INTERVIEW: Real Lives Beneath a Shifting Surface–Director Zhang Yuan on BEIJING FLICKERS

BEIJING FLICKERS director Zhang Yuan explores through film the effect of China’s cultural movement on the subsequent generations.

Rob Avila talks with the legendary director about more than two decades of filmmaking in China, and Zhang’s outsider generation…

A singular pioneer of China’s Sixth Generation of filmmakers, Zhang Yuan graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1989. It was the year of Tiananmen Square and the June 4 crackdown, when China’s budding democracy movement—encouraged by reforms set in motion by Deng Xiaoping—met the tanks and guns of Deng’s resolutely authoritarian regime. Zhang’s first film, made at this time, was an auspicious sign of the life that would continue to find avenues of expression beneath the surfaces of an old order and the roiling changes encouraged by its new economic policies.

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INDUSTRY: Behind the Scenes at the Global Lens 2013 MoMA Premiere

(L-R) Eric Schnedecker (Head of Sales-Acquisitions, Urban Distribution International), Rebeca Conget (Vice President Acquisitions and Distribution, Film Movement), Global Lens 2013 director Sebastián Silva, filmmaker Julia Solomonoff and Santhosh Daniel (Director of Programs) enjoy the party.

And this year was especially epic: A celebration of ten years of Global Lens films and the amazing partnerships we’ve formed over the years.

Jytte Jensen and MoMA, our founding partners, were the most gracious hosts ever.

The China Institute threw a wonderful reception to honor Zhang Yuan and our opening film BEIJING FLICKERS (and Zhang Yuan and Li Xinyun stole the show with their presence).

We couldn’t have asked Suman Ghosh and Sebastian Silva for better introductions to their films.

Rob Avila came through in wonderful fashion with director interviews (read our latest with Zhang Yuan here), and a whole host of friends, filmmakers, and film lovers came out to join in all the fun!

As February rolls around, we’re already full-speed ahead into our North American tour: from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to a local theater in Juneau, Alaska. (Check out our calendar for more info!) Craving more instant updates? Head over to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!

And now, the round-up of snapshots from the milestone event!

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NEWS: Ashim Ahluwalia @ San Francisco Film Society, February 23rd-March 9th

Ashim Ahluwalia

Ashim Ahluwalia

SF Film Society announces its newest Artist in Residence and it happens to be one of our filmmakers. How LOVELY…

After what seems to be the longest drum-roll ever, we’re pleased to announce that Indian director (and GFI grantee) Ashim Ahluwalia will be visiting the Bay Area next month as part of the San Francisco Film Society’s Artist in Residence program, February 23rd-March 9th!

The residency will feature the Bay Area premiere of MISS LOVELY–Ashim’s second feature, post Cannes, currently in Rotterdam, big stuff—on Thursday, January 28th (co-presented by GFI–tickets here), and a post-screening discussion moderated by Ivan Jaigirdar (of 3rdi). Also included in the residency will be visits to schools and universities, and in-classroom screenings of Ashim’s first film, JOHN & JANE (students only).

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GRANTING: The World is Our Oyster

Thirty-nine nations in the Winter 2013 grant-cycle comprise what could very well be our most diverse group of applicants (and undiscovered cinematic pearls), to date…

We’re at it again, folks; the Global Film Initiative is diving through our first batch of Granting Program applications for the Winter 2013 Granting Cycle for feature film productions, and what an array of projects to behold during this, our tenth year of granting…

This cycle could very well be our most diverse applicant pools, as Asia is now the leader of the pack, taking Latin America’s long-time lead. At the same time, Africa and the Middle East have increased their representation in our Granting Cycle, proving that our applicant pool is becoming more and more regionally diverse!

While we can’t share too many details until grant awards are announced in April, here are a few highlights to wet your appetite:

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NOW PLAYING: A (Not-so) MODEST RECEPTION for Global Lens 2013

Ringing in the New Year with fresh films and packed houses…

A new year means a whole new slate of incredible films from Global Lens! Oh, you haven’t seen the 2013 lineup yet? Not to worry—you can check it out here! The series just wrapped its two-week premiere at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and next month will begin playing at select venues throughout the United States and Canada.

