FEATURE: THE PARADE @ Human Rights Watch FF Toronto

THE PARADE brings the global conversation on gay rights into focus in Serbia, France and Canada…

ThePARADE

This month, THE PARADE is highlighted in a screening at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in Toronto, Canada. Srdjan Dragojevic’s darkly humorous film turns a lens on a very real issue being debated right now in Serbia and the rest of the world.

Joël Coppens, a former intern and native Belgian, came across a clip of THE PARADE being discussed on the major French talk show On est pas couché. Joël translated some of the conversation, and weighed in with some of his own thoughts:

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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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OPEN MIC: James and the BUNNY CHOW

A scene from BUNNY CHOW by dir. John Barker

“What was that about?” asks GFI’s James Stowe as he explores the makings of the titular dish in our South African romp, BUNNY CHOW….

Have you ever seen a Global Lens film and wondered, “Hey, what is this custom or practice that seems fairly common to the characters but is completely foreign to me?” Every now and then, this happens to me. As someone who’s never had the opportunity to travel outside of the US, I tend to notice things in films that might have gotten lost in translation for someone unfamiliar with the cultural background of the film.

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FEATURE: From Baghdad to San Antonio, QARANTINA Comes to South Texas

UT San Antonio Professor Steven G. Kellman (and former HuffPo contributor) on fighting off the ‘the toxins of cultural provincialism’ with QARANTINA…

A scene from QARANTINA (dir. Oday Rasheed, Iraq)

Though it is the seventh largest city in the United States, San Antonio is, like all but a few other areas in the country, virtually quarantined against foreign cinema. When an imported film does get screened in a local commercial theater, it is almost always from Britain, since, according to the industry’s conventional wisdom, Americans are monolingual, and they do not go to the movies to read; box-office receipts for inferior remakes of The Vanishing, The Debt, and The Seven Samurai exceed those for the subtitled originals. Film is the most portable of the arts, but national aversion to foreign film reflects widespread indifference to anything beyond our borders but violence.

As an antidote to the toxins of cultural provincialism, the San Antonio Museum of Art has scheduled monthly public screenings of works – twice each – provided by the Global Film Initiative. I was invited by SAMA to introduce the films and lead post-screening discussions.

October’s offering, Qarantina, written and directed by Oday Rasheed, is an outstanding demonstration of foreign cinema’s power to bring fresh perspectives to worlds that many hardly knew existed. Set in contemporary Baghdad, Qarantina is a film by Iraqis, about

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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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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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