CONGRATULATIONS! Global Film Initiative, 2012 grant recipient selected to represent Serbia in upcoming Academy Awards Foreign Language Competition


Goran Radovanovic’s film is about a tiny Serb community living under UN protection in Kosovo.

Serbia’s nomination for best foreign-language Oscar turns clichés about the bitter civil war in Yugoslavia on their head.

Focused on a tiny Serb community living in a UN-protected enclave in Muslim Kosovo, EnclaveGoran Radovanovic’s second feature – looks at the legacy of ethnic cleansing and internecine conflict through the eyes of a small boy, Nenad.

Every day Nenad is taken to school from his father’s farm in a KFOR armored car to study alone in a school with no other pupils. Like any other boy of his age, all Nenad wants are some friends his own age. Each day, through narrow observation slits in the military vehicle he sees two Albanian boys and a shepherd boy – who has lost his father in the war and hates Serbs.

The film won an audience award last June after a competition screening at the Moscow International Film Festival.

Two Recipients of GFI Film Grants Will Be Screened at the 2015 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival — Faces of Work

 2015 Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival
 Faces of Work
 Pittsburgh, PA
 March 18 – April 11

Screening two recipients of GFI film grants and also awarded distribution contracts.

Sunday, March 22

 Bad Hair (Pelo Malo)
Venezuela | by Mariana Rondon | 93 mins — A showdown loms as 9 year old Junior suspects his haggard, out-of-work single mother would love him more if he straightens the unruly hair he inherited form his absent father.

 Sunday, March 29

Excuse My French
Egypt | by Amr Salama | 99 mins — 12 year old Hany tries to fit in at his new governmental school after his father suddenly drops dead, leaving his mother in debt and unable to continue to afford his private education.

Director Amr Salama will attend screening and Q&A at the McConomy Auditorium.

Nine Global Lens Films Featured in April 2015 Series at MOMA

 New York audiences have a second chance to view 9 Global Lens films that they might have been overlooked during their initial screenings. Our special thanks to Curator Jytte Jensen who has championed GFI’s activities for the past twelve years, and for her role as an uncompromising supporter of films from emerging nations.

 The films and the dates of screenings are as follows:

Saturday, April 4

 About 111 Girls (Darbare 111 Doktar)

Iraq | Directed by Nahid Ghobadi & Bijan Zamanpira (79 mins.) — A government official, carrying a message from Iran’s president, travels across Iranian Kurdistan with his driver and a young guide on a mission to stop 111 young Kurdish women from committing suicide.

Sunday, April 5

 Cairo 678

Egypt | Directed by Mohamed Diab (100 mins.)– Three Cairene women from different backgrounds join together in uneasy solidarity to combat the sexual harassment that has impacted each of their lives.


Kazakhstan by Darezhan Omirbayev  (90 mins.)–A solitary philosophy student steers his directionless life toward the commission of a violent crime.

Monday, April 6


Morocco | Directed by Mohamed Mouftakir (104 mins.)–An emotionally exhausted psychiatrist assigned to a pregnant young woman found in the street muttering about “The Lord of the Hope.”


Iraq | Directed by Oday Rasheed (90 mins.)–A broken family with an incestuous patriarch rents a room to a stranger and lives uneasily within the gated courtyard of  dilapidated Baghdad house.

Tuesday, April 7

The Light Thief (Svet-Ake)

Kyrgyzstan | Directed by Aktan Arym Kubat (80 mins.)— In this colorful modern-day parable of good and evil, a humble village electrician devotes his compassion and ingenuity to destitute neighbors in a wind-swept valley of Kyrgyzstan.

 Wednesday, April 8

Ocean of an Old Man

India | Directed by Rajesh Shera (84 mins.)—In the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and amid the stunning natural beauty of India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands, an elderly British teacher struggles to run a small primary school despite the loss of many of the islands’ children to the recent tragedy.

 The Night of Truth

Burkina Faso | Directed by Fanta Regina Nacro (100 mins.)— As the powerful drumming begins, both rebels and government forces gather, bringing with them years of rage, grief, hope, suspicion and bitterness.

