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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Global Lens 2012 @ MoMA!

Our ninth season opens January 12th in New York with the director, cast and crew of TOLL BOOTH

The new year is just a few weeks away, and with it comes launch of Global Lens 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art, January 12th-28th! The presentation, as many of you know, is part of our annual and ongoing collaboration with the Museum, and is organized by Jytte Jensen, Senior Curator in MoMA’s Department of Film. And what can we say except…

It’s one of our best series yet. Global Lens 2012 includes GREY MATTER, the first narrative feature film produced in Rwanda by a native Rwandan filmmaker; the oh-so-lovable Farfan, star of FAT, BALD SHORT MAN (the first-ever rotoscope feature for Global Lens); and top picks from Pusan, FESPACO, Morelia and Guadalajara international film festivals (and, not to mention, Albania’s official submission to the Oscars: AMNESTY).

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NEW ON DVD: Leo’s Room and Ocean of an Old Man!

LGBT Festival-favorite LEO’S ROOM and Rajesh Shera’s Post-Apocalyptic Gem OCEAN OF AN OLD MAN to Release on DVD November 8th

The Global Film Initiative is pleased to announce the DVD release of two new films from the Global Lens film series:

Dir. Enrique Buchichio Uruguay, 2009, 92 minutes Spanish, with subtitles in English
Shaken by a recent breakup, a troubled but handsome young man dreams of the future and cautiously explores his sexuality with the encouragement of an old friend and a sympathetic therapist. Special Jury Award, Torino GLBT Film Festival; Official Selection of the San Sebastián Film Festival (New Directors), NewFest and Miami International Film Festival.
“A sensitive, engaging and emotive portrayal of a young man coming to terms with his sexuality. Leo’s Room is a triumph of a movie….The understated performances, subtle direction and strong story make Leo’s Room a must-see.” -Entertainment Focus
“Filled with wonderful little touches and character beats….Leo’s Room feels utterly fresh.” -Miami Herald

OCEAN OF AN OLD MAN Dir. Rajesh Shera India, 2008, 84 minutes Hindi, with subtitles in English In the devastating aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, an elderly British schoolteacher comes to grips with his own loss as he searches for

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The Out-of-Towners

L-R: Granting & Distribution Coordinator, Angelica Dongallo, Filmmaker and GFI Film Board member, Gaston Kabore, Administrative Coordinator, Emma Rae Lierley

Administrative Coordinator Emma Rae Lierley on “keeping it local” with GFI’s global guests

‘Promoting cross-cultural understanding through cinema’ is an interesting endeavor in the digital age: most of our work happens at a stationary desk, firmly rooted in our San Francisco office, with new-fangled technology making all of it possible. And while we do take the occasional international trip (such as our recent excursion to Basque country!), we’re often required to be more home-body than jet-setter. Which is exactly why interacting with people outside of our office gives us different perspectives on the world–and why we get so excited when visitors come to our ‘neck of the woods.’

Last month, the Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF) brought new and old friends to the Bay Area. Paula Markovitch, director of The Prize and Anas El Baz, lead actor of Pegasus, both visited our neighbors on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, and gave audiences at MVFF a sneak preview of two standout films from Global Lens 2012–which has its official release in January.

The festival also paid tribute to our old friend and GFI Film Board Member Gaston Kabore with screenings

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Sneak Preview: Global Lens 2012!

The official announcement is a few weeks away, but we’re spilling the beans. Here’s an exclusive glimpse of a few films from next year’s lineup! Drumroll please…

We’ll start with two very special films: AMNESTY, by Albanian newcomer Bujar Alimani and FAT, BALD, SHORT MAN—Carlos Osuna’s unique and endearing [rotoscope] portrait of a man in the middle of, well, middle age.

Both films will have their official Global Lens release in New York this January, but if you’d like a sneak preview, check them out at the Chicago International Film Festival (October 6th-20th)!

Hmmm…want more? Well, we don’t want to give too much away. But, as an additional teaser, check out the trailer below for another excellent film from the 2012 series: CRAFT, by Brazilian auteur Gustavo Pizzi!

OSCARS!!!

