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Sundance seems a little incomplete for me without Jamie Stuart, who is shooting this year for Cinelan and GE’s new Focus Forward initiative. Led by Cinelan co-founders Morgan Spurlock and Karol Martesko-Fenster (Filmmaker‘s founding publsiher), the program brings 30 new three-minute short films to festivals internationally.

So, to get my Stuart Sundance fix I’ll post this piece he shot for the organization, which is premiering its first five films here at the festival. Jamie may be lensing for this new short-form doc producer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a photo gallery of snow-capped peaks, shuttle busses lumbering down Park, and silhouetted ski lifts appears in my in box this week. If so, look for it here.

Focus Forward – Short Films, Big Ideas Trailer from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

And here’s the press release about Cinelan and these films.

CINELAN and Vimeo announced today the global day-and-date premiere of the first five three-minute films in the FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas initiative, which will be presented at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The films will make their world premiere on Tuesday, January 24, at 12pm EST on vimeo.com/focusforwardfilms and at a special screening beginning 6pm MST at the Holiday Village 1 in Park City. The FOCUS FORWARD films will also be paired with features in the U.S. Documentary Competition and World Cinema Documentary Competition sections at Sundance. FOCUS FORWARD – Short Films, Big Ideas is a series of 3-minute nonfiction films about the incredible human power of ideas and invention.

The first five films in the series are:

MEET MR. TOILET (Dir. Jessica Yu, 2012) – Oscar-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu (“In the Realms of the Unreal”) introduces us to Jack Sim, AKA Mr. Toilet, who uses unorthodox methods as he travels the globe raising awareness about the lack of sanitation in underdeveloped countries.

HILARY’S STRAWS (Dir. Phil Cox, 2012) – UK director Phil Cox (“The Bengali Detective”) unveils a moving mini-portrait of Hilary Lister, a quadriplegic champion sailor whose metal-and-circuit-board navigational tool, invented with friends, led her to conquer the oceans of the world.

THE LANDFILL (Dir. Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit, 2012) – Training their eye on a facility in Delaware County, New York, Edwards and Hustwit (“Helvetica”) challenge the way we look at landfills, not as an ever-growing problem, but as a possible source of renewable energy.

HEART STOP BEATING (Dir. Jeremiah Zagar, 2012) – Jeremiah Zagar (“In a Dream”) tells the story of Billy Cohn and Bud Frazier, two visionary doctors from the Texas Heart Institute who in March 2011 successfully replaced a dying man’s heart with a “continuous flow” device they developed, proving that life was possible without a pulse or a heart beat.

NEWTOWN CREEK DIGESTER EGGS: THE ART OF HUMAN WASTE (Dir. David W. Leitner, 2012) – Cinematographer/filmmaker David W. Leitner (“Trembling Before G-d”) looks at the unusual marriage of form and function at the jaw-droppingly beautiful Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn, New York.

Following the Sundance Film Festival, additional FOCUS FORWARD: Short Films, Big Ideas films will continue to screen at numerous film festivals around the globe through relationships with festivals including the Berlinale Talent Campus, Tribeca Film Festival, and International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), among others.

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