SUPPORT: Beyond Sun-Tzu

Santhosh Daniel, GFI Director of Programs, on the business of doing “good business”

A scene from MOURNING, by Iranian director Morteza Farshbaf (Global Lens 2012)

A few days ago, at the blink of midnight, we closed a distribution deal for the Iranian film MOURNING, by Morteza Farshbaf. And, like all late-night business, it was a harried affair, replete with heavy texting and the adrenalin rush of knowing we had acquired a film that, only a few hours earlier, took top awards at the 2011 Busan International Film Festival—Asia’s largest festival and film market.

For us, it was the culmination of a long four days in Busan and also, a modest pinnacle of achievement. Normally, we don’t make a play for films that are fresh out of a festival, covered in the glitter of awards—not because we don’t see the value of the work, but simply because the strength of our endeavor has never been about being the proverbial “player,” making a deal and beating our competitors for the “hot” film on the market.

But this film struck a very different and distinct chord, and so we decided to make an offer. And in the afterglow of signing it for our 2012 lineup (Global Lens 2012), it afforded us the opportunity to consider how such a deal, for such a film, was possible…

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GRANTING: Summer 2011 Grantees Announced!

Grantees include eight-director Mexican ensemble production, THE ROOM, and acclaimed Palestinian director Annemarie Jacir’s sophomore feature, WHEN I SAW YOU

On location for Annemarie Jacir's WHEN I SAW YOU

They submitted and we reviewed. Of course, what went into each process cannot be summed up in just a few words.

Nearly 100 films in various stages of production sent in applications, detailing their hard work, passion and vision. From every corner of the world—including first-time submissions from East Timor, Guatemala and Sri Lanka—filmmakers and producers mailed carefully-composed packages that contained the fruits of their labor (thankfully, they didn’t send the blood, sweat and tears shed in the process).

We went through each application (representing 44 nations in all) reading scripts, watching rough cuts, and writing detailed coverage of each film. It wasn’t an easy or obvious decision, but we did end up choosing ten exciting projects to award production funds, and are thrilled by the creativity and brilliance in each one.

Read the official press release now!

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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