[UPDATE – October 1, 2011: GFI grantee SKOONHEID is also going to the Oscars! See full post about all awards here]

Congratulations to Ahmed Imamovic, and Daniel and Diego Vega! Ahmed’s second film, BELVEDERE (currently featured in Global Lens 2011), is Bosnia-Herzegovina’s official submission to the 2011 Academy Awards! And not to be outdone, the Vega brothers’ debut feature [and 2008 GFI grant-recipient], OCTOBER, is Peru’s official submission!

We wish both films much success, with fingers crossed for a golden Oscar (and a clandestine note of luck for GFI grantee Dervis Zaim, whose film SHADOWS AND FACES, is short-listed as Turkey’s official submission)!

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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Global Lens @ 54th San Francisco International Film Festival!

GFI co-presents THE LIGHT THIEF and A USEFUL LIFE at the 54th San Francisco International Film Festival

Bay Area film fans, rejoice! The San Francisco International Film Festival kicks off tonight, with nearly 200 films screening over the next two weeks!

We are very proud to co-present two Global Lens films in the festival this year:

THE LIGHT THIEF (dir. Aktan Arym Kubat, Kyrgyzstan): A humble electrician intent on enlivening his windswept 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. Included in Redefine Magazine’s festival recommendations!

¿Habla Español? Click here to watch Federico speak about A USEFUL LIFE on NY1 News!

A USEFUL LIFE (dir. Federico Veiroj, Uruguay): After financial troubles and a dwindling audience force an art-house cinema to shut its doors permanently, its most devoted employee is suddenly left without a ‘home’ and forced to adjust to life outside of the theater. Included in the San Francisco Chronicle’s festival highlights!

In addition, two GFI-grant supported films are included in the festival’s lineup: A YEAR WITHOUT SUMMER, by Malaysian director Tan Chui Mui, and ASLEEP IN THE SUN, from Argentine

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Veiroj Vérité

Rob Avila and Global Lens filmmaker, Federico Veiroj, discuss sexual rites of passage, Montevideo’s Jewish community and the director’s short film, AS FOLLOWS

With something more like resignation than enthusiasm, 13-year-old Rafael Bregman (Diego Radzewicz) prepares for his bar mitzvah. At the rabbi’s desk, he dutifully mouths the ceremonial Hebrew that comes so much less naturally to him than his native Spanish. But it’s all part of becoming a man in this Jewish enclave of Montevideo, Uruguay—and, as follows here, will no doubt prove a complex memory some day. (Perhaps it’s his own bar mitzvah that Bregman senior (Omar Varela) is remembering as he slumbers on his analyst’s couch!)

Federico Veiroj’s 13-minute short, As Follows (Bregman, el siguiente)—which GFI is distributing alongside the 35-year-old Uruguayan filmmaker’s feature film, A Useful Life (La Vida Útil)—is a wry, charming story of a rich Latin American subculture and a boy set on the uncertain, ambiguous cusp of manhood. Watch the entire film below and read on for an interview with Federico Veiroj!

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Support a Filmmaker

Read about our support of director Federico Veiroj and how you can contribute to our programs

Federico Veiroj (left) and GFI Director of Programs, Santhosh Daniel, at the U.S. premiere of A USEFUL LIFE

Every year since our founding, we’ve offered our support to filmmakers from around the world through out Granting and Distribution programs. In doing this, we hope to make an impact on the life and career of individuals, but we rarely stop to think about how, every now and then, the individual has an impact on us.

Uruguayan director Federico Veiroj is one example of this. Five years ago, he sent us his short film, AS FOLLOWS. At the time, he had only made this one film and although we neither grant nor distribute short films, we found it to be so entertaining, we decided to include it in our Global Lens 2005 touring series.

A year later, Federico then approached us with a new film: ACNE. This was his first feature-length film and a conceptual continuation of his short, and we encouraged him to apply to our Granting Program. At the time of Federico’s application, Uruguayan cinema was just emerging to be a significant force in independent cinema. And upon reading his script, we believed [Federico] to be a strong representative of this phenomenon and subsequently, awarded him a production grant for his film.

Many years later,

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