMON - An international touring program was in eastern Maine Tuesday night, with its primary focus - cultural diversity.

Film Forward is a program that offers film screenings, workshops and discussions to help foster dialogue and greater cultural understanding.

 

Tuesday night students of Hermon High School and residents of the area gathered for a look into the Syrian culture.

 

Though the film shown was spoken in Arabic, the message was clear.

 

"Islam can be used to help women learn about their rights as women. It's not a message we ever hear about in this country, about the potential of that faith," Laura Nix, director and producer of The Light in Her Eyes, says.

 

The Light in Her Eyes is a documentary based on a woman preacher in Damascus, Syria who challenges girls to pursue their ambitions, without giving up their religion.

 

The film is just one of eight a part of the film forward program, an initiative of Sundance Institute and four U.S. federal cultural agencies.

 

"We show films that basically show people the similarities as well as differences between cultures," Jackie Carlson, manager of Film Forward Initiative, says.

 

The tour has traveled to eight destinations since the beginning of the year, Maine being its last stop in the journey.

 

"Never having really been to Maine before, it has been incredible to bring the film to student groups here, schools, and places like that to show the film, and also talk about what the themes mean to them," Michael Gottwald, producer for Beasts of the Southern Wild, explains.

 

"People just need to know about how the different cultures interact with each other and how women can lead," Emily Woodilla, a Freshman at Hermon High School, says. "It shows us the different cultures as opposed to our own," Cassidy Barnes, also at Freshman, adds.

 

The Film Forwards Program in Maine runs through Friday with plenty of opportunities to attend the screenings.

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