INTERVIEW: Life, Death and Moving On with Sebastián Silva

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Filmmaker Sebastán Silva

Rob Avila asks the [young] veteran about his very first feature, LIFE KILLS ME, and whether there’s any truth to the saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’…

Rob Avila met Sebastián Silva–the 34-year-old New York-based Chilean filmmaker, who received international acclaim in 2009 with his beautifully wrought, darkly funny drama, THE MAID (LA NANA)–at the beginning of a very big week. Silva debuted not one but two new films at the 2013 Sundance Film FestivalCRYSTAL FAIRY and MAGIC MAGIC—both featuring popular Canadian actor Michael Cera. Even before that happened, Silva headed to the Museum of Modern Art for the New York premiere of yet another of his films–his very first, 2007’s LIFE KILLS ME (LA VIDA ME MATA), as part of the Global Film Initiative’s Global Lens 2013 series.

LIFE KILLS ME centers on a taciturn young man, Gaspar (Gabriel Díaz), emotionally immobile and feebly suicidal with grief since the death of his idolized older brother. Gaspar lives with his older sister, his senile mother, and his dying grandfather, but occupies his time working as a cinematographer on a short horror film written and directed by, as well as starring, a flamboyant and irrepressible no-talent named Susana (the scene-stealing Claudia Celedón, who with costar Catalina Saavedra would go

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FEATURE: An Indie from India Comes to SF

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Ashim talks to students at Berkeley High School

Joanne Parsont, Director of Education at the San Francisco Film Society, reflects on SFFS’ incomparable artist in residence, Ashim Ahluwalia…

Each time the San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) invites an international filmmaker to participate in our Artist in Residence program (funded this winter by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences), there’s a mix of eager anticipation and wary uncertainty. We’ve seen their films, but what will they actually be like in person? Will they take full advantage of their two weeks in San Francisco? Will they be any fun to hang out with? For our latest Artist in Residence (and, really, all of our previous residents), the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “yes.”

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SPOTLIGHT: Rob Peaslee of Texas Tech University

podiumTexas Tech University Professor of Media and Communication Robert Peaslee talks to GFI about screening Global Lens and the importance of international film in education…

The Global Lens film series first caught Robert Peaslee’s eyes as a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Fast forward to the present, and Peaslee, now an Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University, has been screening GFI’s Global Lens series at the university’s College of Media and Communications for five years! This relationship has fostered engaging discussions in an educational setting, while also providing an important context for students living in a world where international stories are told from a domestic perspective…

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INTERVIEW: The Power of Small Stories–Suman Ghosh Speaks About His Labor of Love, SHYAMAL UNCLE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS

Director Suman Ghosh

Director Suman Ghosh

Rob Avila talks with director Suman Ghosh about leading a double life…
In the United States he’s a respected economist and academic. In India, he is better known as the award-winning movie director of such critical and box-office successes as Podokkhep (Footsteps), Dwando (The Conflict), and Nobel Chor (Nobel Thief), starring Mithun Chakraborty. But as the Calcutta native discusses below, his early passion for films grew up right alongside his doctoral work in economics at Cornell University through eye-opening studies conducted concurrently in Cornell’s film department.

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SPOTLIGHT: Dialogue, Diversity, and Community in Rhode Island

 

ba065ec4c78ade1a2ec8fdc5b8bc730fDr. Anthony Galvez of Rhode Island College’s Dialogue on Diversity Committee on engaging the campus in a conversation about global understanding…

In the fall of 2011, Anthony Galvez, a communications professor at Rhode Island College (RIC), first contacted us to discuss the possibility of hosting Global Lens in Providence. A year later, RIC had struck a partnership with the Providence Public Library to co-present the 2012 series for their community, premiering THE FINGER and THE PRIZE in Rhode Island in September. The series was a hit, and the screenings sparked spirited audience discussions, sometimes continuing onto the streets of downtown Providence! The College and the Library are partnering again this year to showcase Global Lens 2013, and we recently caught up with Dr. Galvez and Antoinette Gomes (Director of RIC’s Unity Center) to chat about the impact of our films on the community.

