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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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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TAKE INITIATIVE: The Theory (and Story) of Stone Soup

Soup's on: Matt Poland, CEO (far left) and Jerome Meyers, Public Services Director (far right), of the Hartford Public Libary with Jeremy Quist, Global Lens Series Manager and Santhosh Daniel, Director of Programs

Ten years later, the the folk tale is still the best way to define our community, films and programs

Do you know the story of “Stone Soup?” It goes something like this:

Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Suspicious, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food with the hungry travelers. So, the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire…

Eventually, one of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers declare, “We’re making stone soup!” “What does it taste like?” asks the villager. And the travelers say, “Why, it tastes wonderful—but could use something to improve the flavor.” Enchanted, the villager decides to give them a few carrots…

A few moments later, another villager walks by. And the travelers again mention their stone soup, which still needs “something” to make it just right. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. Eventually, more and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. And finally, the entire village adds a little something, and

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NEWS: Global Lens 2013 @ MoMA!

Global Lens 2013: Change the Way You See the World

Our tenth anniversary opens with China’s Sixth Generation, Sebastián Silva, the biggest film you’ve ever seen from Brazil (literally), and a host of Global Lens alumnus.…

It’s our tenth year and we’re kicking off Global Lens 2013, January 10th-26th, with ten films at the Museum of Modern Art! It’s going to be some celebration…

BEIJING FLICKERS will open the series on January 10th with a week-run at MoMA and director Zhang Yuan and actor Li Xinjun in attendance, to launch the festivities (a must see: Zhang is the acclaimed director of Beijing Bastards, and part of the gritty Sixth Generation ethos—who in the ‘90s, pushed Chinese filmmaking out of an overly-romanticized lens into the alter-reality of its edgy, urban psyche).

Also in New York for the GL13 opening: Suman Ghosh for the North American premiere of SHYAMAL UNCLE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS, on January 11th. This film is something to indeed be experienced with the director, as he runs his fingers through the tangled hair of Kolkata’s bureaucracy; an inspired and insightful work that carries a subtle charm, similar to another Global Lens standout.

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SUPPORT: Our Roots Are Showing

The Inauguration: MARGARETTE'S FEAST, the first film acquired for Global Lens

After years of ‘pushing the envelope’ and ‘changing the game’ with Global Lens, we went back to the basics for our tenth year…

Global Lens 2013 is just around the corner, and if you haven’t noticed [with all the fanfare], it’s the tenth anniversary of our most beloved series. A ‘decade of film’—from silent to sign language, notes of opera and narrative “firsts.” Baghdad. Mina Gerais. The Caspian Sea…

It’s an accomplishment. Over the years, almost 100 filmmakers, from backgrounds as varied and diverse as the history of cinema, trusted us to take their vision to screen via Global Lens. That we did, with the help of just a few thousand friends. And in just a few short weeks, we’ll be heading to New York to christen this tenth year of Global Lens with our very first friend: the Museum of Modern Art.

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NEW ON DVD: Mohammad Rasoulof’s THE WHITE MEADOWS

The imprisoned director’s stunning visual journey into tradition and the struggle for individual freedom in Iran–available on DVD Janaury 8th.

The Global Film Initiative is pleased to announce the Global Lens DVD release of the award-winning critics’ pick, THE WHITE MEADOWS by Iranian director, Mohammad Rasoulof

Originally featured in Global Lens 2011, THE WHITE MEADOWS gained worldwide attention last year following the arrest and prison sentencing of Rasoulof and fellow filmmaker Jafar Panahi (editor of THE WHITE MEADOWS) for “film-related activities” against the Iranian government. In support of Rasoulof, the Initiative presented the film in over fifty U.S. cities as part of Global Lens 2011 and also in select showcase exhibitions, including a special presentation hosted by actor/director Peter Coyote at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and a “protest” exhibition at the 2011 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

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INDUSTRY: A Decade of Film

A retrospective look at Global Lens via the images and ideas that took our signature series from infancy to adulthood…

As writer Robert Mckee said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

We agree.

Stories are the basis of humanity. They teach, they entertain, and they shape how we see the world. As humans, we are wired to connect and bond with others.

GFI was created with this purpose: to create global understanding, empathy and connectivity through the powerful medium of film, and to promote and support the vibrant growth of global filmmaking. To date, we have distributed 96 independent films from over 38 countries to North American audiences, and hosted screenings in every U.S. state except North Dakota. (Anyone in North Dakota want to help us with our 2013 New Years Resolution? Contact us!)

Through these films, we hope to inspire people to keep learning about other perspectives and ways of life. In celebration of Global Lens’ 10th year anniversary in January, we take a look at some of our films and the themes they contain from the past decade…

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FEATURE: Shooting the Past and Present of Albanian Cinema

Thomas Logoreci is a filmmaker, sometime journalist and occasional film festival programmer living and working in the Balkans.

Thomas Logoreci, co-writer of GFI grantee WORLD, discusses the evolution of cinema within an ever-changing landscape of Albania…

Thomas Logoreci here. I used to live in San Francisco. I produced and edited Caveh Zahedi’s Bay Area indie comedy I AM A SEX ADDICT which was released back in 2005. Five years later, I picked up and moved my entire life to the East European nation of Albania. I’m half-Albanian but owing to the country’s fifty years of North Korea-like communism, violent civil unrest in 1997 and the 1998-99 war in neighboring Kosovo, I did not get to Albania for the first time until 2005.

Even though I barely advanced my Albanian language skills, I ended up visiting the country several times, eventually earning a modest income rewriting scripts for some of the country’s foremost filmmakers. In 2008, I was asked to come back to the capital to program the country’s Tirana International Film Festival. During the frantic fest week, I met Iris Elezi, a talented cineaste who pitched me her script titled BOTA (the Albanian word for ’world’), which she intended to direct.

We ended up reshaping the story together – a group of outsiders working in a café at the edge of a haunted swamp cope

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INDUSTRY: GFI + the San Francisco Film Society Put On The Happiest of Hours

GFI's Jeremy Quist and Evan Knopf ready for happy hour!

In early November, GFI got together with Bay Area-based friends to raise a toast to the important things in life…

With so much to talk about in the wake of the SF Giants’ World Series triumph and the recent U.S. elections, The Global Film Initiative and the San Francisco Film Society hosted a gathering at Churchill Bar for happy hour festivities.

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NEWS: 111 GIRLS, BEIJING FLICKERS and SHYAMAL UNCLE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS!

Variety and Screen International let slip on three new Global Lens 2013 films by producer Bahman Ghobadi, and directors Zhang Yuan and Suman Ghosh

As the saying goes, ‘good things come in threes.’ Or, a “trio”:

Shyamal Uncle from SHYAMAL UNCLE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS

(via Variety) Trio of Busan fest pics to get U.S. release San Francisco-based The Global Film Initiative has acquired three Busan Film Festival players for U.S. release, Bahman Ghobadi-produced “111 Girls,” Zhang Yuan’s “Beijing Flickers” and Suman Ghosh’s “Shyamal Uncle Turns Off the Lights.”Helmed by first-timers Bijan Zmanpira and Nahid Ghobadi, “111 Girls” is an Iraqi-Kurdish dramedy produced by Abbas Ghazali and Iranian helmer Bahman Ghobadi (“Turtles Can Fly”). [more…]

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