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Rebecca Genia, Native American activist and focus of the podcast “Conscience Point”

Storytelling is a creative art form encompassing a variety of genres. And while Sundance Institute is best known for supporting cinematic storytelling, in recent years, it has expanded its embrace to include music, virtual reality, television, and now, podcasts.

In 2017, the BBC World Service and Sundance Institute joined forces to produce a podcast series accompanied by visual storytelling, of course—exploring the theme “neighbor.” “Many of the producers come from a TV and film documentary background, and we’re delighted to be working with them as they turn their skills to audio,” says Simon Pitts, assistant editor to the controller, BBC World Service English. 

Stories accepted for support as part of the series include “Conscience Point,” directed by Treva Wurmfeld  and produced by Amanda Spain and Charles Certain, which follows Native American activist Rebecca Genia as she faces down her powerful Hamptons neighbors to resist the continued carve-up of her ancestral land; “We Might As Well Be Finnish,” by Kavita Pillay, which explores how Finland’s unique identity has been shaped by its two very different border countries—Sweden and Russia; and “Good Marriages Make Good Neighbours,” by Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya, which ​is about young couples in Mumbai fighting the stigma of unmarried cohabitation.

Each project will comprise a 30- to 60-minute podcast and short visual story. “We believe artful storytelling can transform conversations and cultures,” says Tabitha Jackson, director of Sundance Institute’s documentary film program, “and this collaboration with the BBC offers another medium for the global community of nonfiction artists we support to shine a light on the world around us.” The series’ five podcasts and accompanying short films are scheduled for release on bbc.co.uk/programmes in May 2018.

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