GRANTING: Summer 2012 Deadline Approaching!

Filmmakers and producers: Apply for GFI production funding with your next narrative feature film project!

A still from BEATRIZ'S WAR (dir. Bety Reis, East Timor, 2011 grant recipient), East Timor's first locally produced and directed narrative feature film! (Photo: Fair Trade Films)

Attention all filmmakers! Ready your printers and prepare your most colorful stamps: GFI is currently accepting applications to our Summer 2012 granting cycle (view our Call for Applications here)!

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SUPPORT: Living Up To Our Name


The Science of Inertia: don't get him started (photo: Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones)

Looking down the rabbit hole at the genesis of “initiative,” global film and making a difference…

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved science. The systematic study of structure. Atoms crowding on the head of a pin. Discovery…

As an adult, I haven’t lost this love–ironically, it’s what led me to a career in the arts and The Global Film Initiative. Because I’ve always been fascinated by the [scientific] concepts of “inertia” and “potential energy” (that everything around us is simultaneously resisting change and has the potential to change), and how those concepts apply themselves in other elements of our world…

A stone rolls once pushed. Still water ripples when hit with a stone. Mick Jagger–if you start him up he’ll never stop. All that needs to occur is a decision to act. All that’s required to change a state of inertia or release potential energy is someone or something with… Initiative.

The Global Film Initiative began with this in mind, and it’s this guiding precept that has kept us inspired by what we do. The world around us evolves slowly, imperceptibly or sometimes not at all. But regardless, it is always ready for change. And once that change occurs it can repeat itself like rolling thunder…

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INDUSTRY: Royalties, a Cycle of Exchange

Animation from the short film "Welcome to the Anthropocene," showing trade routes around the world. (Image courtesy of Globaia, Planet Under Pressure, SEI, SRC, CSIRO)

An inside look at how GFI pays it forward…

With our offices located in the heart of San Francisco, three of us at GFI commute into the city from the East Bay via BART train. Right before our trains plunge down into the Bay tunnel, we pass through the Port of Oakland—the fifth busiest port in the United States. In the early morning light the cranes, long-haul semi-trucks, and 1st shifters dutifully continue the pace of a humming port that never sleeps.

The trade lines of global commerce blanket our world (as this short film beautifully depicts), and while globalization is a peculiar force—advantageous for some, exploitative of others, with many a PhD dissertation tracking its effects and the arguments for and against it—Oakland’s port provides a context in which to understand this massive international integration.

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NOW PLAYING: There Will Be No AMNESTY If You Miss Global Lens This Summer!

A subtle exploration of a society in flux and divided between morality and passion.“ -Cineuropa

Even in this, his first feature film, director Bujar Alimani demonstrates an assured hand, timing all his shots with precision so that they are lyrical and contemplative…“ -The Moving Arts Film Journal

The story: A new law allowing conjugal visits in Albanian prisons presents the opportunity for a sympathetic affair between a man and woman visiting their incarcerated spouses—until a prisoner amnesty threatens their fragile new bond.

First-time filmmaker Bujar Alimani’s sensual and pensive drama, AMNESTY (awarded the FIPRESCI Prize and Cineuropa Prize at the 2011 Festival del Cinema Europeo), 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!

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EDUCATION: In Defense of Foreign Films

Pavel (center) with GFI staff (from left): Global Lens Series Manager Jeremy Quist, Administrative Coordinator Emma Rae Lierley, Acquisitions & Granting Coordinator Angelica Dongallo, Marketing & Publicity Manager Hilary Lawson

Pavel Lozin, GFI Acquisitions intern superstar, presents his top five Global Lens picks!

First of all, please excuse me for my terrible English. Besides that…

I spend the major part of my free time on the cinema: writing screenplays, reading cinema-related books, watching films themselves. Why do I do that?

There are many reasons why I’m passionate about cinema, but one reason in particular is that cinema is yet a very young form of art in contrast to other forms of art like paintings, sculpture and literature. This, along with the fact that it only takes 1-2 hours to watch one film, means I have the potential to watch a fair percent of all films in my lifetime (as compared to books, for example).

In the past two years, I’ve watched more than 1,000 films total from around the world. More than 70 of them were part of GFI’s Global Lens film series, which I watched during my time as a volunteer intern here. I want to recommend my five favorite Global Lens series (2007-2012) films, which are not only attractive because of their cultural aspects, but which are also entertaining to watch:

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SPOTLIGHT: We’re Saying It Again!

Yep, here we are saying it again: We love public libraries. To be fair, though, we warned you we would and it will most certainly happen again. A few months ago we told you all about our new Global Lens Public Library Program, which opened in April at the Brooklyn Public Library, who will be closing the series on Tuesday, June 5th with a screening of TOLL BOOTH – and a special Q&A with the film’s producer, the estimable Engin Yenidunya (pictured here on the left with GFI’s amazing Marketing and Publicity Manager Hilary Lawson and TOLL BOOTH’s director, Tolga Karaçelik).

But it doesn’t end there! The month of June will also see the beginning of more Global Lens 2012 screenings at the San Francisco Public Library, which kicks things off on Monday, June 4th with Albania’s official submission to the 84th Academy Awards, Bujar Alimani’s AMNESTY. And then a couple weeks later, the Missoula Public Library will start their program with Gustavo Pizzi’s charming, honest CRAFT, which features one of the best performances I’ve seen in a while.

Special thanks, of course, goes to Meredith Walters in Brooklyn, Moazzam Sheikh in San Francisco, and Christine Hadlow in Missoula

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FEATURE: THE WHITE MEADOWS, a Symbolic Manifestation of the Lake Urmia Crisis

Aref Najafi, Co- Chair of the Lake Urmia Conservation Institute, on quenching a drying lake’s thirst with the tears of its people

A scene from THE WHITE MEADOWS (dir. Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran)

Lake Urmia is situated between the East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan provinces in Iran, where the majority of the action in THE WHITE MEADOWS takes place. It is the largest lake in the Middle East and the third largest salt water lakein the world. It is registered as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO and listed as a wetland of international importance under the 1971 Ramsar Convention, and holds one of the world’s richest bio-diversity. More than 210 species of birds such as flamingos, pelicans, spoonbills, and gulls, as well as many species of reptiles, amphibians, and mammals such as yellow deer inhabit the lake and surrounding area.

During the last decade, however, Lake Urmia has shrunk significantly and its depth has fallen by almost 7 meters (23 feet). Surface flow diversions, groundwater extraction, and the lack of efficient water management are the main factors to blame. Lake Urmia holds 8 billion cubic metric tons of salt. According to experts, if the lake completely dries up, a vast amount of salt will be released into the region resulting in an ecological, agricultural, and social catastrophe, not only in

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