Which means, if you’re a festival, theater or other venue, Global Lens 2013 is now open for booking! And you may want to get a jump on a particularly popular new title, Mani Haghighi’s Iranian MODEST RECEPTION, which has been playing everywhere recently—MoMA, Palm Springs IFF, Santa Barbara IFF, MFA Boston, MFA Houston, Smithsonian, Portland IFF… You get the idea.

In MODEST RECEPTION, a mysterious pair of urban sophisticates from Tehran travel the countryside in their Lexus coupe with the bizarre, inexplicable mission of pushing big bags of cash onto the locals they pass along the way. Something like Bonnie and Clyde in reverse, the couple (or are they siblings?) find that their job isn’t quite as simple as it should be, and their increasingly distressing encounters are alternately hilarious and alarming—sometimes existing somewhere in between.

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Berlinale, Rotterdam and Beyond

SO MUCH WATER (Uruguay) and A FOLD IN MY BLANKET (Georgia) @ Berlinale Panorama are just two jewels in a mother lode of GFI films, fests and awards this month….

SO MUCH WATER (Uruguay), GFI grant recipient, premieres at Berlinale!

 

It’s a new year and our Global Lens films and GFI grant recipients are back in a big way, with screenings all over Europe this month for some of the biggest conferences of world cinema on the globe, at Berlin, Rotterdam and beyond. Without further adieu, here are this month’s headlines:

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: The Berlin International Film Festival is always host of a wide array of world and European premieres, and this year these premieres include those of six GFI grant recipients—likely our greatest showing at Berlinale to-date!

For those of you attending Berlinale, be sure to catch our grant recipients—from Costa Rica to China—premiering and screening at this year’s festival:

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REVIEWS: SOUTHWEST, CAIRO 678, BEIJING FLICKERS, and more!

Global Lens 2013 premiered at Museum of Modern Art in New York, with all ten films playing over the course of this month, and we’ve rounded up the latest buzz on some of the films from The New York Times, Twitch and The New York Review of Books!

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NEWS: Eye of the Tiger

After a year of hunkering down and “getting it done,” GFI films make a spectacular splash at Rotterdam…

De Doelen @ IFFR

It’s no secret that since the dawn of our existence, the International Film Festival of Rotterdam (IFFR) has been one of our closest “professional” friends…

We’ve received golden advice from Simon Field on our Granting Program, and Sandra den Hamer sits on our Film Board. And, of course, as our filmmakers know, we’ve run around the world, from Busan to Valdivia, with our friends from Cinemart and Hubert Bals.

In other words, we love IFFR. Not just de Doelen, frites and films. Or the characteristic chill and rooftop cocktails. We love all those things, yes. But ultimately, what we cherish is the inspired purpose of the festival, and how it has launched (and loved), so many of the filmmakers we also support.

So, it’s with a great pride and pleasure that we note this year’s festival, IFFR 2013, is presenting more than just a few of our filmmakers. In Bright Future. Spectrum. And more:

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EDUCATION: Watch, Explore, Contribute: Global Lens-Based Tutorial Now Online!

In BORDER CAFE a woman earns economic independence and wins the love of this man with her cooking.

Kathy Warren, uses two Global Lens films to create unique online learning tutorials on Sophia.org

The Global Film Initiative asked Ms. Warren to describe the educational website and her inspiration for creating a tutorial with some of our award-winning Global Lens films:

GFI: Tell us a little bit about this website?

KW: Sophia.org is a website developed by Capella University, where I am working toward a Ph.D. in online learning design.

It is a free resource available to anyone, anywhere, to develop and run “tutorials” or lesson plans. The website has more than 28,000 tutorials, and lessons can contain videos, audio, links and other resources, for a class at school, or for a group discussion, or for just about any other learning opportunity.

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SPOTLIGHT: A Taste of Gasparilla

Following its January premiere at MoMA, Global Lens 2013 heads to Tampa and marks GFI’s sixth year working with Gasparilla…

Every January, without fail, we premiere a brand new Global Lens film series at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, before it begins its yearlong tour of the country the following month. And this February, the fine folks at the Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) will bring Global Lens to Tampa, FL, for its sixth consecutive year! Starting with Zhang Yuan’s wonderful BEIJING FLICKERS (the opening-night film at the MoMA premiere), GIFF will present two screenings each of all ten films at the Tampa Museum of Art throughout 2013, and most of the series will also be included in the festival proper, which runs from March 19th to the 24th.

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