Oday Rasheed on the Making of QARANTINA and Remaking Baghdad in Today’s Iraq

Rob Avila and Iraqi director Oday Rasheed discuss the genesis of inspiration against a backdrop of war, politics and filmmaking

Iraqi director Oday Rasheed talks to Rob Avila during the premiere of Global Lens 2012 at MoMA

Oday Rasheed is one of only a small handful of filmmakers working and producing in Iraq today. His first feature, Underexposure (2005), captured the immediate aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in a fictional documentary-style story about a Baghdad filmmaker trying to make sense of the tumult of this period. Soon after its debut, Rasheed left the growing sectarian violence in Baghdad for Berlin, where he immersed himself in film studies, gravitating to the works of Andrei Tarkovsky, among others, and eventually developed the script for his second feature, Qarantina. He returned to Baghdad in 2008 to make the film, which was completed in 2010.

Qarantina is one of ten awarding-winning films featured in the Global Lens 2012 series, premiering this January at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Oday was able to attend his Global Lens screening in New York as part of a short U.S. tour that includes multiple screenings at MoMA, and a presentation of the film at the Council on Foreign Relations on January 25th, and also at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service on January 30th.

Recently, during the premiere of Global Lens

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SUPPORT: Art as Diplomacy

How film can be just as good as a handshake when it comes to crossing borders and building relationships

WATCH: Global Lens 2012 director Oday Rasheed speaks with Deb Amos of NPR about QARANTINA and living and working in Baghdad

Ever since our founding, the phrase ‘promoting cross-cultural understanding through cinema’ has echoed with every presentation of Global Lens we sponsor, every grant we award, and every educational screening we host. Our belief is that film, especially world cinema, has the ability to transcend politics and lines of conflict, exposing us to new cultures and new ways of thinking, allowing for better communication as a global society.

It’s a spectacular concept, and hardly the first of its kind—over the centuries, art and literature have always had the same power. However, when it comes to film, for as simple as it sounds, until audiences see this process in action, the phrase rings a bit theoretical, and idealistic. In fact, in a world where the majority of people consider film a form of entertainment, saying it is anything other than that is a hard sell—unless of course we “sell” it within a context other than entertainment.

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Global Lens 2012 @ MoMA and Beyond!

This year’s launch in New York set our universe in motion thanks to a host of filmmakers, friends and more than a little help from MoMA and a one-man army…

Angelica in the Stars

Angelica Dongallo, Acquisitions & Granting Dynamo, kicks-off Global Lens 2012 amongst the stars

 

What can we say–it was spectacular. And for as much as we’d really like to tell you about the launch of Global Lens 2012 in New York, pictures do the job so much better. The stars were out and in alignment, and the year began with a big bang, cosmic kismet and maybe even a few good parties–see for yourself!

Next stop: everywhere. Global Lens 2012 will be playing all across the U.S. and Canada, from Palm Springs to Boston, Latin Wave in Houston and Vue d’Afrique in Montreal–check our calendar!

A special thanks to Jytte Jensen, Curator, and Clay Farland, at the MoMA Department of Film; Consul General M. Levent Bilgen, Consul Ismet Erikan and the Turkish Consulate General of New York; Robert Avila; Gary Ponzo; Gianfranco Sorrentino and our friends at Gattopardo; Carlos Gutierrez; Tom Vick at the Smithsonian Institution; Engin “One-Man Army” Yeniduniya; and Global Lens 2012 directors Bujar Alimani, Tolga Karacelik, Carlos Osuna, Gustavo Pizzi, and Oday Rasheed–none of this would’ve been possible without you.

 

 

 

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Malatya IFF, Cinema Tropical Awards, Thessaloniki IFF and more!

THE FINGER points the way to success, OCTOBER has another great month, and WHEN I SAW YOU’s audience likes what it sees…

GLOBAL LENS FILMS:

 

THE FINGER (dir. Sergio Teubal, Argentina) was awarded Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Score at the Malatya International Film Festival in Ankara, Turkey! THE FINGER will premiere as part of the Global Lens 2012 film series in January at MoMA—watch the film trailer here!

 

GFI GRANT RECIPIENTS:

ON THE EDGE (2011 GFI grant recipient), directed by Leila Kilani of Morocco, received the following awards:

FIPRESCI Prize, Films from the South Festival (Oslo, Norway) Best International Feature-Length Film, International Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival (Antalya, Turkey) Film Critics’ Jury Prize, Most Innovative Film, Tübingen-Stuttgart International French-language Film Festival (Tubingen, Germany) Special Jury Prize and Best Actress, Brussels International Independent Film Festival (Brussels, Belgium) Grand Prize, Arte Mare Festival du Film et des Cultures Mediterraneennes (Bastia, France) Special Mention, Continue reading FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Malatya IFF, Cinema Tropical Awards, Thessaloniki IFF and more!

