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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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!

NOW PLAYING: Fat, Short, Bald Man from Colombia and Nine Other Global Lens 2012 Films You Don’t Want to Miss!

¿Habla Español? Click here to watch the NY1 TV interview with director Carlos Osuna!

GLOBAL LENS 2012: Click on the map to find a screening near you!

The story: The prospects for a lonely middle-aged notary unexpectedly change after he joins a self-improvement group and his charismatic new boss—and strangely affable doppelgänger—takes an interest in his life.

First-time Colombian director Carlos Osuna’s charming rotoscope feature is now screening at locations across the U.S. and Canada, and is also available for booking in festivals or theaters, along with nine other award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the new Global Lens 2012 series!

Click here to see where these films are playing, or email us at bookings@globalfilm.org to schedule films today!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: Fat, Short, Bald Man from Colombia and Nine Other Global Lens 2012 Films You Don’t Want to Miss!

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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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.

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: Global Lens on Festival Scope

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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3 on 1: MASQUERADES—from Concept to Comedy

Castro Marquee

Photo courtesy of the Arab Film Festival

For last month’s 3 on 1 column, three GFI staffers discussed the making of BECLOUD and how the film went from grant submission to Global Lens film, as well as how the director, Alejandro Gerber Bicecci, went from respected colleague to dear friend.

This month, in honor of our DVD release of the Algerian romantic comedy (and one-time Oscar hopeful) MASQUERADES, we’ve brought together three very special people to share their experience with the film: Director Lyes Salem, GFI Founder and Board Chair Susan Weeks Coulter and Michel Shehadeh, Executive Director of the Arab Film Festival.

Excerpts of our conversation with each are below and although everyone comes from a different country and background, together they prove that while a film may be subject to editing, language barriers or hectic screening environments, laughter never gets lost in translation!

Lyes Salem, director-writer-actor, on the concept behind MASQUERADES:

Lyes Salem on the set of MASQUERADES

As I was writing the script, I aimed at finding a balance between a surrealist depiction and an unlikely story—although I am not sure the story told in Masquerades is so unlikely!

In

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Picture This: Reinventing the Single-Screen Cinema in Westchester

GFI chats with Global Lens partner The Picture House about history, change, and making the switch from commercial theater to arthouse cinematheque

A single screen, many stories

Last week we posted about the unfortunate closure of the Red Vic Movie House, one of San Francisco’s most unique and celebrated arthouse theaters for the past 31 years. As an antidote to that sad event, today we bring you a profile of The Picture House, Westchester County’s gorgeous single-screen theater that specializes in showing the best in independent, international and classical cinema.

A new screening-partner of ours, The Picture House hosted Global Lens 2011 last month, which of course included A USEFUL LIFE, Federico Veiroj’s bittersweet homage to cinephile culture. But unlike the film’s Cinemateca Uruguay, which is forced to close after the archive fails to make financial ends meet (and as other theaters across the United States are actively moving away from arthouse fare in favor of the latest blockbusters), the Picture House recently made the bold decision to a switch from a first-run commericial theater to an arthouse cinematheque. This past week we caught up with Jennifer Christman, Executive Director of The Picture House, to discuss this impressive move and the future of their institution.

Can you give our readers a brief overview of The Picture House, its history

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