FEATURE: From Baghdad to San Antonio, QARANTINA Comes to South Texas

UT San Antonio Professor Steven G. Kellman (and former HuffPo contributor) on fighting off the ‘the toxins of cultural provincialism’ with QARANTINA…

A scene from QARANTINA (dir. Oday Rasheed, Iraq)

Though it is the seventh largest city in the United States, San Antonio is, like all but a few other areas in the country, virtually quarantined against foreign cinema. When an imported film does get screened in a local commercial theater, it is almost always from Britain, since, according to the industry’s conventional wisdom, Americans are monolingual, and they do not go to the movies to read; box-office receipts for inferior remakes of The Vanishing, The Debt, and The Seven Samurai exceed those for the subtitled originals. Film is the most portable of the arts, but national aversion to foreign film reflects widespread indifference to anything beyond our borders but violence.

As an antidote to the toxins of cultural provincialism, the San Antonio Museum of Art has scheduled monthly public screenings of works – twice each – provided by the Global Film Initiative. I was invited by SAMA to introduce the films and lead post-screening discussions.

October’s offering, Qarantina, written and directed by Oday Rasheed, is an outstanding demonstration of foreign cinema’s power to bring fresh perspectives to worlds that many hardly knew existed. Set in contemporary Baghdad, Qarantina is a film by Iraqis, about

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NEWS: HOLLOW CITY Leads “Unaccompanied Minors” Exhibit at MoMA

From the Global Lens Collection and MoMA’s Department of Film comes Global Lens filmmaker Maria Joao Ganga’s powerful exploration of innocence and Angola…

We’re very pleased to announce that one of our most favorite curators, and educators, Anne Morra, at the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Film, has put together a spectacular new film exhibit titled Unaccompanied Minors: From Feeding the Bay to the Hollow City, to run July 22nd-August 14th, in tandem with the Museum’s Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000 gallery exhibit. Thirty-one short- and feature-length films are included the exhibit, at the exhibit’s core is Global Lens Collection film HOLLOW CITY :

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FEATURE: Film as Social Enterprise?

"While the social enterprise is concerned with its cause over its profits, it must nonetheless secure financing."

Pat Guerra, Director of Development, explores the connections between The Global Film Initiative’s nonprofit, social entrepreneurship model with the business of filmmaking, in this first of several blog posts on the topic.

Embarking on filmmaking is an inherently risky social endeavor. A film’s purpose is storytelling, an act that dates back to the dawn of mankind, as does being an entrepreneur or merchant. Few undertakings are more entrepreneurial than launching a new film project. There are many parallels between launching a film project and a launching a new social enterprise.

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INDUSTRY: Royalties, a Cycle of Exchange

Animation from the short film "Welcome to the Anthropocene," showing trade routes around the world. (Image courtesy of Globaia, Planet Under Pressure, SEI, SRC, CSIRO)

An inside look at how GFI pays it forward…

With our offices located in the heart of San Francisco, three of us at GFI commute into the city from the East Bay via BART train. Right before our trains plunge down into the Bay tunnel, we pass through the Port of Oakland—the fifth busiest port in the United States. In the early morning light the cranes, long-haul semi-trucks, and 1st shifters dutifully continue the pace of a humming port that never sleeps.

The trade lines of global commerce blanket our world (as this short film beautifully depicts), and while globalization is a peculiar force—advantageous for some, exploitative of others, with many a PhD dissertation tracking its effects and the arguments for and against it—Oakland’s port provides a context in which to understand this massive international integration.

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EDUCATION: In Defense of Foreign Films

Pavel (center) with GFI staff (from left): Global Lens Series Manager Jeremy Quist, Administrative Coordinator Emma Rae Lierley, Acquisitions & Granting Coordinator Angelica Dongallo, Marketing & Publicity Manager Hilary Lawson

Pavel Lozin, GFI Acquisitions intern superstar, presents his top five Global Lens picks!

First of all, please excuse me for my terrible English. Besides that…

I spend the major part of my free time on the cinema: writing screenplays, reading cinema-related books, watching films themselves. Why do I do that?

There are many reasons why I’m passionate about cinema, but one reason in particular is that cinema is yet a very young form of art in contrast to other forms of art like paintings, sculpture and literature. This, along with the fact that it only takes 1-2 hours to watch one film, means I have the potential to watch a fair percent of all films in my lifetime (as compared to books, for example).

In the past two years, I’ve watched more than 1,000 films total from around the world. More than 70 of them were part of GFI’s Global Lens film series, which I watched during my time as a volunteer intern here. I want to recommend my five favorite Global Lens series (2007-2012) films, which are not only attractive because of their cultural aspects, but which are also entertaining to watch:

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OPEN MIC: The Educated Eye

Jim Canacci, Lecturer at Kent State University at Trumbull, on using Global Lens films to inform, expand and appreciate the world around us

“Every story reveals a world.” -Global Lens Trailer

Jim Canacci

Jim Canacci, Lecturer at Kent State University at Trumbull

I truly believe that Global Lens changes “the way you see the world.” I know this from personal experience and through sharing these films with the students and campus community at Kent State University at Trumbull.

My first year with Global Lens was in cooperation with my good friend, Dr. Ken Bindas, who is now the Chair of the History Department at Kent State University. He asked if I would partner with him to show the films on my campus in Warren, OH, as well as at the Lemon Grove in downtown Youngstown. He provided me with the materials, and asked if I could do “the rest.” With the help of many generous people on my campus, we had a plan to show three of the films on campus during International Education Week. Jacob Roope, who organizes most of the events, helped choose which films fit best with the guest speakers and our potential audience members. Jacob Harver, who is co-owner of the Lemon Grove, was kind enough to show all 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.

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3 on 1: Adapt, Persevere and Thou Shalt Premiere

Bruno Bettati examines Latin American independents from the angle of producer, festival director and de facto industry historian…

Director of the Valdivia International Film Festival Bruno Bettati (left) and GFI Director of Programs Santhosh Daniel at the 39th International Film Festival Rotterdam

Five years ago I had the serendipity to meet Santhosh Daniel and establish a relationship between the Global Film Initiative and Valdivia International Film Festival (FICValdivia). Over that course of time, our institutions have both witnessed and contributed to the steady rise of the Latin American film industry. GFI eventually became a sponsor of FICValdivia activities for film professionals. Recently we met by chance on a distribution and production workshop while in Gijon, Spain—after which i felt compeled to say a few words about the evolution of Latin American film and our joint contribution to the production and distribution of these films. – Bruno Bettati

Against all odds, Latin American film producers continue to show a vitality to get their movies done. Perseverance and adaptation are key; with 36 months the average time it takes from the start of development until the festival première of a fiction feature film, the endurance of the producer is at permanent stake.

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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”.

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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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