SUPPORT: E Pluribus Unum

Thousands of stories in the evolution of one world

Nigerian writer Chimanda Ngozi Adichie and the Danger of the Single Story

In just a few days, we’ll be announcing our Winter 2012 grantees–ten films by ten filmmakers that, coincidentally, mark our tenth year of grantmaking.

It’s a significant milestone, and an auspicious occasion. And like all granting cycles, it affords a moment to reflect on the statement we’re making. Because in awarding these grants, we are of course saying that of the hundreds of projects we reviewed, these ten are “the best”… But are they?

A few years ago, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a TEDtalk about the “danger of the single story.” Her essential point was that no one story, no singular history or perspective, is the only story—and believing otherwise is what leads to the inability of many people to be sympathetic, if not empathetic, toward other cultures.

It’s a simple and true analysis, most people do tend to only hear the story that’s within earshot—whether that comes from their government, history, religion, family or community. And it’s a sentiment that often echoes in mind, especially when we award grants to filmmakers or, choose films for Global Lens: Are we telling a single story?

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GRANTING: Victor Viyuoh, from Here to Eternity  

GFI grantee Victor Viyuoh conquers uncountable production delays, three crashed vans and one successful Kickstarter campaign to live up to the title he earned nearly ten years ago

Photo: Film Independent

In 2003, Victor Viyuoh, a young director born and raised in Cameroon, was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Indie Film. He had just completed his first short film, MBOUTOUKOU, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and received a Competition Award for best narrative short at the SXSW Film Festival.

It sounded like the beginning of a steadily rising career, but early success didn’t mean Victor would be free of setbacks—far from it, in fact. Between shipping misadventures, unfortunate climate changes and uncanny bad luck with production vehicles, the filming of his first feature, NINAH’S DOWRY, seemed doomed to begin with (Victor’s account of the process is the stuff nightmares are made of).

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Deep in the Heart of Texas: Global Lens at the San Antonio Museum of Art!

Okay, everyone, full disclosure here: I’m ashamed to admit it, but I know next to nothing about San Antonio. I know a little bit about the Alamo, sure, but not nearly as much as I should. I know that Carol Burnett and Joan Crawford are both from there, but I learned that just now from the Internets. What I do know quite well, however, is that if you happen to be in San Antonio and you’re looking for the best in world cinema, then you’re in luck. All you have to do is head over to the San Antonio Museum of Art and drop in on a Global Lens 2012 film!

This is the Museum’s first year hosting the series, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with them. Responsible for the collaboration are the delightful Katie Erickson (Director of Education) and the equally delightful Nicole McLeod (Assistant Director of Education) who’s mutual love of movies inspired them to explore different ways of offering film programming at their (beautiful) institution, tailoring the programming to SAMA’s permanent collection. When speaking to her over the phone recently, Katie noted that she and Nicole first became interested in GFI because their collection is encyclopedic in nature — spanning continents and many cultures — and so Global Lens seemed to be a

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GFI @ the Sierra Leone International Film Festival

How a chance encounter turned into an uncommon opportunity to support Sierra Leone’s first-ever international film festival

We’ve always invested in Africa. Grants. Film exhibitions. Time. It’s been one of the many beating hearts, since our founding, that has kept the Global Lens film series, and the Initiative, alive.

A few months ago, outside a very crowded bar in San Francisco, Kieran Ridge, advisory board member of the Palo Alto Film Festival—one of our newest partners—had the insight to introduce us to someone with a very similar commitment to Africa: Banker White, of WeOwnTV. You may recognize the name, as a few years ago, Banker directed a documentary about a music innovation in Freetown called the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars.

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EDUCATION: Change the Way You See the World…One Film at a Time

Film still from CRAFT

We’re literally all over the map with education this spring—new 2012 EDU films and discussion guides, high school screenings via World Cinema Week and a partnership with our Ninth Street neighbor, TILT!

Oh, the places we’re going with education this spring! This April, we continue our quest to change the way you see your world with new EDU films and discussion guides for teachers and students all across the country, and coast-to-coast. And speaking of coasts, we’re also venturing into new waters by hosting an educational screening for students right here on our home-turf @ the Ninth Street Independent Film Center! So much great news—read on!

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People in Film: Annemarie Jacir (via Doha Film Institute)

Annemarie Jacir, director of WHEN I SAW YOU (2011 GFI grantee), talks to the Doha Film Institute about the inspiration and origins of her work

Photo: Doha Film Institute

(via Doha Film Institute) Annemarie Jacir is an acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter living in Jordan. Two of her films have premiered as official selections at the Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature film, “Salt of this Sea”, was Palestine’s official Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film.

