SUPPORT: Living Up To Our Name

mick

The Science of Inertia: don't get him started (photo: Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones)

Looking down the rabbit hole at the genesis of “initiative,” global film and making a difference…

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved science. The systematic study of structure. Atoms crowding on the head of a pin. Discovery…

As an adult, I haven’t lost this love–ironically, it’s what led me to a career in the arts and The Global Film Initiative. Because I’ve always been fascinated by the [scientific] concepts of “inertia” and “potential energy” (that everything around us is simultaneously resisting change and has the potential to change), and how those concepts apply themselves in other elements of our world…

A stone rolls once pushed. Still water ripples when hit with a stone. Mick Jagger–if you start him up he’ll never stop. All that needs to occur is a decision to act. All that’s required to change a state of inertia or release potential energy is someone or something with… Initiative.

The Global Film Initiative began with this in mind, and it’s this guiding precept that has kept us inspired by what we do. The world around us evolves slowly, imperceptibly or sometimes not at all. But regardless, it is always ready for change. And once that change occurs it can repeat itself like rolling thunder…

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NEWS: Seyfi Teoman, 1977 – 2012

A tribute to Turkish filmmaker and GFI grant recipient Seyfi Teoman

Turkish filmmaker and friend of GFI, Seyfi Teoman, passed away on May 8. (Photo: Bulut Film)

This week, we received news of the tragic passing of Turkish filmmaker Seyfi Teoman. He was 35.

Seyfi was the director of SAINTS—a recent GFI grant recipient that was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. In script form, we found the film compelling, thoughtful and unique, all characteristics of Seyfi’s previous works that earned him international recognition. I’m happy we had the chance to tell him how much we appreciated his work.

Although I never had the pleasure of meeting Seyfi in person, SAINTS and his other films speak volumes about Seyfi and how he’ll be remembered by his family and friends.

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SUPPORT: Change the Way You See the World

Because in an empathic civilization, ‘monkey see, monkey do’ isn’t such a bad thing

Empathic Civilization

WATCH: The Empathic Civilization (courtesy of RSA Animate and Jonathan Rifkin)

Not long ago, Emma Rae Lierley, Administrative Coordinator at GFI, sent me a link to a video on “The Empathic Civilization” (right). Her rationale in sending it was that she felt it encapsulated the basic premise upon which Global Lens was founded: that in our most sympathetic state of human existence, we are all connected.

Of course, nowadays, we hear such things all the time. Technological evolution has certainly connected us with the world outside our physical boundaries. Intellectual curiosity has always found a way to merge minds above borders. And then, without doubt, there is religion.

All are valid points of connection, connectivity. But the video makes a much more basic point. It says that we, as humans, are predisposed to having shared feelings and emotions, or an “empathic” relationship with one another that intuitively draws us together, as a people (see the video’s example of ‘monkey see, monkey do’).

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GRANTING: GFI’s Winter 2012 Grantees Announced!

Newest grant recipients include five narrative feature film debuts from Albania, Georgia, Rwanda, Venezuela and Turkey! View the trailer of GFI 2012 grant recipient, THE PARDON!

The decisions are in.

We are very pleased to announce that after much deliberation, ten new films have been chosen to receive production funding of up to $10,000 each during the Winter 2012 granting cycle! The grant recipients hail from diverse nations and regions—from Peru’s mountainous countryside to the Philippines’ sandy shores—and include GFI’s first grantees from Croatia, Rwanda and Venezuela! Read the official press release here.

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SUPPORT: E Pluribus Unum

Thousands of stories in the evolution of one world

Nigerian writer Chimanda Ngozi Adichie and the Danger of the Single Story

In just a few days, we’ll be announcing our Winter 2012 grantees–ten films by ten filmmakers that, coincidentally, mark our tenth year of grantmaking.

It’s a significant milestone, and an auspicious occasion. And like all granting cycles, it affords a moment to reflect on the statement we’re making. Because in awarding these grants, we are of course saying that of the hundreds of projects we reviewed, these ten are “the best”… But are they?

A few years ago, Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a TEDtalk about the “danger of the single story.” Her essential point was that no one story, no singular history or perspective, is the only story—and believing otherwise is what leads to the inability of many people to be sympathetic, if not empathetic, toward other cultures.

It’s a simple and true analysis, most people do tend to only hear the story that’s within earshot—whether that comes from their government, history, religion, family or community. And it’s a sentiment that often echoes in mind, especially when we award grants to filmmakers or, choose films for Global Lens: Are we telling a single story?

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People in Film: Annemarie Jacir (via Doha Film Institute)

Annemarie Jacir, director of WHEN I SAW YOU (2011 GFI grantee), talks to the Doha Film Institute about the inspiration and origins of her work

Photo: Doha Film Institute

(via Doha Film Institute) Annemarie Jacir is an acclaimed filmmaker and screenwriter living in Jordan. Two of her films have premiered as official selections at the Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature film, “Salt of this Sea”, was Palestine’s official Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film.

