SUPPORT: You Say You Want A Revolution

Global Lens: Not just another brick in the wall

So innovate. Create. Free your mind…

I’ve always been partial to revolutions. Radical change. Regular change. The occasional uprising, literal or metaphoric. I suppose it’s impossible to not have such an affinity, raised in the U.S., offspring of twentieth century India, fan of Mexican muralists, with friends in Tahrir Square…

Revolution… A few days ago, while plotting an educational trajectory for Global Lens and the Initiative, I had an opportunity to sit in on a group of high school teachers, as they were planning their fall curriculum. And I happened to overhear:

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INTERVIEW: Capturing a Country in Transition

AMNESTY director Bujar Alimani, discusses the role of the artist in Alabania.

Painter-turned-filmmaker Bujar Alimani sat down with Rob Avila to talk about AMNESTY and Albania on the cusp of a new era…

Albanian filmmaker Bujar Alimani was born in the southwestern city of Patos, the center of Albania’s oil industry, in 1969. He trained as a painter and a stage director at the Academy of Fine Arts in Albania’s capital Tirana, before emigrating to Greece at the age of 19 and turning to filmmaking. After making three award-winning and internationally popular short films, he completed feature-length drama AMNESTY—a gorgeously lensed and finely acted story of doomed love set against a backdrop of social change in his native Albania. It won the Berlin International Film Festival’s C.I.C.A.E. Award in 2011 and was Albania’s official submission for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards. AMNESTY is currently being screened throughout the United States and Canada as part of the Global Film Initiative’s Global Lens 2012 film series.

I met Alimani on a brisk afternoon this past January in New York, a serious-looking man of solid build, with short-cropped black hair and a friendly, thoughtful demeanor. He cut a stoical figure as we sat in the bustling lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, not far from the Museum of Modern Art where AMNESTY was making its

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FEATURE: Education and Your Public Library

As more and more libraries join GFI’s Global Public program, Laura Brewer discusses how public libraries aren’t just for books anymore…

The dazzling interior of the Seattle Public Library.

Fall, or “Back-to-school” season, used to be one of my favorite times of year. I loved checking school supply items off my lengthy list. I looked forward to pouring over syllabi, seeing my friends more regularly, and holing up in the library doing research for term papers. But more than anything, by the end of August I was eager to leave summer’s freeform behind for the structure of the academic year.

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EVENTS: ‘A Perfect Cocktail’ Happy Hour

Gathering at Churchill for an end-of-summer celebration.

GFI’s recent Happy Hour, in partnership with Fandor, the Castro Theatre and CAAM, to present an end-of-summer happy hour at Churchill. It was a perfect way to conclude the season!

Summer is the time to take a break and remember the important things in life. As a globally-focused organization, we also love any opportunity to get together with our friends in our home-town San Francisco. With this in mind, on August 8th, GFI gathered our staff, interns and friends for an end-of-summer celebration. We sipped ‘GFI Mules’—the official drink of the evening—with our pals from Fandor, the Castro Theatre, and Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). It was a perfect cocktail of fun, free giveaways, and festivity.

GFI's Angelica and friends enjoying the night!

Winston Churchill once said: “I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.” With that inspiration and a location on Church Street, came our host for the evening: Churchill. The space was gorgeous and rustic, pairing wood and leather fixtures with brimming mason jars. The talented bartenders crafted the very delicious GFI Mule: a mix of bourbon, ginger beer, bitters, and lime just for us. It was the perfect spot for

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OPEN MIC: Sight(read)ing Music’s Unique Tones in Film

The film OPERA JAWA, based on Javanese legends.

GFI intern Natasha Hull-Richter sings out about the daring Global Lens film OPERA JAWA, and the ways in which music and film can change the way you see the world…

As a musician, I am particularly interested in the similarities between film and music. The many common elements that I have seen from previous experience and through my internship at GFI include the cultural importance and storytelling of music, of film and of music in film. A particular song or score at just the right moment in a film can express so much more than the scene alone.

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Toronto IFF, Montreal World FF, Cinema Digital Seoul FF and more!