Jacir lived in Saudi Arabia until the age of sixteen, and received her formal education in the United States. She began her work in the theatre, writing and directing plays. Her career in cinema began as an editor and camerawoman. She worked in the film industry in Los Angeles before attending Columbia University in New York to obtain a degree in film. She is the co-founder of Philistine Films, an independent production company which focuses on the Arab world. Jacir is also an author and poet. Her poetry and stories have been published in “Mizna”, “The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology” and the collection “Poets for Palestine”.

She lives in Amman and is currently in postproduction on her new film “When I Saw You”.

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Sofia IFF, Festivalissimo, SAFTAs, Berlin IFF and more!

BEAUTY shines at the South African Film and Television Awards, THE BODA BODA THIEVES nabs the top pitching prize in Berlin, and more great news about Global Lens films and GFI grant recipients!

Producers James Tayler and Sarah Muhoho (THE BODA BODA THIEVES, dir. Donald Mugisha, Uganda) at the Berlin International Film Festival! Photo: bizcommunity.com.

The past few weeks have been nothing short of spectacular for Global Lens films and GFI grantees, and we’re very proud to announce the latest scoop!

First, news about GFI grantees:

BEAUTY (dir. Oliver Hermanus, South Africa, 2010 grant recipient) was awarded Best Director and Best Actor at the South African Film and Television Awards!

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Global Lens Goes Public!

The Brooklyn Public Library

Our public library program is in full swing this spring with the Brooklyn Public Library! San Francisco and Missoula are next, with Memphis and Park City on the horizon…

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we love public libraries. From their goals of public education and engagement, to the diverse architecture of buildings large and small all across the country—they are cultural icons that hold a physical space in every community, and represent a truly free exchange of ideas that we cherish.

And so, this month, in homage to our ever-growing affinity for public libraries, our friends at the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) will be presenting our most favorite film series, Global Lens 2012, to audiences in one of New York’s most celebrated boroughs.

Why? Because BPL is one of a handful of lucky institutions invited this year to join our Global Lens Public Library Program, which we launched last year to promote education and cultural literacy in communities all throughout the United States (some of you may remember that we partnered with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries to kick off the program).

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NOW PLAYING: Morteza Farshbaf’s MOURNING and Nine Other Films to Watch–Everywhere!

Farshbaf fashions a consistently surprising and blackly comic road trip that may herald the arrival of a major new Iranian talent.“ -Institute of Contemporary Arts

The story: In the wake of his parents’ disappearance, a young boy is placed in the care of his deaf aunt and uncle who, during a road trip to Tehran, engage in a silent but apparently not-so-secret debate about the child’s future.

Iranian filmmaker Morteza Farshbaf’s master class on subtlety and sign language is now available for booking in your festival or theater, along with nine other award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the new Global Lens 2012 series.

Programmers and curators: View the 2012 lineup now on Festival Scope and email us at bookings@globalfilm.org to schedule the films today!

Film fans and enthusiasts: Read the list below and click on the map to find out where you can catch these fantastic films!

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INTERVIEW: Gustavo Pizzi on Honing a CRAFT

Brazilian director Gustavo Pizzi speaks to Rob Avila about collaborating with wife and lead actress, Karine Teles, to bring his first feature film to the screen…

Brazilian director Gustavo Pizzi’s mesmerizing first feature, CRAFT, explores a brief but important period in the life of an aspiring actress named Bianca (played memorably by co-screenwriter and the director’s wife, Karine Teles). While the story pivots on a career-changing opportunity handed the talented but long-struggling Bianca, CRAFT is just as concerned with the daily travails, compromises, and boredom faced by a working-class female artist in the bustling, sometimes unsparing metropolis of Rio de Janeiro. Teles’s brilliant performance and the film’s ingenious use of varying formats and perspectives offers the audience access to the private perspectives, creative energies, and emotional landscape of its subject. We glimpse a human being trying to strike some balance with a world too ready to reduce her to an “extra” of one kind or another, and an artist resolved to pursue her passion despite hardships and setbacks.

Gustavo Pizzi is a young-looking man in his early 30s with a warm and thoughtful disposition. He was sporting a dark beard and thick-framed glasses when I met him in the crowded bar-lounge tucked into the spacious lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, ahead of CRAFT’s premiere at the Museum of Modern Art last January. We ordered coffee and waxed on for a few moments about the

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