The Not-So-Ordinary Acts of ORDINARY PEOPLE

GFI Board Member Igor Kirman on Vladimir Perisic’s question of mind versus morality

“The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal.” –Hannah Arendt, “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil”

“If the person for some reason knew it was illegal … and still obeyed it, he could not use the de-fense of obedience of orders …. Do you really need to bring a bunch of intelligent people into the room and tell them not to shoot babies?” –William Eckhard, Chief Prosecutor, My Lai court martial

A scene from Vladimir Perisic's ORDINARY PEOPLE

At the heart of Serbian writer-director Vladimir Perisic’s chilling film, ORDINARY PEOPLE, is the long-vexing question of whether morally depraved actions—in this case, the shoot-ing of unarmed men by a group of young soldiers—can be excused on the grounds that the perpetrators were following orders. The film succeeds in great measure by making this question harder to answer than may at first appear.

The plot is minimalist, with slow-takes and sparse dialogue. Although the director is careful not to locate the action, in time or place, to lend the film an air of universal significance, the language (Serbian) and other clues suggest the action takes somewhere in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. The

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Noah Cowan and the Genesis of GFI

On the eve of 9/11′s tenth anniversary, GFI’s co-founder recalls the impetus, purpose and passion behind the Initiative

Noah Cowan, co-founder of the Global Film Initiative

It is my enormous pleasure to add my voice to the growing tributes to the Global Film Initiative this year and its vital work on behalf of developing world filmmakers and audiences across North America. I would also like to offer my profound congratulations to Susan Weeks Coulter for her unstinting belief in and support of this very special and unique project; a project which could not be closer to my own heart.

It is most humbling to witness an idea, hatched by Susan and me, that has, over the years, inspired so many people. It all started over a cup of tea in China, as so many worthy things do these days…

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EDUCATION: The Language of Global Lens

Intern Rachel Cook discusses how watching a film can mean learning a language

GFI Intern Rachel Cook

In my second week as an intern at GFI, I had a conversation with the Marketing and Publicity Manager, Hilary Lawson and the Director of Programs, Santhosh Daniel, about how film is used in the classroom. They were interested in my experiences with film in various language classes from my bilingual elementary school to my college courses.

I’ve always shied away from class discussions, but my sophomore year of high school when I signed up for a seminar on French literature and film, I knew things would have to change. There were only five students in the class, and I couldn’t help thinking this was going to be a painfully silent semester. Our teacher decided to start the course with a film so we would have something to talk about right away. I looked around at my peers skeptically, thinking there was no way this timid group would ever speak up –especially not in a foreign language. Still, after years of dry grammar lectures and mundane vocabulary lessons, the idea of watching a movie in class seemed almost too good to be true, and we were all eager to see what our teacher had in store.

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Fruits of Labor: Oliver Hermanus and Leila Kilani Take Center-stage @ Cannes 2011

… And GFI’s native son, Alejandro Chomski, director of ASLEEP IN THE SUN, visits San Francisco

Oliver Hermanus

Two years ago, Jeremy Nathan at Dv8 directed our attention to a new talent from South Africa: Oliver Hermanus. According to Jeremy, Oliver was a young filmmaker with an unusual lens, and his work was certainly “going to be a surprise.” Of course, in the world of cinema, hyperbole is common…

But he was right. In summer 2009, Oliver’s first film about a mixed race family in Cape Town—SHIRLEY ADAMS—so profoundly caught our attention that we acquired its North American rights and, a few months later, released it as part of Global Lens 2010 with a U.S. premiere at MoMA.

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GRANTING: GFI Expands Granting Program to Include Computer Donations!

UPDATE (5/23/11): This morning, the SFPD was nice enough to visit this guy at home, give him a ride downtown–we’ll be dropping by later to congratulate him in person!

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ORIGINAL POST (5/17/11): The Global Film Initiative is pleased to announce that in the wee-hours of Sunday, May 8, 2011, we added a new dimension to our Granting Program: computer donations!

The inaugural recipient of this exciting new innovation is the individual in the video below—whom we taped over a period of five hours, from midnight to 5:00 a.m., as he came to collect his award with a crowbar. Congratulations!

The Puerto Rico Film Society: Moving the Island One Film at a Time

GFI celebrates the island-launch of Global Lens 2011 and another year with its inaugural Global Lens Partner Program member

It’s been almost two years since SF State cinema-graduate Guillermo Vasquez, and Eunice Soto-Ralat, founded the Puerto Rico Film Society (La Sociedad de Cine de Puerto Rico/SCPR), and as another year of Global Lens opens on the island, we’re proud to say we’ve been a part of their vision since the beginning.

Guillermo Vasquez

SCPR is the inaugural member of our Global Lens Partner Program, which was established in 2009 to support the development of community arts initiatives in the United States and it territories. At the heart of the program is Global Lens, and participants, like SCPR, use the series as a building-block to connect with local partners in the arts, and create dynamic film exhibitions and educational events.

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