GRANTING: Ten Years to the Day in Global Film Funding

Ten years ago today, GFI announced the recipients of the inaugural granting program, and look at us now…

granting

On April 10, The Global Film Initiative announced it’s most recent grant recipients from the Winter 2012 granting cycle. The list of grantees features 11 works from both emerging and established filmmakers, representing 10 different countries around the world, and each project demonstrates great promise and vision. As Susan Weeks Coulter, Founder and Board Chair, said in the announcement: “We are pleased to identify and support these eleven unique and powerful narratives.”

What makes this granting cycle particularly special, however, is that it is the most recent in GFI’s now decade-old granting program. Ten years ago to the day, the very first round of grantees were announced on May 16, 2003. In celebration of this milestone, we’re taking a look back on the films GFI has funded over the years.

Again and again, our grantees represent filmmakers who are not afraid to challenge convention–to make sometimes dangerous, but always fiercely truthful statements about the society, and the world, that reflect them. These films often represent new perspectives and voices in storytelling–voices which are too often silenced or misrepresented in the mainstream–and hold promise in heralding a new generation of filmmakers.

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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).

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

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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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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SEEN & HEARD: Cannes You Believe It?

GFI Founder and Board Chair Susan Weeks Coulter works the red carpet at the 65th Cannes Film Festival, rain or shine…

Q'ing up at Cannes

You had to have been there! In Cannes, I mean. The two days of torrential rain and wind plus another two days of intermittent showers (those are the ones that start again the minute you put your umbrella down) could either be described as the weather or the stuff of festival legend.

Were you actually THERE in 2012 when the red carpet was so soggy that the actresses squished their way up the red carpet?

Umbrella sales were brisk along the Croisette, and I invested in three over the course of my six days in Cannes. The first, a royal blue mini, was ripped inside out. The second, a larger, sturdier, and black model with a handsome wooden handle made it six blocks to dinner—someone in the restaurant had no shame and stole MY new umbrella, leaving in its place their own spoke-torn model. The third was a success, as I strategically selected maroon with a cream border coloration, distinctive enough so that it might deter another theft. And then, thankfully, the sun came out and everyone’s temperament improved exponentially.

The

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Lovely MISS LOVELY!

On the eve of its world premiere, Pardon My Hindi gives Un Certain Regard star MISS LOVELY a seductive new look for the red carpet at Cannes….

<– You saw it here—first! Designer Chiraag Bhakta’s cheeky-cum-risque rendering of Ashim Ahluwalia’s much-anticipated second feature, MISS LOVELY, just before it hits the fabled French Riviera at Cannes.

We can’t tell you where to get the poster, because it’s only a few hours old. But, we can show you a trailer for MISS LOVELY–because who doesn’t love a film about the Bollywood underground (certainly, we do—see credits).

As for Chiraag, some of you may remember him as the graphic hand behind GFI’s education experiment site, Bluescreen. And the rest of you might know him as iconic eye behind Pardon My Hindi (which words can’t describe—so visit the site).

And as for Cannes… You know who’s got our vote.

Continue reading Lovely MISS LOVELY!

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: The African Movie Academy Awards, Cannes, Ankara, Hong Kong and more!

A still from MISS LOVELY, 2010 GFI grant recipient and official selection of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival! Photo: Future East Film

MISS LOVELY has the Cannes-connection, the African Movie Academy salutes THE CAPTAIN OF NAKARA and THE MIRROR NEVER LIES reflects radiance with a win in Hong Kong!

Global Lens films and GFI grantees have sprung into action this April with awards and screenings at festivals around the world!

THE CAPTAIN OF NAKARA (dir. Bob Nyanja, Kenya, 2009 grant recipient) has been nominated in the 2012 African Movie Academy Awards for achievement in costume design! The film will compete with four other African films at the awards ceremony on April 22 in Nigeria—watch the trailer here.

FAITH (dir. Alejo Crisóstomo, Guatemala, 2011 grant recipient) screens at the Latin American Film Festival of Utrecht at the end of April, with Alejo himself in attendance to present the film! Read the festival’s interview with Alejo here.

Kamila Andini’s THE MIRROR NEVER LIES (Indonesia, 2011 grant recipient) was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at the Hong Kong International Film Festival!

MISS LOVELY (dir. Ashim Ahluwalia, 2010 grant recipient) was chosen as an official selection of the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard section, and is the only film representing India in the festival lineup! Read what Ashim has to say

Continue reading FESTIVALS & AWARDS: The African Movie Academy Awards, Cannes, Ankara, Hong Kong and more!

NOW PLAYING: Global Lens on Festival Scope

Programmers, curators and more–preview our 2012 lineup on Festival Scope!

Every January, just around the time we launch a new season of Global Lens, we get hit with multiple requests from curators and programmers for screening copies of our films. And we love it. The only problem: we can’t always keep up with the demand, especially when those films are making news (i.e. MOURNING, THE PRIZE, PEGASUS, AMNESTY…)

MOURNING (dir. Morteza Farshbaf, Iran) now available on Festival Scope

So, woe is us, such an exquisite difficulty and what’s a boutique nonprofit film organization supposed to do. Or rather, how do we keep the promise made to our filmmakers, of promoting their films to the widest and most geographically diverse audience possible? And how do you get to see Global Lens in your city, festival and theater…

Well, our longtime friend, Alessandro Raja, has an answer: Festival Scope

Festival Scope is our newest promotional partner for Global Lens. Launched in 2010 by Alessandro (formerly of Celluloid Dreams), it’s an online film viewing resource created exclusively for industry professionals who want to review films, immediately, from the wonderful world of festivals. Dubai, Busan, Torino, Toronto–name it and you’ll likely find it on Festival Scope.

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OSCARS!!!

[UPDATE – October 1, 2011: GFI grantee SKOONHEID is also going to the Oscars! See full post about all awards here]

Congratulations to Ahmed Imamovic, and Daniel and Diego Vega! Ahmed’s second film, BELVEDERE (currently featured in Global Lens 2011), is Bosnia-Herzegovina’s official submission to the 2011 Academy Awards! And not to be outdone, the Vega brothers’ debut feature [and 2008 GFI grant-recipient], OCTOBER, is Peru’s official submission!

We wish both films much success, with fingers crossed for a golden Oscar (and a clandestine note of luck for GFI grantee Dervis Zaim, whose film SHADOWS AND FACES, is short-listed as Turkey’s official submission)!

FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Berlin, Karlovy Vary, Durban and more!

Great news, accolades and accomplishments abound for Global Lens films and GFI grant recipients! Congratulations to the following films and filmmakers:

THE LIGHT THIEF received a World Cinema Fund for distribution at the Berlin International Film Festival! Directed by Aktan Arym Kubat and currently touring in the Global Lens 2011 film series, THE LIGHT THIEF tells the story of an enterprising electrician in Kyrgyzstan and the effect of outside influences on his village—read the film’s review in Screen Daily here.

BELVEDERE screened at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the East of West section, which focuses on films of the former Eastern Bloc. Directed by Ahmed Imamovic and part of the Global Lens 2011 film series, the film follows a woman searching for her family in the aftermath of the Sbrenica massacre. For more information about the recent burial of the Sbrenica victims, click here.

On the heels of recent success in Cannes, GFI grant recipient SKOONHEID will be screening at the Durban International Film Festival, marking the film’s premiere in it’s native country! To read an interview

Continue reading FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Berlin, Karlovy Vary, Durban and more!