FEATURE: Global Migration–More Than The Birds

HofburgFounder and Board Chair Susan Weeks Coulter traveled to Vienna this past week to take part in the UNAOC panel on media and intercultural dialogue…

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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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NEWS: Global Lens 2013 @ MoMA!

Global Lens 2013: Change the Way You See the World

Our tenth anniversary opens with China’s Sixth Generation, Sebastián Silva, the biggest film you’ve ever seen from Brazil (literally), and a host of Global Lens alumnus.…

It’s our tenth year and we’re kicking off Global Lens 2013, January 10th-26th, with ten films at the Museum of Modern Art! It’s going to be some celebration…

BEIJING FLICKERS will open the series on January 10th with a week-run at MoMA and director Zhang Yuan and actor Li Xinjun in attendance, to launch the festivities (a must see: Zhang is the acclaimed director of Beijing Bastards, and part of the gritty Sixth Generation ethos—who in the ‘90s, pushed Chinese filmmaking out of an overly-romanticized lens into the alter-reality of its edgy, urban psyche).

Also in New York for the GL13 opening: Suman Ghosh for the North American premiere of SHYAMAL UNCLE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS, on January 11th. This film is something to indeed be experienced with the director, as he runs his fingers through the tangled hair of Kolkata’s bureaucracy; an inspired and insightful work that carries a subtle charm, similar to another Global Lens standout.

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NEW ON DVD: Mohammad Rasoulof’s THE WHITE MEADOWS

The imprisoned director’s stunning visual journey into tradition and the struggle for individual freedom in Iran–available on DVD Janaury 8th.

The Global Film Initiative is pleased to announce the Global Lens DVD release of the award-winning critics’ pick, THE WHITE MEADOWS by Iranian director, Mohammad Rasoulof

Originally featured in Global Lens 2011, THE WHITE MEADOWS gained worldwide attention last year following the arrest and prison sentencing of Rasoulof and fellow filmmaker Jafar Panahi (editor of THE WHITE MEADOWS) for “film-related activities” against the Iranian government. In support of Rasoulof, the Initiative presented the film in over fifty U.S. cities as part of Global Lens 2011 and also in select showcase exhibitions, including a special presentation hosted by actor/director Peter Coyote at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and a “protest” exhibition at the 2011 International Film Festival Rotterdam.

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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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MONTH IN REVIEW: Flying High with GFI

Flying high with GFI

Board member Shaari Ergas catches air with Virgin America, Evan Knopf joins our ground crew and our new Facebook page launches across the interwebs…

As the first rains of the season hit the West Coast, it makes us here at GFI want to cuddle up and watch good movies til Spring. Before we do that, however, we’ve had some moves to make–in the air, on the ground, and on the internet.

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OPEN MIC: Social Media and Global Connectivity

Laura Brewer, Online Marketing, discusses “global” social media and how you can join GFI’s digital discourse…

In this era of Arab Spring, Olympic controversy, and “social media presidencies”, Social Media is one of the most talked-about phenomena of our time. I say phenomena because, well, what is it really?

It can feel like an ever-changing, highly accessible force in our lives: a force that can lead to obsession, laughter, understanding, misunderstanding, boredom, even revolution. Its much bigger than the sum of its digital parts, much more important than the individual channels, feeds, boards, or pages viewed.

An Instagram shot from our August Happy Hour!

Social media is inherently interested in the idea of ”global”. It transcends geography and sometimes language. It allows previously quieted voices to speak. Stories and recipes and opinions can be shared by anyone, anywhere, at any time. Like film, social media provides completely digestible insight into cultures for anyone who will listen. And, most importantly, it opens avenues for dialogue.

Our aim at GFI is to create global understanding, cultural empathy and connectivity through film. We help people take initiative and change the way they see the world. We often talk about the transformative power of film and its ability to take the viewer to another place, time, or

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NEW ON DVD: The Light Thief and Soul of Sand

The winds of change blow through both SOUL OF SAND (India) and THE LIGHT THIEF (Kyrgyzstan)–releasing on DVD September 25.

New award-winning films from Aktan Arym Kubat and Sidharth Srinivasan present a powerful look into the politics of class, caste, capitalism and environmentalism in a rapidly modernizing world.

THE LIGHT THIEF (SVET-AKE), dir. Aktan Arym Kubat, Kyrgyzstan, 2010, 80 minutes, Kyrgyz, with subtitles in English

A humble electrician intent on enlivening his rural 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. FIPRESCI Prize, Eurasia International Film Festival; Official Kyrgyzstan Submission, Best Foreign Language Film category of the 83rd Academy Awards; Official Selection, Directors’ Fortnight, Cannes Film Festival.

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FEATURE: Dinner and a Movie with a Pinch of Salt and A SOUL OF SAND (Film Foodie)

SOUL OF SAND (Global Lens 2011), which will be available on DVD at the end of this month, explores the intersection between modernity and tradition in India with suspense, striking visuals, and food. GFI’s Laura Brewer, Online Marketing, was inspired to recreate a meal from this film—adding GFI’s own touches (re: crockpot!)—in order to further understand, appreciate, and experience this haunting film.

The final product: dal, roti, and basmati rice. Yum!

You are what you eat, right? As food and film lovers dedicated to exploring the richness of other cultures, we couldn’t help but notice prominent food scenes in many of the Global Lens films. As part of a new Film Foodie series, we’re making use of that quintessential pairing—dinner and a movie—to further our understanding of our films and their represented cultures.

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SUPPORT: Live and Learn

Soul of Sand

A Serious Slice of Life: SOUL OF SAND (Global Lens Collection)

Interpreting an education via the sights, sound and sensibilities of daily life

“Summertime and the livin’ is easy”–isn’t that what Ella said? Days become longer, lazier. Clothes are looser. Planets hang low on the horizon, just above sunset…

I think it’s safe to say most people enjoy summer. And I’m no exception. For me, the ‘easy livin’ represents a better classroom, a time to take the world in, without rush; certainly that’s what happens at the Global Film Initiative, when we spend countless twilights, reviewing hundreds of films and scripts, to determine our next season of Global Lens and grant-recipients.

But work aside, summer does really seem to represent a time to pause. Schools are out, and most governments are not in session. And if I think back to childhood–and my annual, transcontinental summer experiment of living in India and Malaysia, courtesy of my parents–I certainly learned just as much from that season as I did in school…

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