SUPPORT: You Say “Tomato” and I Say “Tomahto”

Global Lens and promoting a difference of opinion for the sake of diversity

Global Lens: grindhouse, arthouse, our house

Every year, we do our best to bring you the best in independent world cinema. And over the years, if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that tastes vary from person to person and often what we see in a film isn’t always the same as what you see…

Earlier this year, we released what some audiences describe[d] as a “slasher” film–and others describe as an iconic representation of the “Indian New Wave.” For us, Sidharth Srinivasan’s SOUL OF SAND is an eccentric thriller that ‘delves into the dark interstices between Indian modernity and tradition,’ and for Memphis-based critic, John Beifuss:

“A blunt horror-art hybrid… With one foot in the arthouse and the other in the grindhouse.” [more]

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Picture This: Reinventing the Single-Screen Cinema in Westchester

GFI chats with Global Lens partner The Picture House about history, change, and making the switch from commercial theater to arthouse cinematheque

A single screen, many stories

Last week we posted about the unfortunate closure of the Red Vic Movie House, one of San Francisco’s most unique and celebrated arthouse theaters for the past 31 years. As an antidote to that sad event, today we bring you a profile of The Picture House, Westchester County’s gorgeous single-screen theater that specializes in showing the best in independent, international and classical cinema.

A new screening-partner of ours, The Picture House hosted Global Lens 2011 last month, which of course included A USEFUL LIFE, Federico Veiroj’s bittersweet homage to cinephile culture. But unlike the film’s Cinemateca Uruguay, which is forced to close after the archive fails to make financial ends meet (and as other theaters across the United States are actively moving away from arthouse fare in favor of the latest blockbusters), the Picture House recently made the bold decision to a switch from a first-run commericial theater to an arthouse cinematheque. This past week we caught up with Jennifer Christman, Executive Director of The Picture House, to discuss this impressive move and the future of their institution.

Can you give our readers a brief overview of The Picture House, its history

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NOW PLAYING: Traverse City Film Festival, Cleveland Cinematheque, Salt Lake Film Society and more!

Films from the Global Lens 2011 film series are now playing at the following venues and festivals across the U.S. and Canada:

Brooks Museum of Art/Indie Memphis (Memphis, TN): Presenting the complete Global Lens 2011 film series Check the film calendar for screening information

Cinema St. Louis/Webster University (St. Louis, MO): Presenting the complete Global Lens 2011 film series Check the film calendarfor screening information

Global Lens now playing on Virgin American flights!

Northwest Film Center (Portland, OR): Presenting the complete Global Lens 2011 film series Check the film calendar for screening information

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Closing Thoughts: Independent Theaters Take a Final Curtain Call

The Red Vic in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood (Photo courtesy of the Bay Citizen)

Art imitates life as San Francisco pays homage to an arthouse icon and A USEFUL LIFE

On Monday, July 25th, San Francisco’s iconic and eclectic Red Vic Movie House will roll its reels for the last time. After 31 years filled with unconventional programming, squeaky bench seating, and a spice rack filled with popcorn accompaniments, the theater’s first film, “Harold and Maude,” will become it’s last. It’s a sad day for film lovers in San Francisco.

Rumors of closure had been swirling since last year, but financial troubles and dwindling attendance numbers finally conquered the beloved movie house. Of course, just because it’s been a slow goodbye doesn’t make it any easier. In an interview with the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Red Vic collective member Claudia Lehan called the process “’kind of like doing a bit of grief counseling. People who you tell are really sad about it. I think for us we’re sad but we’re kind of at the acceptance stage…. It’s just a different world.’”

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Berlin, Karlovy Vary, Durban and more!

Great news, accolades and accomplishments abound for Global Lens films and GFI grant recipients! Congratulations to the following films and filmmakers:

THE LIGHT THIEF received a World Cinema Fund for distribution at the Berlin International Film Festival! Directed by Aktan Arym Kubat and currently touring in the Global Lens 2011 film series, THE LIGHT THIEF tells the story of an enterprising electrician in Kyrgyzstan and the effect of outside influences on his village—read the film’s review in Screen Daily here.