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SPOTLIGHT: CAIRO 678 and The Carter Center

The Carter Center

The Carter Center

This month, The Carter Center will be screening CAIRO 678, from Global Lens 2013, at their “Winter Weekend” in San Diego—a four-day event featuring guests such as former UN Ambassador Andrew Young, and a town hall with former U.S. President and Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter, and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

This is our first time working with the Center, and so we asked Ahna B. Machan, Senior Associate Director of Development, and organizer of the event, to discuss why this particular film was selected for the Winter Weekend, and how it fits with The Carter Center’s mission and vision:

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OPEN MIC: Teaching Global Citizenship Through Film

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If a film is a mirror of the culture that bares it, there is a wealth of information in the images it shows us. A scene from GREY MATTER.

Former intern Andrea Moran on bringing film in the classroom and why a plan for international education is so important…

A few months ago, U.S. Department of Education released its first ever plan for international education. The 16-page report, titled “Succeeding Globally Through International Education and Engagement” is a 4-year strategy for increasing American students’ knowledge and engagement with world affairs.

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EDUCATION: Watch, Explore, Contribute: Global Lens-Based Tutorial Now Online!

In BORDER CAFE a woman earns economic independence and wins the love of this man with her cooking.

Kathy Warren, uses two Global Lens films to create unique online learning tutorials on Sophia.org

The Global Film Initiative asked Ms. Warren to describe the educational website and her inspiration for creating a tutorial with some of our award-winning Global Lens films:

GFI: Tell us a little bit about this website?

KW: Sophia.org is a website developed by Capella University, where I am working toward a Ph.D. in online learning design.

It is a free resource available to anyone, anywhere, to develop and run “tutorials” or lesson plans. The website has more than 28,000 tutorials, and lessons can contain videos, audio, links and other resources, for a class at school, or for a group discussion, or for just about any other learning opportunity.

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INDUSTRY: A Decade of Film

A retrospective look at Global Lens via the images and ideas that took our signature series from infancy to adulthood…

As writer Robert Mckee said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”

We agree.

Stories are the basis of humanity. They teach, they entertain, and they shape how we see the world. As humans, we are wired to connect and bond with others.

GFI was created with this purpose: to create global understanding, empathy and connectivity through the powerful medium of film, and to promote and support the vibrant growth of global filmmaking. To date, we have distributed 96 independent films from over 38 countries to North American audiences, and hosted screenings in every U.S. state except North Dakota. (Anyone in North Dakota want to help us with our 2013 New Years Resolution? Contact us!)

Through these films, we hope to inspire people to keep learning about other perspectives and ways of life. In celebration of Global Lens’ 10th year anniversary in January, we take a look at some of our films and the themes they contain from the past decade…

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FEATURE: Shooting the Past and Present of Albanian Cinema

Thomas Logoreci is a filmmaker, sometime journalist and occasional film festival programmer living and working in the Balkans.

Thomas Logoreci, co-writer of GFI grantee WORLD, discusses the evolution of cinema within an ever-changing landscape of Albania…

Thomas Logoreci here. I used to live in San Francisco. I produced and edited Caveh Zahedi’s Bay Area indie comedy I AM A SEX ADDICT which was released back in 2005. Five years later, I picked up and moved my entire life to the East European nation of Albania. I’m half-Albanian but owing to the country’s fifty years of North Korea-like communism, violent civil unrest in 1997 and the 1998-99 war in neighboring Kosovo, I did not get to Albania for the first time until 2005.

Even though I barely advanced my Albanian language skills, I ended up visiting the country several times, eventually earning a modest income rewriting scripts for some of the country’s foremost filmmakers. In 2008, I was asked to come back to the capital to program the country’s Tirana International Film Festival. During the frantic fest week, I met Iris Elezi, a talented cineaste who pitched me her script titled BOTA (the Albanian word for ’world’), which she intended to direct.

We ended up reshaping the story together – a group of outsiders working in a café at the edge of a haunted swamp cope

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