GRANTING: Summer 2012 Deadline Approaching!

Filmmakers and producers: Apply for GFI production funding with your next narrative feature film project!

A still from BEATRIZ'S WAR (dir. Bety Reis, East Timor, 2011 grant recipient), East Timor's first locally produced and directed narrative feature film! (Photo: Fair Trade Films)

Attention all filmmakers! Ready your printers and prepare your most colorful stamps: GFI is currently accepting applications to our Summer 2012 granting cycle (view our Call for Applications here)!

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Seattle IFF, Toronto Jewish FF, Silk Screen Asian American FF and more!

MOURNING and THE MIRROR NEVER LIES meet in Seattle, all eyes on THE PRIZE in Toronto and MOURNING, QARANTINA and TOLL BOOTH show their roots in Pittsburgh!

Congratulations are in order for our GFI grant recipients and Global Lens films, with special mention to those that have recently screened in festivals all over the world:

Latin American films in Global Lens 2012, clockwise from top right: CRAFT (Brazil), FAT, BALD, SHORT MAN (Colombia), THE FINGER (Argentina), THE PRIZE (Argentina).

CHICAGO LATINO FILM FESTIVAL: Citizens of the Windy City had a chance to see four Global Lens 2012 films from Latin America as part of the Chicago Latino Film Festival! CRAFT, (dir. Gustavo Pizzi, Brazil), FAT, BALD SHORT MAN (dir. Carlos Osuna, Colombia), THE FINGER (dir. Sergio Teubal, Argentina) and THE PRIZE (dir. Paula Markovitch, Argentina) all played during the festival’s 28th run.

INSIDE OUT TORONTO LGBT FILM FESTIVAL: BEAUTY (dir. Oliver Hermanus, South Africa, 2010 grant recipient) continues to light up screens, this time at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival!

Continue reading FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Seattle IFF, Toronto Jewish FF, Silk Screen Asian American FF and more!

NEWS: Seyfi Teoman, 1977 – 2012

A tribute to Turkish filmmaker and GFI grant recipient Seyfi Teoman

Turkish filmmaker and friend of GFI, Seyfi Teoman, passed away on May 8. (Photo: Bulut Film)

This week, we received news of the tragic passing of Turkish filmmaker Seyfi Teoman. He was 35.

Seyfi was the director of SAINTS—a recent GFI grant recipient that was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. In script form, we found the film compelling, thoughtful and unique, all characteristics of Seyfi’s previous works that earned him international recognition. I’m happy we had the chance to tell him how much we appreciated his work.

Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Seyfi in person, SAINTS and his other films speak volumes about Seyfi and how he’ll be remembered by his family and friends.

Continue reading NEWS: Seyfi Teoman, 1977 – 2012


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!

GRANTING: GFI’s Winter 2012 Grantees Announced!

Newest grant recipients include five narrative feature film debuts from Albania, Georgia, Rwanda, Venezuela and Turkey! View the trailer of GFI 2012 grant recipient, THE PARDON!

The decisions are in.

We are very pleased to announce that after much deliberation, ten new films have been chosen to receive production funding of up to $10,000 each during the Winter 2012 granting cycle! The grant recipients hail from diverse nations and regions—from Peru’s mountainous countryside to the Philippines’ sandy shores—and include GFI’s first grantees from Croatia, Rwanda and Venezuela! Read the official press release here.

Continue reading GRANTING: GFI’s Winter 2012 Grantees Announced!

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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GRANTING: Victor Viyuoh, from Here to Eternity  

GFI grantee Victor Viyuoh conquers uncountable production delays, three crashed vans and one successful Kickstarter campaign to live up to the title he earned nearly ten years ago

Photo: Film Independent

In 2003, Victor Viyuoh, a young director born and raised in Cameroon, was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Indie Film. He had just completed his first short film, MBOUTOUKOU, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam and received a Competition Award for best narrative short at the SXSW Film Festival.

It sounded like the beginning of a steadily rising career, but early success didn’t mean Victor would be free of setbacks—far from it, in fact. Between shipping misadventures, unfortunate climate changes and uncanny bad luck with production vehicles, the filming of his first feature, NINAH’S DOWRY, seemed doomed to begin with (Victor’s account of the process is the stuff nightmares are made of).

Continue reading GRANTING: Victor Viyuoh, from Here to Eternity  

GFI @ the Sierra Leone International Film Festival

How a chance encounter turned into an uncommon opportunity to support Sierra Leone’s first-ever international film festival

We’ve always invested in Africa. Grants. Film exhibitions. Time. It’s been one of the many beating hearts, since our founding, that has kept the Global Lens film series, and the Initiative, alive.

A few months ago, outside a very crowded bar in San Francisco, Kieran Ridge, advisory board member of the Palo Alto Film Festival—one of our newest partners—had the insight to introduce us to someone with a very similar commitment to Africa: Banker White, of WeOwnTV. You may recognize the name, as a few years ago, Banker directed a documentary about a music innovation in Freetown called the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars.

Continue reading GFI @ the Sierra Leone International Film Festival

People in Film: Annemarie Jacir (via Doha Film Institute)

Annemarie Jacir, director of WHEN I SAW YOU (2011 GFI grantee), talks to the Doha Film Institute about the inspiration and origins of her work

Photo: Doha Film Institute

(via Doha Film Institute) Annemarie Jacir is an acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter living in Jordan. Two of her films have premiered as official selections at the Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature film, “Salt of this Sea”, was Palestine’s official Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film.

Jacir lived in Saudi Arabia until the age of sixteen, and received her formal education in the United States. She began her work in the theatre, writing and directing plays. Her career in cinema began as an editor and camerawoman. She worked in the film industry in Los Angeles before attending Columbia University in New York to obtain a degree in film. She is the co-founder of Philistine Films, an independent production company which focuses on the Arab world. Jacir is also an author and poet. Her poetry and stories have been published in “Mizna”, “The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology” and the collection “Poets for Palestine”.

She lives in Amman and is currently in postproduction on her new film “When I Saw You”.

Continue reading People in Film: Annemarie Jacir (via Doha Film Institute)