BELVEDERE screened at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the East of West section, which focuses on films of the former Eastern Bloc. Directed by Ahmed Imamovic and part of the Global Lens 2011 film series, the film follows a woman searching for her family in the aftermath of the Sbrenica massacre. For more information about the recent burial of the Sbrenica victims, click here.

On the heels of recent success in Cannes, GFI grant recipient SKOONHEID will be screening at the Durban International Film Festival, marking the film’s premiere in it’s native country! To read an interview

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OPEN MIC: Carnival Barking, or the Art of Reviewing Films

Will Stephenson—film student, columnist, curator, radio host and friend of GFI—looks at SOUL OF SAND and his own process for critiquing films

As an amateur critic and programmer based in Athens, Georgia, I spend a lot of time arguing the merits of films that many readers and viewers are otherwise just as happy ignoring, like stop-motion animation from the Czech Republic or 1940s zombie movies based on Jane Eyre. This is almost always rewarding and sometimes shockingly easy, as the greatness and/or strangeness of the objects can often speak for themselves, in which cases my job (which I feel lucky to have, even at an unprofessional level) consists of something like carnival barking.

But in writing about new art-house releases or curating a series with no readymade theme, the challenge (and appeal) generally involves attempting to dispel certain preconceptions about genres, national cinemas, and canons—all of which begin as useful classifications or critical tools, but can very easily lead to a disheartening reduction in the types of films people see and the ways they relate to them. The best critics work to collapse tired categories and oversimplifications, contesting and expanding our received notions about the medium. They surprise us, basically. And not to lapse into boosterism, but this is also a way of describing the Global Film Initiative’s objective, and it’s why I’ve enjoyed interning here. The films we distribute are difficult in that

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Film on Fishermen Escapes Scissorhands (IBN Live/New Indian Express)

GFI congratulates grantee Leena Manimekalai on gaining CBFC-clearance for SENGADAL, THE DEAD SEA

A scene from Leena Manimekalai's SENGADAL, THE DEAD SEA

(via IBN Live/New Indian Express) Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai has found her shaken faith in democracy restored. At the end of a long battle, her film, ‘Sengadal, the Dead Sea,’ was cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) with an ‘A’ certificate without any cut for theatrical release.

This docu-fiction, which portrays the plight of the families of fishermen, who were allegedly killed by the Lankan Navy at sea, was earlier shot down by the regional censor board on the grounds that it contained “political reference in a denigrating way on the functioning of Indian and Sri Lankan governments”.

The filmmaker decided to challenge the ban with the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) authorities, New Delhi. [more…]

GFI’s Summer Squad

Today is Intern Appreciation Day at GFI! Well really, every day is Intern Appreciation Day at GFI, but today comes with pizza and Kettle Chips to show for it!

This summer has graced us with some amazingly talented folks. From helping us watch hundreds of screeners to compiling publicity packets for each DVD release, they put the “initiative” in Global Film Initiative and help us do what we do. In fact, we couldn’t do it without them.

They’re all pretty interesting people to boot, so without further ado, let’s meet the crew!

Sarah Barness Graduated from: UC Berkeley Major: Rhetoric and Media Studies Favorite Film: Paper Moon While interning at GFI I’ve learned that…an honest review is most valuable. When I’m not interning at GFI, you can find me…playing my banjo. Someday I want to…be an art historian who does costume and set design for period piece films.

 

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Leading Ladies Lead the World

A fast glance at five actresses making headlines on the global indie circuit

Artika Sari Devi

Tannishtha Chatterjee seems to be everywhere nowadays. And in case you hadn’t heard, Artika Sari Devi is starring in a new film and Gina Pareño is nearing 125 film and television productions. It’s rumored that Do Thi Hai Yen is about to be the face of a new Louis Vutton ad-campaign. And, of course, there’s Denise Newman

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