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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SPOTLIGHT: A Natural Fit in Champaign-Urbana

Karen Hewitt at University of Illinois’s Center for Global Studies on the importance of bringing a “Global Lens” to campus…

Ann Rasmus, Art @ the Y Program Director, University YMCA (left) and Karen Hewitt, Outreach Coordinator, Center for Global Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2012 marks the fourth consecutive year that Global Lens has been showcased at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, organized by Karen Hewitt, Outreach Coordinator for the University’s Center for Global Studies. From the very beginning, it was clear that the venue was a natural fit for the film series, and every subsequent year has continued to demonstrate this. We recently touched base with Karen to ask some questions about the Center for Global Studies and the role of Global Lens in her community.

Karen, we first spoke in June 2009 when I approached you about working with the Center for Global Studies to bring the Global Lens film series to the University of Illinois. Had the Center ever sponsored any film screenings previously?

The Center for Global Studies is a National Resource Center for International and Area Studies funded by a Title VI grant through the US Department of Education. One of the primary purposes of these grants is training in “Less Commonly Taught Languages.” In the past, we have co-sponsored film series organized

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NOW PLAYING: Let THE FINGER Point You Toward Global Lens!

A gentle political satire set in a remote pueblo in 1980s Argentina…an engaging, often amusing portrait of a community on the cusp of change….” -Variety

Sergio Teubal’s hilarious satire proves its capacity for both belly laughs and observant political barbs.” -Wines of Argentina

Not many political elections involve a severed finger in a jar, but then, this is not your typical election. Far from the debates and attack ads of Romney and Obama’s current race—but still based on actual events—Sergio Teubal’s THE FINGER concerns a moody shopkeeper bent on ensuring his brother’s mayoral victory, even after the beloved candidate turns up dead just weeks before the election. A guaranteed charmer, this dramatic comedy spins a tale of mystery, village life, revenge, and leadership, suggesting that sometimes a dismembered digit can point the way to a better future than an actual, living candidate!

Programmers and curators: View the 2012 lineup now on Vimeo or Festival Scope and email us at bookings@globalfilm.org 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!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: Let THE FINGER Point You Toward Global Lens!

NEWS: A ‘Useful’ Guide to Uruguayan Cinema

Brian Darr (of Hell on Frisco Bay) reviews A USEFUL LIFE for Fandor and shines a spotlight on Uruguayan Cinema while he’s at it…

Last month Brian Darr, the writer behind Bay Area film blog Hell on Frisco Bay, wrote an excellent article called “A ‘Useful’ Guide to Uruguayan Cinema” for Keyframe, the blog from our friends at Fandor. In the article, Brian makes some illuminating observations about Federico Veiroj’s A USEFUL LIFE, segues into a discussion of the history of filmmaking in Uruguay, and then closes by touching on a couple other Global Lens favorites — WHISKY (dir. Juan Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll) and LEO’S ROOM (dir. Enrique Buchichio). Check it out:

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SPOTLIGHT: It’s Hip, It’s Happening, It’s Scottsdale!

Global Lens is soon to screen at the Scottsdale International Film Festival for the second time, and Jeremy Quist adds yet another place to his ever-growing list of U.S. cities he’d like to visit…

Back in the mid ‘00s (remember those?) my sister spent two years at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and I never got the chance to visit her there. I always thought it would be fun to meet up with her and then drive together through the Arizona cities listed in the song Route 66―Flagstaff, Kingman, and (don’t forget!) Winona―which obviously was before I learned that Tucson is nowhere near the highway in question. You should know two things about me by now, from my ramblings in this monthly Spotlight column:

1) My geography, not so good. 2) There are a lot of cities that I’d really like to go to.

In regard to item #2, I have a list (a physical, written list!) of cities I’d like to visit. And this month, I add to that list yet another city in Arizona―Scottsdale! You may ask, “Why, Scottsdale, Jeremy?” to which I would answer, “Well, for starters, it has a bustling late-night downtown scene, it’s the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants, and it’s also been consistently included in the ‘100 Best Communities for Young People.’” You might then retort,

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NEW ON DVD: The Light Thief and Soul of Sand

The winds of change blow through both SOUL OF SAND (India) and THE LIGHT THIEF (Kyrgyzstan)–releasing on DVD September 25.

New award-winning films from Aktan Arym Kubat and Sidharth Srinivasan present a powerful look into the politics of class, caste, capitalism and environmentalism in a rapidly modernizing world.

THE LIGHT THIEF (SVET-AKE), dir. Aktan Arym Kubat, Kyrgyzstan, 2010, 80 minutes, Kyrgyz, with subtitles in English

A humble electrician intent on enlivening his rural valley with electricity unwittingly strikes a deal with a rich politician whose corrupt ambitions threaten to upend the electrician’s dream to build windmills in his village. FIPRESCI Prize, Eurasia International Film Festival; Official Kyrgyzstan Submission, Best Foreign Language Film category of the 83rd Academy Awards; Official Selection, Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival.

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NOW PLAYING: Gustavo Pizzi’s Award-Winning Portrait of an Artist, CRAFT!

It’s been a while since a film captured an actor’s world with the intelligence, creativity and insight of Craft.-Variety

A wonderful and perfectly calibrated film….” -BrazilNYC

Like a well-seasoned actor who has the ability to charm or break your heart, Gustavo Pizzi’s visually rich CRAFT does both — effortlessly and beautifully. Featuring a pitch-perfect performance by Pizzi’s real-life wife, Karine Teles (upon whom the dazzling narrative of a struggling São Paulo actress/celebrity impersonator is based), this debut feature illustrates the kind of thrill and anxiety that often accompanies one’s dedication to a dream. Now available for booking in your festival or theater, along with nine other award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the Global Lens 2012 series!

Programmers and curators: View the 2012 lineup now on Vimeo or Festival Scope and email us at bookings@globalfilm.org 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!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: Gustavo Pizzi’s Award-Winning Portrait of an Artist, CRAFT!

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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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 bookings@globalfilm.org 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!

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