SUPPORT: Our Roots Are Showing

The Inauguration: MARGARETTE'S FEAST, the first film acquired for Global Lens

After years of ‘pushing the envelope’ and ‘changing the game’ with Global Lens, we went back to the basics for our tenth year…

Global Lens 2013 is just around the corner, and if you haven’t noticed [with all the fanfare], it’s the tenth anniversary of our most beloved series. A ‘decade of film’—from silent to sign language, notes of opera and narrative “firsts.” Baghdad. Mina Gerais. The Caspian Sea…

It’s an accomplishment. Over the years, almost 100 filmmakers, from backgrounds as varied and diverse as the history of cinema, trusted us to take their vision to screen via Global Lens. That we did, with the help of just a few thousand friends. And in just a few short weeks, we’ll be heading to New York to christen this tenth year of Global Lens with our very first friend: the Museum of Modern Art.

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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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GRANTING: Put Your Best Foot Forward!

Get a head start on 2013 by submitting your application to our Winter granting cycle today!

NINAH'S DOWRY, dir. Victor Viyuoh, Cameroon was awarded a GFI film production grant in Winter 2010. Be sure to greet the new year with your best foot forward–submit your granting application before our January 15, 2013 deadline! (Photo: Fort Lauderdale IFF)

Well, friends. We made it through December 21, 2012 (and the rest of 2012, as far as I’m concerned) sans an apocalypse, which means that those of us who were eagerly looking forward to leaving behind our worries–like mortgage payments and reality TV–will undoubtedly have to rethink our plans. Thankfully, we’re at the start of a new year (GFI’s tenth), and it’s a great time fora fresh start and a few New Year’s resolutions…

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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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FEATURE: Shooting the Past and Present of Albanian Cinema

Thomas Logoreci is a filmmaker, sometime journalist and occasional film festival programmer living and working in the Balkans.

Thomas Logoreci, co-writer of GFI grantee WORLD, discusses the evolution of cinema within an ever-changing landscape of Albania…

Thomas Logoreci here. I used to live in San Francisco. I produced and edited Caveh Zahedi’s Bay Area indie comedy I AM A SEX ADDICT which was released back in 2005. Five years later, I picked up and moved my entire life to the East European nation of Albania. I’m half-Albanian but owing to the country’s fifty years of North Korea-like communism, violent civil unrest in 1997 and the 1998-99 war in neighboring Kosovo, I did not get to Albania for the first time until 2005.

Even though I barely advanced my Albanian language skills, I ended up visiting the country several times, eventually earning a modest income rewriting scripts for some of the country’s foremost filmmakers. In 2008, I was asked to come back to the capital to program the country’s Tirana International Film Festival. During the frantic fest week, I met Iris Elezi, a talented cineaste who pitched me her script titled BOTA (the Albanian word for ’world’), which she intended to direct.

We ended up reshaping the story together – a group of outsiders working in a café at the edge of a haunted swamp cope

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INDUSTRY: GFI + the San Francisco Film Society Put On The Happiest of Hours

GFI's Jeremy Quist and Evan Knopf ready for happy hour!

In early November, GFI got together with Bay Area-based friends to raise a toast to the important things in life…

With so much to talk about in the wake of the SF Giants’ World Series triumph and the recent U.S. elections, The Global Film Initiative and the San Francisco Film Society hosted a gathering at Churchill Bar for happy hour festivities.

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Abu Dhabi FF, Mumbai FF and more!

SOUTHWEST (coming soon via Global Lens 2013!) wins a critics award in Montreal, WHEN I SAW YOU wins Best Arab Film in Abu Dhabi and MISS LOVELY takes the festival circuit by storm!

It’s a new month and that means more festival appearances and awards for our Global Lens and GFI-funded films! See below for the latest updates:

GFI grant recipient WILDLIFE (Philippines) won the NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film at the Warsaw Film Festival! (Photo: Busan IFF)

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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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