INDUSTRY: Trends in Global Film, by Way of GFI’s Granting Program

A quick look at the facts, figures and forward movement of our program, after ten years of international film funding…

BUFFALO BOY (Vietnam) was one of four grants we provided to filmmakers when we began our Granting Program almost ten years ago!

Every granting cycle has its own personality, and this Summer’s cycle was no exception (“bad hair,” good politicians—we had it all this round, so read the press release and our blog for the scoop!). But, unlike other cycles, this one also had a bit of “extra” personality…For you see, this year marks our tenth year of awarding grants to filmmakers from around. And oh, how the times have changed…

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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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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Toronto IFF, Montreal World FF, Cinema Digital Seoul FF and more!

MISS LOVELY, WHEN I SAW YOU and THE CREMATOR debut in Toronto, ROUTE OF THE MOON lights the way to Montreal and DON’T EXPECT PRAISES spices up Seoul!

GFI grant recipients are popping up all over the globe for screenings at festivals near you—catch them while you can!

GFI grant recipient DON'T EXPECT PRAISES will have its world premiere at the Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival! Photo: Yang Jin

CINEMA DIGITAL SEOUL FILM FESTIVAL: World premieres by our grant recipients always make us feel a bit like proud family members, and among the premieres this month is that of DON’T EXPECT PRAISES (dir. Yang Jin, China, 2011 grant recipient)! The film makes its official debut at the Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival, and we couldn’t be more excited for it!

 

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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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FOCUS: An Indian Indie

From dodging debt to clearing censorship, SOUL OF SAND director, Sidharth Srinivasan, discusses the genesis of a film fueled by “passion, persistence, patience–and pig headedness!”

(Image courtesy of Sidharth Srinivasan)

It’s been three achingly long years from script to screen. We shot PAIRON TALLE (SOUL OF SAND) as an utter indie, sans any form of corporate funding let alone guarantee of completion, on love, not-so-fresh air and foolhardiness, in the fall of 2008. To embark on such a venture one has to contend with a veritable host of naysayers—aghast outsiders, concerned family members and frowning well-wishers, and during pre-production I could almost smell the cast and crew clandestinely questioning the folly of my endeavors behind my back, but supporting me nonetheless for my very personal Waterloo (bless their souls). I say stick to your guns if the project has stuck with you for as long as it has—independent filmmaking is the exclusive domain of masochists who revel in the pleasure/pain principle…

Once principal photography began in earnest everyone was disbelievingly stunned into action, as it were, and spirits ran alarmingly high – the joy of a successful shoot is akin to chasing that ubiquitous dragon. But the low that came post-shooting hit like a ton of bricks – case in point, our film was in the proverbial can but we were over-budget (despite having completed

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Durban, San Sebastian, Montreal and more!

There’s a lot to celebrate these days! Congratulations to the following GFI grant recipients and Global Lens films:

 

GFI GRANT RECIPIENTS:

SKOONHEID was awarded Best South African Feature Film and Jury Special Mention Prize at the Durban International Film Festival, and will also be traveling to the Toronto International Film Festival in September! Read an interview with director Oliver Hermanus here.

San Sebastian Film Festival logoON THE PLANK will screen at the San Sebastian International Film Festival as part of the Zabaltegi Specials lineup (ON THE PLANK received the Cinema in Motion award at the festival last year). Watch a video of writer-director Leila Kilani speaking about the film here.

THE DEAD SEA will screen at the Montreal World Film Festival in the First Films Competition. This follows the film gaining CBFC clearance and having a successful world premiere at the FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Durban, San Sebastian, Montreal and more!

Seems Like Old Times: Global Lens 2011 @ SIFF and the TIFF Lightbox

If memory serves correctly, the first opening night film gala I ever attended was in 1995, at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). The film was Braveheart (which when complemented with a later screening of Swimming With Sharks, effectively convinced me not to work in Hollywood), and it was just before I left for graduate school–and I remember wondering if I would ever return to home to attend another SIFF screening.

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