SUPPORT: E Pluribus Unum

Thousands of stories in the evolution of one world

Nigerian writer Chimanda Ngozi Adichie and the Danger of the Single Story

In just a few days, we’ll be announcing our Winter 2012 grantees–ten films by ten filmmakers that, coincidentally, mark our tenth year of grantmaking.

It’s a significant milestone, and an auspicious occasion. And like all granting cycles, it affords a moment to reflect on the statement we’re making. Because in awarding these grants, we are of course saying that of the hundreds of projects we reviewed, these ten are “the best”… But are they?

A few years ago, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a TEDtalk about the “danger of the single story.” Her essential point was that no one story, no singular history or perspective, is the only story—and believing otherwise is what leads to the inability of many people to be sympathetic, if not empathetic, toward other cultures.

It’s a simple and true analysis, most people do tend to only hear the story that’s within earshot—whether that comes from their government, history, religion, family or community. And it’s a sentiment that often echoes in mind, especially when we award grants to filmmakers or, choose films for Global Lens: Are we telling a single story?

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Global Lens Goes Public!

The Brooklyn Public Library

Our public library program is in full swing this spring with the Brooklyn Public Library! San Francisco and Missoula are next, with Memphis and Park City on the horizon…

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we love public libraries. From their goals of public education and engagement, to the diverse architecture of buildings large and small all across the country—they are cultural icons that hold a physical space in every community, and represent a truly free exchange of ideas that we cherish.

And so, this month, in homage to our ever-growing affinity for public libraries, our friends at the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) will be presenting our most favorite film series, Global Lens 2012, to audiences in one of New York’s most celebrated boroughs.

Why? Because BPL is one of a handful of lucky institutions invited this year to join our Global Lens Public Library Program, which we launched last year to promote education and cultural literacy in communities all throughout the United States (some of you may remember that we partnered with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries to kick off the program).

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Global Lens Gets a Library Card!

Global Lens makes its long-awaited debut at public libraries across the U.S.

Big books, small books, magazines and catalogs. Shelves that stretch like buildings on a city block. Millions of words by thousands of people, pressed onto paper and compressed into a building…

Ever since I was a child, I’ve had an affinity for libraries. For me, they represent a space without limits or borders, a place of collected knowledge that lends itself to the imagination. In fact, I wrote my first poem in a library (after checking out a book on haiku), and spent many afternoons as a teenager cultivating my then-nascent interest in film, sitting in a corner watching the classics [on a VHS player].

Of course, libraries have evolved since my childhood, and none more profoundly than the American public library; what once began with Benjamin Franklin and a social-activity of lending books to his friends has now evolved into a community institution, media center and learning resource. And also, a crossroads of people and cultures, a place where new immigrants meet old residents, artists share space with academics and every language is within arm’s reach on a shelf.

And so, it’s only natural that we bring Global Lens to that environment.

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First Time’s a Charm: Global Lens Comes to Iowa!

In October of 2008, my wife and I—along with our 2 cats and everything we owned—drove a Budget rental truck across the country, from New York to San Francisco. We would have loved to have taken our time and done some sightseeing, but we were under a bit of a time constraint, so we pretty much stuck to Interstate 80 during the day, and after the sun went down, finding the closest Super 8 (very highly recommended, and many of them allow cats!). On our second night, we stayed in Peru, IL, before pressing onward the next morning. If, however, we had ended up making our big cross-country move exactly 3 years later, I definitely would have driven the extra 2 hours to ensure that we spent that night in Iowa City so we could catch a Global Lens 2011 film at the University of Iowa’s incredible Bijou Cinema!

All of us here at GFI are particularly excited about the Bijou Cinema hosting the series as it marks the very first time that Global Lens has been shown in the state of Iowa. Thanks to the enthusiasm of the wonderful Christina Buckles (Programming Director and Comparative Literature PhD student) and the Bijou’s dedicated volunteer staff, the University of Iowa’s student-run cinema is bringing Global Lens 2011 to the greater Iowa City community from October 29th to November 10th. The Bijou has

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