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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NEW ON DVD: MASQUERADES and SHIRLEY ADAMS!

MASQUERADES from Algeria and SHIRLEY ADAMS from South Africa available today!

We’re pleased to announce the DVD release of two new films from the Global Lens film series:

DVD coverMASQUERADES (MASCARADES) Dir. Lyes Salem Algeria, 2008, 92 minutes Arabic, with subtitles in English In a dusty Algerian village, a well-intentioned fib suddenly turns a gardener into a mogul, forcing him to choose between the happiness of his narcoleptic sister and his newfound celebrity; Official Algeria Submission for Best Foreign Language Film, 81st Academy Awards; FIPRESCI Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival.

A smart, expertly made crowd-pleaser. Masterfully sure of what it sets out to accomplish–and wise enough never to take itself too seriously.” -SF360

Undoubtedly, Masquerades markes Salem out as a talent we’ll certainly be seeing more of–and if his next work is as genial as this, the pleasure will be all ours.” -Screen Daily

For more information, visit: http://catalogue.globalfilm.org/masquerades.html

DVD coverSHIRLEY ADAMS Dir. Oliver Hermanus South Africa, 2009, 92 minutes Engish and Afrikaans, with subtitles in English In the depressed Cape Town neighborhood of Cape Flats, a single mother contemplates her fate and cautiously accepts the help of an overeager social worker as she struggles to care for her paraplegic and suicidal son; Best Director and Best Actress at the South

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SUPPORT: You Say “Tomato” and I Say “Tomahto”

Global Lens and promoting a difference of opinion for the sake of diversity

Global Lens: grindhouse, arthouse, our house

Every year, we do our best to bring you the best in independent world cinema. And over the years, if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that tastes vary from person to person and often what we see in a film isn’t always the same as what you see…

Earlier this year, we released what some audiences describe[d] as a “slasher” film–and others describe as an iconic representation of the “Indian New Wave.” For us, Sidharth Srinivasan’s SOUL OF SAND is an eccentric thriller that ‘delves into the dark interstices between Indian modernity and tradition,’ and for Memphis-based critic, John Beifuss:

“A blunt horror-art hybrid… With one foot in the arthouse and the other in the grindhouse.” [more]

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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: Victor Viyuoh on Filmmaking in Cameroon

Victor Viyouh (right), director of Ninah's Dowry

Last year, GFI awarded Cameroonian director Victor Viyuoh a production grant to support completion of his film, Ninah’s Dowry. Such grants, as many of you know, are awarded twice a year to filmmakers who present us with unique cinematic visions of the world (or rather, their world). And since our founding, we have supported films that cover every kind of story one might imagine–from a behind the scenes look at Bollywood to films about wrestlers, politics, and, in Victor’s case, marriage in Cameroon.

However, as is often the situation, we sometimes find that the story behind the ‘vision’ is just as engaging as the film it produces–something Victor recently reminded us of after sending an email recounting the various difficulties he and his production crew faced while trying to film Ninah’s Dowry in Cameroon.

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J.M. Gaston Kaboré Joins GFI Film Board

We are pleased to announce that acclaimed Burkinabe director and founder of the Imagine Institute in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, J.M. Gaston Kaboré has been appointed to the Global Film Initiative’s Film Board.

Before founding the Imagine Institute in 2005, Mr. Kaboré served as Director of the Centre National du Cinéma in Burkina Faso, and as Secretary-General of Pan-African Federation of Filmmakers from 1985-1997. As a film director, Mr. Kaboré is most well-known for his films Wend Kuuni–which at the time of its production in 1982 was only the second feature film to be produced in Burkina Faso–and Buud Yam, which received the Best Film award at the 15th Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO).

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FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Havana, Pusan, Valdivia, and Marrakech Film Festivals!

Congratulations to the following Global Lens films and filmmakers:

Uruguayan director Federico Veiroj’s A USEFUL LIFE received the Coral Award for Best Film and Argentinean director Diego Lerman’s THE INVISIBLE EYE was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 New Latin American Film Festival in Havana, Cuba. Featured in Global Lens 2011.

DOOMAN RIVER, by Chinese director Zhang Lu, received the NETPAC Award at the 2010 Pusan International Film Festival. GFI grant awarded in 2009 and featured in Global Lens 2011.

A Look Behind the Mask

Rob Avila speaks with Algerian Actor, Director & Screenwriter Lyès Salem about his award-winning comedy, MASQUERADES

Thoughtful and good-humored, with leading-man looks, actor-filmmaker Lyes Salem was in the Bay Area recently to present Masquerades at the opening night of the Arab Film Festival, where he was greeted by a full house at the Castro Theatre, San Francisco’s beloved movie palace. A few days later, wearing a tourist’s camera around his neck, he arrived at the offices of the Global Film Initiative, distributor of the film in the United States, for a chat about his inspiration as a filmmaker, his life during and beyond Masquerades, and the role of humor in reaching an audience.

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