MISS LOVELY, WHEN I SAW YOU and THE CREMATOR debut in Toronto, ROUTE OF THE MOON lights the way to Montreal and DON’T EXPECT PRAISES spices up Seoul!

GFI grant recipients are popping up all over the globe for screenings at festivals near you—catch them while you can!

GFI grant recipient DON'T EXPECT PRAISES will have its world premiere at the Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival! Photo: Yang Jin

CINEMA DIGITAL SEOUL FILM FESTIVAL: World premieres by our grant recipients always make us feel a bit like proud family members, and among the premieres this month is that of DON’T EXPECT PRAISES (dir. Yang Jin, China, 2011 grant recipient)! The film makes its official debut at the Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival, and we couldn’t be more excited for it!


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INDUSTRY: Expression, Grace and Life — Film by Film

Cathlene Stubbs, founder of the first annual Zendegi Film Festival, on making a difference in her community… one film at a time.

A couple months ago we were contacted by a young woman in Nevada City, CA, who wanted to make a difference in her community. Her dream was to create a small festival that focused on the beauty of Middle Eastern and North African culture, rather than heavy political statements – and that idea has grown into the first annual Zendegi Film Festival (Zendegi means “life” in Farsi). We were very impressed with Cathlene’s project and her enthusiasm, and so we asked her to write a guest post about why she decided to put this festival together, and why she contacted GFI. Here’s what she had to say:

As Americans, we are primarily exposed to western media, giving ourselves a relatively limited cultural view of the world. Our news and popular entertainment, especially in times of political unrest, can sometimes further misunderstandings and contribute to fear-based decisions. Historically, the image of the Middle East and North Africa has been portrayed strictly as lower class, violent and oppressive. And very rarely are these regions represented as diverse and deeply rich in cultural tradition and vibrant lifestyles.

Artistic expression is the foundation of everyday life across the globe, and so I wanted to showcase in my community the voices of expression that exist throughout the Middle

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EDUCATION: Globally Minded Teachers Are Key to Globally Minded Citizens

In anticipation of the new school year—and International Education Week 2012—here’s a spotlight on a group of inspiring teachers who know how to think outside the box…

Teachers. They make the world go ‘round…and we love them for that.

In particular, there are a number of globally minded high school teachers who definitely deserve a shout-out for recently screening Global Lens films to their students during World Cinema Week (an annual event sponsored by our Education Program). Get inspired by these educators’ stories, especially as we look forward to the new school year and to our next Education Program-sponsored event: International Education Week (November 12-16, 2012)!

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SPOTLIGHT: Cinema Comes to Life in Salt Lake City

As the Salt Lake Film Society prepares to present Global Lens 2012, Jeremy Quist reveals some secrets about his relationship with Utah, and makes you an offer you can’t refuse…

Although I’ve spent very little time there, the great state of Utah has managed to figure quite prominently in my life. For starters – and this is where we all get to learn a little something about Jeremy – I used to clog when I was (much) younger, and every summer we would sharpen our skills by attending the BYU Cougar Clogging Classic dance camp in Provo. Secondly, almost four years ago my wife and I decided to move from New York to San Francisco, and the memory of driving our rental truck for several hours through the salt flats of western Utah, still remains unbelievably vivid in my mind. And last but certainly not least, when I started working for the Global Film Initiative several years ago, the Salt Lake Film Society (SLFS) was one of the very first Global Lens screening-partners I spoke to, and they have been a pleasure to work with ever since.

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NOW PLAYING: Take a Wild Ride with PEGASUS and Nine Other Global Lens Films that Will Send You Flying!

“Pegasus is a stunning film…a must watch film from a director who is quickly becoming one of the main voices of the New Moroccan cinema wave.” -Africa Screens

This month’s feature, PEGASUS, is all about memory, and you won’t be forgetting this filmmaker’s debut feature anytime soon. Mohamed Mouftakir’s eerie, David Lynch-like mind-twister—and winner of FESPACO’s highest honor, the appropriately titled Golden Stallion award—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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