3 on 1: MASQUERADES—from Concept to Comedy

Castro Marquee

Photo courtesy of the Arab Film Festival

For last month’s 3 on 1 column, three GFI staffers discussed the making of BECLOUD and how the film went from grant submission to Global Lens film, as well as how the director, Alejandro Gerber Bicecci, went from respected colleague to dear friend.

This month, in honor of our DVD release of the Algerian romantic comedy (and one-time Oscar hopeful) MASQUERADES, we’ve brought together three very special people to share their experience with the film: Director Lyes Salem, GFI Founder and Board Chair Susan Weeks Coulter and Michel Shehadeh, Executive Director of the Arab Film Festival.

Excerpts of our conversation with each are below and although everyone comes from a different country and background, together they prove that while a film may be subject to editing, language barriers or hectic screening environments, laughter never gets lost in translation!

Lyes Salem, director-writer-actor, on the concept behind MASQUERADES:

Lyes Salem on the set of MASQUERADES

As I was writing the script, I aimed at finding a balance between a surrealist depiction and an unlikely story—although I am not sure the story told in Masquerades is so unlikely!

In

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NOW PLAYING: Smithsonian Institution, AFI Silver Theatre, the Scottsdale International Film Festival 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:

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

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

Palm Springs Art Museum (Palm Springs, CA): Presenting the complete Global Lens 2011 film series Check the film calendar for screening information

Salt Lake Film Society (Salt Lake City, UT): Presenting the complete Global Lens 2011 film series Check the film calendar for screening information

Tampa Museum of Art/Gasparilla International Film Festival (Tampa, FL): Presenting the complete Global Lens 2011 film series Check the film calendar for screening information

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: Smithsonian Institution, AFI Silver Theatre, the Scottsdale International Film Festival and more!

Window to the World: Launching a Foreign Film Series in Edinburg, TX

GFI chats with The University of Texas-Pan American about unique collaborations, persistence, and bringing Global Lens to town

Nadia Gallegos (left) and Virgina Haynie Gause, the people responsible for bringing Global Lens to UTPA!

Sometimes we speak with a venue interested in hosting Global Lens, and everything falls into place relatively quickly and easily—screening facilities are available, marketing support is plentiful, and the schedule practically writes itself. In other instances, however, things don’t come together right away, and instead, it takes some time to actually “make it happen.” This was the case with The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA), who had been speaking with us off-and-on about organizing a Global Lens program on campus since 2008, but for various reasons, wasn’t able to do so until just this past year.

One of the factors that finally made it possible was the introduction of our Educational Affiliates program in which university and college libraries can purchase a full Global Lens DVD set and then screen those films for public audiences. This option, with its affordable cost and scheduling flexibility, allowed UTPA to show Global Lens 2010 on campus—screening a different film every month beginning at the end of 2010. This “experiment” of sorts proved to be a great success for UTPA, and they are now gearing

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Durban, San Sebastian, Montreal and more!

There’s a lot to celebrate these days! Congratulations to the following GFI grant recipients and Global Lens films:

 

GFI GRANT RECIPIENTS:

SKOONHEID was awarded Best South African Feature Film and Jury Special Mention Prize at the Durban International Film Festival, and will also be traveling to the Toronto International Film Festival in September! Read an interview with director Oliver Hermanus here.

San Sebastian Film Festival logoON THE PLANK will screen at the San Sebastian International Film Festival as part of the Zabaltegi Specials lineup (ON THE PLANK received the Cinema in Motion award at the festival last year). Watch a video of writer-director Leila Kilani speaking about the film here.

THE DEAD SEA will screen at the Montreal World Film Festival in the First Films Competition. This follows the film gaining CBFC clearance and having a successful world premiere at the FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Durban, San Sebastian, Montreal and more!

OPEN MIC: Film School, What Is It Good For?

Film student and GFI intern Erin Migdol brings the quarter-life crisis back into perspective

With university costs skyrocketing, jobs dwindling and Flip cams turning average videographers into YouTube sensations, film school may be becoming as outdated as the VCR.

That’s the idea a recent New York Times article explored in an effort to explain the changing job outlook for film school graduates. Apparently, as profits from home entertainment have decreased in recent years and a record number of students have entered film and media programs, low-level jobs for new graduates have become scarce—meaning an education in film no longer guarantees entry into the industry like it did before.

As a film studies major at UC Davis about a year away from facing this bleak outlook myself, of course the story got me a little worried.

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NEW ON DVD: MASQUERADES and SHIRLEY ADAMS!

MASQUERADES from Algeria and SHIRLEY ADAMS from South Africa available today!