Jacir lived in Saudi Arabia until the age of sixteen, and received her formal education in the United States. She began her work in the theatre, writing and directing plays. Her career in cinema began as an editor and camerawoman. She worked in the film industry in Los Angeles before attending Columbia University in New York to obtain a degree in film. She is the co-founder of Philistine Films, an independent production company which focuses on the Arab world. Jacir is also an author and poet. Her poetry and stories have been published in “Mizna”, “The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology” and the collection “Poets for Palestine”.

She lives in Amman and is currently in postproduction on her new film “When I Saw You”.

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Behind the Curtain and After the Final Cut

Go beneath the surface to get the back-story on the films of Global Lens 2012

Click here to learn more about Kivu Ruhorahoza and GREY MATTER, the first narrative feature film produced in Rwanda by a native Rwandan filmmaker

Anyone familiar with the entertainment industry knows that sometimes off-screen activities can overshadow what’s happening in the films themselves. Take, for example, Lars von Trier’s controversy at Cannes last year or the preoccupation with Lindsay Lohan’s after-hours adventures. It’s easy to see why people like having this insider knowledge, but not all of it is scandalous—in fact, hearing the stories and secrets behind this year’s Global Lens films prove that there can be substance behind the curtain and after the final cut.

For example, Kivu Ruhorahoza’s GREY MATTER is about a young Rwandan filmmaker struggling to create a film that might help him reconcile the trauma of genocide. In reality, Kivu was only 12 years old during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and lived in constant fear for his family’s welfare. At the age of 16, he set out to become a filmmaker in a country with scarcely a tripod or sound equipment suitable for his camera. Needless to say, GREY MATTER’s story line of someone battling the odds to make a tough film is a direct expression of his artistic path

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GLOBAL LENS 2012: Meet the Directors

A long-haired rocker seeking acceptance, an adult returning to the beaches of her childhood and an artist looking for the meaning in monotony are just a few of the minds behind this year’s series…

From left: Gustavo Pizzi (CRAFT, Brazil) and Tolga Karacelik (TOLL BOOTH, Turkey) at the Global Lens 2012 premiere in New York

Every person has a voice. Every voice tells a story. Every story reveals a world.

The Global Lens series trailer opens with these 15 words, and they really do sum up why we’re here. We work with film, but more importantly, we work with people. And by using film to give life to their stories, these people have become the living, breathing embodiment of Global Lens.

With this in mind, we’d like to introduce you to the brilliant filmmakers behind the Global Lens 2012 series, and let them explain the concept, creation & message of their work for themselves.

Sharing these stories is what we’re all about, and the reason why, after all these years, the words of the Global Lens trailer still ring true.

Ladies and gentlemen, here they are, the directors of Global Lens 2012!

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Oday Rasheed on the Making of QARANTINA and Remaking Baghdad in Today’s Iraq

Rob Avila and Iraqi director Oday Rasheed discuss the genesis of inspiration against a backdrop of war, politics and filmmaking

Iraqi director Oday Rasheed talks to Rob Avila during the premiere of Global Lens 2012 at MoMA

Oday Rasheed is one of only a small handful of filmmakers working and producing in Iraq today. His first feature, Underexposure (2005), captured the immediate aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in a fictional documentary-style story about a Baghdad filmmaker trying to make sense of the tumult of this period. Soon after its debut, Rasheed left the growing sectarian violence in Baghdad for Berlin, where he immersed himself in film studies, gravitating to the works of Andrei Tarkovsky, among others, and eventually developed the script for his second feature, Qarantina. He returned to Baghdad in 2008 to make the film, which was completed in 2010.

Qarantina is one of ten awarding-winning films featured in the Global Lens 2012 series, premiering this January at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Oday was able to attend his Global Lens screening in New York as part of a short U.S. tour that includes multiple screenings at MoMA, and a presentation of the film at the Council on Foreign Relations on January 25th, and also at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service on January 30th.

Recently, during the premiere of Global Lens

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NEW ON DVD: Adrift and My Tehran For Sale!

Lust, Longing and Chuyen’s ADRIFT and Granaz Moussavi’s Controversial MY TEHRAN FOR SALE to release on DVD January 31st

We’re pleased to announce the DVD release of two new films from the Global Lens film series, featuring a charged performance by Vietnamese actress Hai Yen and Moussavi’s “hit and run” chronicle of Tehran’s underground art scene:

 

Adrift DVD CoverADRIFT (CHOI VOI), dir. Bui Thac Chuyen, Vietnam, 2009, 110 minutes, Vietnamese, with subtitles in English

A young wife, ignored by her immature spouse, is caught in a love triangle between her best friend and a handsome stranger during a languorous summer in Hanoi. FIPRESCI Prize, Venice International Film Festival; Official Selection of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (Bright Future).

A subtle, melancholy exploration of erotic angst and uncomfortable awakening…Adrift evokes a culture whose puritanical restraints have begun to loosen, allowing dangerous sparks to fly. Once desire has been unleashed, smugly settling for less is no longer a comfortable option.“ -The New York Times

Beautiful, and tightly focused on the emotional, romantic, and sexual lives of men and women in Hanoi….This is new Vietnamese cinema.” -diaCRITICS

 

My Tehran For Sale DVD CoverMY TEHRAN FOR SALE, dir. Granaz Moussavi, Iran, 2009, 95 minutes, Farsi and English, with subtitles in English

An

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