 Thursday, April 9

 The Kite (Le Cerf-Volant)

Lebanon | Directed by Randa Chahal Sabbag (80 mins.)—Sixteen year old Lamia must cross a border checkpoint between Lebanon and Israel to marry a man she has never met further complicated by her surprising admission that she is in love with the Israeli soldier guarding the border.



Recipient of 2012 Global Film Initiative Grant Factory Girl – Congratulations!

Cairo, Egypt | Friday- 6 February, 2015

In a fresh breakthrough for Mohamed Khan‘s Factory Girl across film festivals worldwide, Arab Cinema in Sweden (ACIS), a distribution arm under the umbrella of Malmo Arab Film Festival, has announced the theatrical release of Factory Girl across Sweden on Friday, April 24th, 2015. Marking the film’s first release beyond the Arab world, Factory Girl is part of the European Film Market (EFM) within 65th Berlin International Film Festival.

Across Sweden where the largest Arabic-speaking community resides in Europe, Factory Girl will release in 12 screening venues including, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Norrkoping, Fajo, Umeå, Luleå, Lund and Hillsburg.

Produced by Mohamed Samir‘s DayDream Art Production, MAD Solution handled the distribution of Factory Girl in the Arab world, which also helms the Arab Cinema Center in its 1st edition at Berlinale as part of its long-term strategy to support and promote the Arab filmmaking industry in the Arab world.

Alaa Karkouti, CEO and Co-founder of MAD Solutions commented, “Factory Girl‘s theatrical release across Sweden is going to function as a new window on the Arab cinema for all film lovers in Sweden. He further added, “Our collaboration with the ACIS is an important step to us, as the screening of Factory Girl will highlight the artistic diversity and abundance of the Arab cinema. Since its inception, Malmo Arab Film Festival has been playing a crucial role in backing Arab filmmakers and this step marks a culmination of these long-standing efforts.”

Expressing his eagerness to release the film in Sweden, Mr. Mouhamed Keblawi, General Manager of Arab Cinema in Sweden (ACIS), stated, “It is a great honor to present Factory Girl to the Swedish audience. We are proud to bring the film to Sweden in cooperation with MAD Solutions and DayDream Art Productions, both for the large Arabic population in Sweden as well as for the whole national cinema selection. Mohamed Khan is one of the Arab world’s greatest directors whose films do not leave anyone indifferent, so neither Factory Girl. The story of the film and its topics are as urgent in Sweden as in Egypt – a romantic and at the same time serious depiction that shows how the society fights women who just want to assert their fundamental freedoms.”

Starring Yasmin Raeis, Hany Adel, Salwa Khatab, Salwa Mohamed Ali, Ibtihal El Sereti and an array of new promising stars; the film is written by Wessam Suleiman. Factory Girl tells the story of Hiyam, a young factory worker, lives in a lower-middle-class neighborhood, along with her co-workers. She is clearly under the spell of Salah, the factory’s new supervisor, who has expressed his admiration for her. She believes love can transcend the class differences between them. However, when a pregnancy test is discovered in the factory premises, her family and close friends accuse her of sinning. Hiyam decides not to defend herself and pays an enormous price in a society that fails to accept independent women.

Mohamed Khan’s Factory Girl was Egypt’s official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 87th Academy Awards (Oscars). In 2013, the film had its world premiere at Dubai International Film Festival 2013 within the Muhr Arab Feature competition where the film received the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) award for Arab Feature Competition, and the film’s star Yasmin Raeis walked away with the Best Actress award in 2014. The film earned a Special Jury Prize from MED Film Festival in Italy, where it was screened at the opening gala of the festival. Concurrently, Factory Girl was a great success in Egyptian theaters, and carried on its flourishing commercial tour across 6 Arab countries, as well as Ramallah, Palestinian territories.

The film’s star, Yasmin Raeis, reaped the Best Actress Award at Malmo Arab Film Festival in Sweden, and its Screenwriter Wessam Soliman also received the Best Writing Award at the Sala Women Film Festival in Morocco.