We’re pleased to announce the DVD release of two new films from the Global Lens film series:

DVD coverMASQUERADES (MASCARADES) Dir. Lyes Salem Algeria, 2008, 92 minutes Arabic, with subtitles in English In a dusty Algerian village, a well-intentioned fib suddenly turns a gardener into a mogul, forcing him to choose between the happiness of his narcoleptic sister and his newfound celebrity; Official Algeria Submission for Best Foreign Language Film, 81st Academy Awards; FIPRESCI Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival.

A smart, expertly made crowd-pleaser. Masterfully sure of what it sets out to accomplish–and wise enough never to take itself too seriously.” -SF360

Undoubtedly, Masquerades markes Salem out as a talent we’ll certainly be seeing more of–and if his next work is as genial as this, the pleasure will be all ours.” -Screen Daily

For more information, visit: http://catalogue.globalfilm.org/masquerades.html

DVD coverSHIRLEY ADAMS Dir. Oliver Hermanus South Africa, 2009, 92 minutes Engish and Afrikaans, with subtitles in English In the depressed Cape Town neighborhood of Cape Flats, a single mother contemplates her fate and cautiously accepts the help of an overeager social worker as she struggles to care for her paraplegic and suicidal son; Best Director and Best Actress at the South

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SHIRLEY ADAMS: The Making Of

Denise Newman and friends take us into the mind, method and man behind SHIRLEY ADAMS

This month we release Oliver Hermanus’s Cape Town ode, SHIRLEY ADAMS, on home video. As most of you know, this is Oliver’s first film and was followed by SKOONHEID–a work supported by the Global Film Initiative, currently taking top honors at festivals worldwide. Of course, we take no credit for the intimate and ideological worlds portrayed in Oliver’s films, as these are brought to life through the skill of actors, such as Denise Newman (in the titular role of Shirley Adams). Below is a conversation with this award-winning actor and other cast members on the making of a masterpiece.

 

SUPPORT: Srebrenica and a Generation of Consciousness

Thoughts on BELVEDERE, ORDINARY PEOPLE and a quiet day in July

Remembering Srebrenica: a scene from Ahmed Imamovic's BELVEDERE

Srebrenica. A salt-mining town in Bosnia near the Serbian border, small and unassuming, like any semi-rural enclave. Yet, in 1995, it gained notoriety as the site of one of modern history (and warfare’s) most epic acts of genocide: an unparalleled massacre of human life, 8,000 mostly Muslim men and boys on a quiet day in July, that for years has breathed like an open wound, gone without closure and, seemingly disappeared from global public consciousness.

Until recently. In late-spring, the arrest and extradition of General Ratko Mladić (the individual widely believed to be the orchestrator of the Srebrenica massacre) to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), thrust the event back into a global spotlight. Mladić is the last of some 150+ fugitives identified by the United Nations as having committed war crimes during the Balkans conflict of the 1990s and his arrest—coupled with this summer’s arrest of accused war criminal, Goran Hadzic—marks another phase in the continuing odyssey of Balkans nations to move beyond the tragic inertia of its past.

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(Indie Memphis’s The Name) Our Latest Flame: Global Lens in the Summer!

I’ve never been to Memphis before, but if I had the good fortune of being able to visit this summer, there would definitely be a few things on my must-do list:

1. Like everyone else, visit Graceland, 2. See the ducks parade into the central fountain of the Peabody Hotel, 3. Check out Sun Studio, the birthplace of rock n’ roll, and 4. Head over to the Brooks Museum of Art to catch some Global Lens films.

2011 marks the 5th year in a row that Global Lens has made its way to Memphis, TN, and this would not be possible if not for the tireless efforts of Erik Jambor, Executive Director of the Indie Memphis Film Festival. Back in the early days, the annual Global Lens film series was included as a special sidebar within Indie Memphis’ wonderful weekend festival. But beginning in 2010, Erik expanded the series into a stand-alone summer program, spread out over 3 months at the Brooks, and effectively allowing more folks to enjoy the films.

Continue reading (Indie Memphis’s The Name) Our Latest Flame: Global Lens in the Summer!

MY TEHRAN FOR SALE Star Behind Bars (The Australian)

The fate of Marzieh Vafamehr, the star of the Australian film MY TEHRAN FOR SALE, remains in limbo after she was jailed in Iran.

Iranian actress Marzieh Vafarmehr in MY TEHRAN FOR SALE

(via The Australian) Although the Iranian judiciary said she would be released on bail last week, she is believed to still be imprisoned. Vafamehr starred in the South Australian-financed and produced film that was filmed largely guerilla-style in Iran. She appeared in the film—which is now more than two years old—without a hijab and shaved her head, though the reason for her imprisonment remains unclear other than being part of a broader Iranian crackdown. [more…]