EDUCATION: All Eyes on the Screen!

Staffer Angelica Dongallo, coordinator of GFI’s educational screening programs, explains why world cinema deserves a place in the classroom…and vice versa

Angelica Dongallo speaks to students and teachers attending our first-ever World Cinema Week screening @ Ninth Street!

Pencils down!

Before you naysayers say nay—just as the parents described in this post did—about screening films to students in the classroom, hear me out. I’m not referring to the Hollywood blockbusters used by many teachers (we’ve all encountered at least one during our school days) as mindless background noise at pizza parties or as a last-minute time-filler on days with no lesson plans. Rather, I speak of cinema (particularly independent world cinema) and its unique value when shown with an intent, a lesson plan, critical discussion questions, the works.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, it can and should be done. But first, some context…

Continue reading EDUCATION: All Eyes on the Screen!

Pat Guerra Joins the Global Film Initiative

Introducing GFI’s new Director of Business Development, and the 2.0 of the Global Film Initiative…

Pat Guerra, GFI Director of Business Development

It’s spring, Global Lens is in full bloom, and GFI is growing a new root: Pat Guerra, Director of Business Development.

Pat joins the current band of genius in our San Francisco office, and brings with him a depth and diversity in social enterprise and operations management, and a generous helping of that entrepreneurial spirit we love so much at the Initiative (he is a current member of the venture investment organization, Band of Angels, and also co-founder of the Global Social Benefit Incubator at Santa Clara University–created to help socially-minded entrepreneurs, worldwide, build sustainable, scalable organizations).

The addition of Pat to our staff couldn’t come at a better time, as 2012 is the Global Film Initiative’s tenth anniversary and the year in which we make some interesting, evolutionary changes. So, look for a new website this fall, and before that time, a few new partners–both within the film industry, and nationally and internationally. Also, keep your eye out for an upcoming announcement about Global Lens streaming (Hulu!).

All good changes. And, at the heart of it all, the same Global Film Initiative and Global Lens. Just with a few improvements ;)

Continue reading Pat Guerra Joins the Global Film Initiative

3 on 1: Adapt, Persevere and Thou Shalt Premiere

Bruno Bettati examines Latin American independents from the angle of producer, festival director and de facto industry historian…

Director of the Valdivia International Film Festival Bruno Bettati (left) and GFI Director of Programs Santhosh Daniel at the 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam

Five years ago I had the serendipity to meet Santhosh Daniel and establish a relationship between the Global Film Initiative and Valdivia International Film Festival (FICValdivia). Over that course of time, our institutions have both witnessed and contributed to the steady rise of the Latin American film industry. GFI eventually became a sponsor of FICValdivia activities for film professionals. Recently we met by chance on a distribution and production workshop while in Gijon, Spain—after which i felt compeled to say a few words about the evolution of Latin American film and our joint contribution to the production and distribution of these films. – Bruno Bettati

Against all odds, Latin American film producers continue to show a vitality to get their movies done. Perseverance and adaptation are key; with 36 months the average time it takes from the start of development until the festival première of a fiction feature film, the endurance of the producer is at permanent stake.

Continue reading 3 on 1: Adapt, Persevere and Thou Shalt Premiere

NOW PLAYING: GREY MATTER and Other Mind-Bending Masterpieces from Global Lens

From despair, art…. Acutely probing.“ -The New York Times

[Ruhorahoza's] brilliant ending distills the paradoxes of a false normalcy into a single, stinging shot.“ -The New Yorker

The story: After government officials decline to support his project, a determined filmmaker enlists the support of a loan shark to finance his trenchant drama about the aftermath and impact of genocide on a brother and sister.

Rwandan filmmaker Kivu Ruhorahoza’s radiantly self-referential film-within-a-film 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 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!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: GREY MATTER and Other Mind-Bending Masterpieces from Global Lens

OPEN MIC: An Antidote to Lost Opportunities

Alejandro A. Riera, of the Chicago Latino Film Festival, on giving Latin American cinema the respect it deserves, and working with GFI to bring new Global Lens films to the Windy City

As we celebrate our third year with GFI, Global Lens Series Manager Jeremy Quist asked me to reflect on the state of Latin American film distribution in the United States. And the more I thought about the subject, I found myself asking: When will Latin American cinema get the respect it deserves?

Yes, our cinema has an illustrious history that dates back to the silent era and includes such high points as the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema; the rise of Brazil’s Cinema Novo movement in the 50s and 60s; the emergence of post-Revolutionary Cuban cinema in the 60s and 70s; and, more recently, what some critics describe as the “New Argentinean Cinema.” And yet, even when countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela — not exactly film production powerhouses — are coming out with powerfully moving visual narratives, Latin America cinema keeps getting short shrift by media, critics and film distributors alike in this country, even though the growth of the Latino population outpaced any and all estimates.

Case in point: Miss Bala, Gerardo Naranjo’s extraordinary film about a beauty pageant contestant who unwittingly

Continue reading OPEN MIC: An Antidote to Lost Opportunities

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: The African Movie Academy Awards, Cannes, Ankara, Hong Kong and more!

A still from MISS LOVELY, 2010 GFI grant recipient and official selection of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival! Photo: Future East Film

MISS LOVELY has the Cannes-connection, the African Movie Academy salutes THE CAPTAIN OF NAKARA and THE MIRROR NEVER LIES reflects radiance with a win in Hong Kong!

Global Lens films and GFI grantees have sprung into action this April with awards and screenings at festivals around the world!

THE CAPTAIN OF NAKARA (dir. Bob Nyanja, Kenya, 2009 grant recipient) has been nominated in the 2012 African Movie Academy Awards for achievement in costume design! The film will compete with four other African films at the awards ceremony on April 22 in Nigeria—watch the trailer here.

FAITH (dir. Alejo Crisóstomo, Guatemala, 2011 grant recipient) screens at the Latin American Film Festival of Utrecht at the end of April, with Alejo himself in attendance to present the film! Read the festival’s interview with Alejo here.

Kamila Andini’s THE MIRROR NEVER LIES (Indonesia, 2011 grant recipient) was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at the Hong Kong International Film Festival!

MISS LOVELY (dir. Ashim Ahluwalia, 2010 grant recipient) was chosen as an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, and is the only film representing India in the festival lineup! Read what Ashim has to say

Continue reading FESTIVALS & AWARDS: The African Movie Academy Awards, Cannes, Ankara, Hong Kong and more!

GRANTING: GFI’s Winter 2012 Grantees Announced!

Newest grant recipients include five narrative feature film debuts from Albania, Georgia, Rwanda, Venezuela and Turkey! View the trailer of GFI 2012 grant recipient, THE PARDON!

The decisions are in.

We are very pleased to announce that after much deliberation, ten new films have been chosen to receive production funding of up to $10,000 each during the Winter 2012 granting cycle! The grant recipients hail from diverse nations and regions—from Peru’s mountainous countryside to the Philippines’ sandy shores—and include GFI’s first grantees from Croatia, Rwanda and Venezuela! Read the official press release here.

Continue reading GRANTING: GFI’s Winter 2012 Grantees Announced!