Factory Girl ended 2014 with receiving multiple awards from international film festivals receiving 4 awards from the 18th Egyptian National Film Festival, which hosted an honorary screening for the film at the closing ceremony after competing in the festival’s Feature-length Competition. The film swept the festival’s major awards; Best Director award, Best Screen play and the Best Actress award.

Adding to its festival participations in a string of highly prestigious international film festivals, Factory Girl had its North American premiere at Montreal World Film Festival in Canada, and then was part of ANA Contemporary Arab Cinema Festival in New York. On November 9th, 2014, Factory Girl concluded the screenings of Twin Cities Arab Film Festival in Minnesota, USA, which was held under the patronage of Mizna.

The film was also screened as part of Shanghai International Film Festival and at the opening ceremony of the Arab Film Festival in Seoul, Korea. Also, the film has taken part in the 20th Kolkata Film Festival in India within Focus: Arabian Countries section, which showcased 7 films from the Arab world that achieved artistic triumphs at international film festivals.

Moreover, Mohamed Khan’s Factory Girl was showcased at Safar: A Journey Through Popular Arab Cinema in London, which took place at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). The film has also been part of the 34th African Film Festival of Verona in Italy within Panorama Africa competition, which encompassed 10 African feature-length films.

Following its screening at Franco Arab Film Festival in Jordon, Factory Girl was featured at Carthage Film Festival within Special Sessions section.

The Arab Cinema Center (ACC) is the first Arab gathering of its kind across international film festivals, and functions as an international platform to promote Arab cinema and as a channel to provide access to Arab films and talents. Through its diverse activities, it will disseminate information internationally concerning film production in the Arab world, creating an opportunity for Arab filmmakers to explore and network with the international film industry professionals, production companies’ representatives, distribution slates and the organizations investing in co-productions.

Berlin International Film Festival is regarded as an exciting, cosmopolitan cultural hub as it annually attracts 20,000 film professionals and media figures from all over the world. It is one of the biggest cinema platforms with more than 300,000 sold tickets from 400 films, taking part in each edition. In 2014, Berlinale attracted nearly 490,000 cinephiles and its EFM (5-13 February) is considered one of the most 3 important film markets in the world.

Factory Girl’s screening times at the European Film Market:

Saturday, February 7 at 10:45 am at CineStar1


Photo of Alaa Karkouti

Photo of Mouhamed Keblawi

The Official Trailer of Factory Girl
Poster of the film

Stills from the film

Click here for The Factory Girl Official Trailer

Alaa Karkouti




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FG Trailer

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The foreign-language features will be distributed by FilmRise


Post on 9-27 for GFI

‘Bad Hair’

The Global Film Initiative has chosen 10 films from around the world for its 2014 Global Lens Films Series, which is distributed by the New York-based FilmRise. The 10 titles also will be added to the 96-title GFI library, whose exclusive distribution rights FilmRise, headed by CEO Danny Fisher, acquired last year.

The new film lineup includes Turkey’s 11’e 10 kala (10 to 11) and Babamin sesi (Voice of My Father), India’s Chitra Sutram (The Image Threads), Armenia’s Yerku ashkharhic i hishatak (From Two Worlds as a Keepsake), Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Halimin put (Halima’s Path), Venezuela’s Pelo Malo (Bad Hair) Rwanda’s Imbabazi (The Pardon), Morocco’s Wadaan Carmen (Adios Carmen), Cameroon’s Ninah’s Dowry and Egypt’s La Moakhza (Excuse My French).

Over the past 10 years, the Global Film Initiative has provided grants and distribution support for the Global Lens series, which supports filmmakers in the developing world by providing programming for festivals, libraries, cultural institutions, schools and art house cinemas throughout North America.

“We are excited to leverage our partnership with FilmRise as we continue our work to present the very best of world cinema as a means of promoting cross-cultural understanding,” Susan Weeks Coulter, founder and board chair of the Global Film Initiative, said.

GFI’s long-time EDU writer, Kathy Warren, receives her Phd in online learning! Congratulations, Kathy!

Kathy Warren

News: Global Lens 2013 in Cairo!

