NEW ON DVD: Mohammad Rasoulof’s THE WHITE MEADOWS

The imprisoned director’s stunning visual journey into tradition and the struggle for individual freedom in Iran–available on DVD Janaury 8th.

The Global Film Initiative is pleased to announce the Global Lens DVD release of the award-winning critics’ pick, THE WHITE MEADOWS by Iranian director, Mohammad Rasoulof

Originally featured in Global Lens 2011, THE WHITE MEADOWS gained worldwide attention last year following the arrest and prison sentencing of Rasoulof and fellow filmmaker Jafar Panahi (editor of THE WHITE MEADOWS) for “film-related activities” against the Iranian government. In support of Rasoulof, the Initiative presented the film in over fifty U.S. cities as part of Global Lens 2011 and also in select showcase exhibitions, including a special presentation hosted by actor/director Peter Coyote at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and a “protest” exhibition at the 2011 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

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NEWS: BELVEDERE and A USEFUL LIFE Now Available Exclusively on Fandor!

We recently announced that Global Lens films are now streaming on Hulu, and we here at the Global Film Initiative are quite excited about it. But what has us equally aflutter at the moment is that two of our most popular films – Ahmed Imamovic’s BELVEDERE and Federico Veiroj’s A USEFUL LIFE – are now streaming exclusively on Fandor!

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INDUSTRY: A Decade of Film

A retrospective look at Global Lens via the images and ideas that took our signature series from infancy to adulthood…

As writer Robert Mckee said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

We agree.

Stories are the basis of humanity. They teach, they entertain, and they shape how we see the world. As humans, we are wired to connect and bond with others.

GFI was created with this purpose: to create global understanding, empathy and connectivity through the powerful medium of film, and to promote and support the vibrant growth of global filmmaking. To date, we have distributed 96 independent films from over 38 countries to North American audiences, and hosted screenings in every U.S. state except North Dakota. (Anyone in North Dakota want to help us with our 2013 New Years Resolution? Contact us!)

Through these films, we hope to inspire people to keep learning about other perspectives and ways of life. In celebration of Global Lens’ 10th year anniversary in January, we take a look at some of our films and the themes they contain from the past decade…

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NEWS: Global Lens @ Great Star Chinatown

A moment in time: The Great Star Theater, in its early days of greatness

GFI hits the streets of SF’s Chinatown with a showcase of Chinese cinema at the iconic Great Star Theater…

San Francisco’s Chinatown—what’s not to love. It’s the oldest and most storied neighborhood of the city (with North Beach and Mission as close competitors for the title), and the site of many untold tales…

Such as the arrival of “Hong Kong cinema” in 60s, via the silvery screen of the Great Star Theater—the landmark arthouse cinema credited with bringing this iconic era of cinema to the States more than fifty years ago–and now experiencing a revival (following its almost near-extinction), and soon to be credited with GFI’s first showcase presentation of Chinese cinema in the city, ever:

[from Asian Week]The Global Film Initiative, in partnership with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), is pleased to announce the presentation of four award-winning Chinese films from the Global Lens Collection on Friday, November 30th and Saturday, December 1st at the historic Great Star Theater, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood.

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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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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.

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NOW PLAYING: Morteza Farshbaf’s MOURNING and Nine Other Films to Watch–Everywhere!

Farshbaf fashions a consistently surprising and blackly comic road trip that may herald the arrival of a major new Iranian talent.“ -Institute of Contemporary Arts

The story: In the wake of his parents’ disappearance, a young boy is placed in the care of his deaf aunt and uncle who, during a road trip to Tehran, engage in a silent but apparently not-so-secret debate about the child’s future.

Iranian filmmaker Morteza Farshbaf’s master class on subtlety and sign language is now available for booking in your festival or theater, along with nine other award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the new Global Lens 2012 series.

Programmers and curators: View the 2012 lineup now on Festival Scope and email us at bookings@globalfilm.org to schedule the films today!

Film fans and enthusiasts: Read the list below and click on the map to find out where you can catch these fantastic films!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: Morteza Farshbaf’s MOURNING and Nine Other Films to Watch–Everywhere!

Meet & Frite

GFI Founder and Board Chair Susan Weeks Coulter recounts the sights, sounds (and tastes) of the 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam

Susan with the famous GFI bag–and frites!–in hand at IFFR 2012

The 9-hours-ahead time change left me with the very worst jet-lag—I found myself laying wide awake in my hotel room at 3am, humming “We Shall Overcome” in hopes that perhaps by the third verse, I might doze off.

But the quiet time did allow for a period of reflection about Holland, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Hubert Bals Fund, and of course, the Dutch people. For those of you new to The Global Film Initiative, it was actually the Hubert Bals people who jump-started our organization back in 2003.

Noah Cowan and I had been wrestling with not only the idea of what we wanted to do in showcasing film from emerging countries/film industries, but we were perplexed at how to structure such an organization. Noah met up with Simon Field who was, at the time, heading up the Hubert Bals efforts, and explained what we wanted to do in the U.S. With Simon’s encouragement, open-mindedness, and welcome, the Global Film Initiative had found an organization “structure” that we felt

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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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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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