Recently, Global Lens 2013 was hand-delivered to William Wells, Executive Director of The Townhouse, in Cairo Egypt, by one of GFI’s longtime San Francisco friends and supporters, Kurt Oberhuis. As part of our ongoing support, offering visibility to Global Lens filmmakers through a few international cultural venue partners, we are pleased to donate this curated series of films from countries rarely screened in Egypt.

In addition, The Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art in Cairo, Egypt recently hosted screenings of Global Lens 2007 in January and February. This “global partnership” is an exciting innovation to our series and in the coming year, GFI hopes to extend the reach of Global Lens through similar partnerships around the world.

TW Link

To donate this curated series of films, The Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art is one of the region’s leading independent spaces for the arts, and provides an extensive program of visual arts, film, theatre and music, and also focuses on community development initiatives and educational programs.





























Click here for more photos and information on The Townhouse

A Box of Cookies Goes A Long Way

The Girl Scout Troop 30537 of St. Theresa School in Oakland Hills, CA generously donated a thousand dollars from their cookie sales to the The Daughter’s Voice, a film about abolishing the Nepalese practice of Kamlari, or selling girls into slavery. At the end of the film presentation, the producer, Ray Cox, and director, Robin Martarotti, were very impressed by the intelligent questions the girls asked about the Kamlari issue and their genuine concern for the girls who are still in slavery. Cox and Martarotti were surprised when the troop sales manager and a business partner handed them a check for matching funds and were very grateful to accept the heartfelt donation!

These Girl Scouts are gearing for another significant donation toward another worthy  cause in order to continue making contributions not only to their community, but nationwide.   Girl Scouts GFI

The Daughter’s Voice is an inspiring story about humanity’s greatest aspiration – the quest for freedom; a story of how a small non-profit turned a population against the practice of selling young girls into indentured servitude.

In early 2000, the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) launched a program to eradicate the Kamlari practice in of slavery based on the selling of young girls into indentured servitude. In just 14 years, NYF has rescued almost an official ban on the Kamlari system, and turned the cultural tide against this inhumane  practice. This scale of success unprecedented and it’s  a lesson for the world.                                        The GS

Click here to learn more about the film

Click here for their funding proposal

Click here for a special documentary and the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)

The Genius of Marian

Clay Theater

On June 12th, more than 250 people gathered at the historic Clay Theater in San Francisco to meet Dr. Bruce Miller, UCSF Dept. of Neurology Memory and Aging Center and filmmaker, Banker White, at the screening of his extraordinary documentary film, The Genius of Marian—an intimate portrait exploring the tragedy of Alzheimers, the power of art, and the meaning of family.

As our population ages and so many are connected to someone struggling with Alzheimer’s, The Genius of Marian offers inspiration, illuminating the love and dignity to be found along the journey.

Flyer TGM


Taco Truck




Former Peace Corps Volunteer Teams Up With Village in Ghana to Produce Feature Film

Bay Area Filmmaker Travis Pittman, recently completed the production of a narrative film in Ghana called, Nakom.  The film is a co-production, Ghana and US; Pittman co-wrote the script, with Isaac Awinimi, a talented writer and resident of the remote village of Nakom. Pittman lived and worked in this same village for two years in Ghana and served from 2006-2008.

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Isaac AwinimiNakom Film







Writer/Director Travis Pittman              Producer/Co-Writer Isaac Awinimi                 Featured Film, Nakom

Despite the film’s typical low-budget production, Nakom captures intricate sensibility and at the same time brings to life the crisis of a new generation, caught between tradition and modernity. The film illustrates the story of a talented medical student forced to return to his home village in Ghana to face the realities of a struggling farm, his family’s survival, and the choice between two very different futures after the untimely death of his father. It’s an intimate and realistic portrait of a family in northeastern Ghana with broad societal implications…revealing universal struggles and a complicated linear notion of development. Pittman refers to his extraordinary team as being in a unique position to speak to the issues of “globalization-of the urgent”, choices the whole world is making in reconciling different ways of living, while retaining and recognizing the good of the past and embracing the possibilities of the future.

Pittman’s team had recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the vital funds for post-production.

Click on this link for more information on the film: