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!

Bujar Alimani, director of AMNESTY (Albania):

Bujar Alimani was born in Patos, Albania in 1969. He studied painting and stage directing at the University of Arts in Tirana, Albania, then worked as an assistant director in film after immigrating to Greece in 1992. His debut short film, The Kennel, won the Best Balkan Film Award at the International Short Film Festival in Drama, Greece in 2002, and the Best Albanian Short Film Award at the Tirana International Film Festival in 2003. Amnesty is his first feature film.

“Elsa and Spetim embody the stories of many people that I met at my homeland. The heroes derive from its deep-rooted borders, where people love, hurt and travel.  Both of them have every reason not to be together and simultaneously all of the right reasons to be together. The woman tries to revitalize herself through this love and the man to discover his lost self. They are searching for clear drops in a muddy life that’s choking them. The old Albania is in conflict with the new.”

Gustavo Pizzi, director of CRAFT (Brazil):

Gustavo Pizzi was born in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1977. He studied cinema at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and has worked in film since 1996. He was Executive Producer for the short films 7 Minutes and Ivan’s Distraction, the latter of which was presented at the Cannes Critics’ Week in 2010. He also produced and edited the feature documentary L.A.P.A., and in 2006 had his directorial debut with the feature documentary Simple Past. Craft is his first narrative feature film.

“Craft emerged from the desire to say something: What is the importance of luck in anyone’s career? How far does your talent and effort take you? Is that enough to guarantee you a solid career? Is luck part of the craft? The challenge I always want to bring to my work is to make life happen when the camera is on. And that is only possible when real people are really living something special in front of the camera, or when great actors deliver through a real understanding of the situation. That’s what I’ve worked so hard with my cast and my crew to achieve, and thanks to their courage and their will to also say something, we’ve managed to do it together.”

Carlos Osuna, director of FAT, BALD, SHORT MAN (Colombia):

Carlos Osuna was born in Bogotá, Colombia in 1980. He received a Masters in Visual Arts from Javeriana University and shortly after graduation was selected to participate in the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2004 for his short film, Analogue Loop. He was awarded a grant in 2009 from the Francisco Javier Fund for Social Projects for his documentary Giving Life to Life and in 2002 his short video, Watch TV, won the Pre-Columbian Gold Circle award from the Bogotá Film Festival. Fat, Bald, Short Man is his first feature film.

“The key motivation that led me to the realization of this movie is mainly personal and intimate. When I was a teenager, I went to a middle class school in which I was never outstanding in any way. So I decided to become the rocker of the group. I let my hair grow long, I made and bought T-shirts of the famed rock band of the time and I suddenly had an identity, accepted by all and that put me in a situation of power and acknowledgment….I’m especially interested in the subtle changes that occur within in human beings, changes, transformations of great intimate importance albeit barely perceivable for the rest of the world. This movie is, in the end, an extreme close-up of a small inner movement within an insignificant man.”

Sergio Teubal, director of THE FINGER (Argentina):

Sergio Teubal was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1969. He began his artistic career as a theater actor, performing in stage productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Macbeth; he later received a scholarship to study at the Advanced Residential Theatre and Television Skill Centre in York, England. His short film, To Daddy, was awarded the Best Short Film Jury Prize at San Francisco’s International Latino Film Festival in 2007 and first prize of Argentina’s National Art Fund in 2008. The Finger is his first feature film.

“This movie for me portrays an entire community in a particular way of unique yet universal characters, creating a world where the emphasis is given in human relations. A small town where everything is reflected in a small scale what we can feel at larger scale in our lives and of course it highlights social issues that happen in my country, as well as showing the community at its best when they start to believe in something. A story about hilarious companions getting together to make a dream come true.”

Kivu Ruhorahoza, director of GREY MATTER (Rwanda):

Kivu Ruhorahoza was born in Kigali, Rwanda in 1982. A self-taught filmmaker, he won the award for Best African Short at Montreal’s 25th Pan African International Film Festival and Best Short at the Kenya International Film Festival in 2009 for his short film, Lost in the South. He has also produced an experimental documentary, Rwanda 15, with New York saxophonist Jeremy Danneman for the Parade of One project. Grey Matter is his first feature film and the first feature-length narrative film produced in Rwanda by a native Rwandan filmmaker.

“Grey Matter is a movie about imagination and madness. It is a story about the capacity of the brain to create, destroy and auto-destroy itself. It troubles me a lot to know that my imagination, my creativity, my insecurities and insanities all come from there….With this film, I also wanted to tell the story of my country from an original perspective while maintaining the key elements that made the tragedy of my country possible.”

Morteza Farshbaf, director of MOURNING (Iran):

Morteza Farshbaf was born in Gonbad-e Qabus, Iran in 1986. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film from the University of Art in Tehran and has been working as a director, writer, editor and cinematographer since the age of 18. He has directed five short films (Halloween, The Carpet, Taxi, Flakey and The Wind Blows Wherever it Wants) and has also worked with acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami. Mourning is his first feature film.

“The film is full of beautiful scenery, the pure country nature surrounding the roads. This helped us to give a rich visual context to the film. However, picturing the human relations was the core of the film, the core of all these images for me; these three characters, experiencing a special situation in their life, going on a road trip together. They go through so much change and switch in their attitudes and feelings toward each other, that at the end you can hardly say they are the same people who began this journey.”

Mohamed Mouftakir, director of PEGASUS (Morocco):

Mohamed Mouftakir was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1965. He has co-written several film and television scripts and served as first assistant director on a number of feature films. His short films, La Danse du Foetus and Fin du Moins, both received the Grand Jury Prize at the Tangiers National Film Festival in 2005 and 2007, respectively. Pegasus is his first feature film.

“The goal of this movie was to experiment with a new form of narrative in Moroccan cinema, and to try new aesthetic and symbolic methods all while trying to respect the visual dimension. This film is an unprecedented turn for this rare form of film narration in Moroccan cinema, what is the fantastical and how to approach this to reality.”

 

Paula Markovitch, director of THE PRIZE (Argentina):

Paula Markovitch was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1968. She has taught screenwriting at the Center of Cinematographic Capacitation (CCC) and is writer and director of the short films Perriférico and Ambulance Music. She has also served as an adviser for the Fundación Toscano-Sundance Lab, the Mexican Institute of Cinematography (IMCINE) and the National Fund for Culture and the Arts (FONCA). The Prize is her first feature film.

“This is an autobiographical story. The action takes place in the locations of my childhood, to which I always return in my dreams. I can still hear the sound of the wind clearly, never-ending and wet. I see the unfriendly beach. The sea is yellow and grey. Storms make the walls tremble. These are hostile times.”

Oday Rasheed, director of QARANTINA (Iraq):

Oday Rasheed was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1973. He founded the production company Enlil Film and Arts and co-founded the Iraqi Independent Film Centre, an educational center in Baghdad for young filmmakers. His first feature film, Underexposure, received the Best Film Award at the Singapore International Film Festival in 2005, the Golden Hawk Award at the Arab Film Festival Rotterdam in 2005 and the Best Script Award at the Oran International Arab Film Festival in 2007. Qarantina is his second feature film.

In my home town Baghdad, a number of different types of killers have emerged in the past few years….My intention was not solely to make a film about issues that concern me but to put a sharp scalpel to a rotten part of the structure of the society into which I was born. A society that I genuinely hope will heal from its diseases and restore its health.”

 

Tolga Karacelik, director of TOLL BOOTH (Turkey):

Tolga Karaçelik was born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1981. After receiving his law degree from Marmara University, he studied film at the New York Film Academy. His short film, Rapunzel, received the Audience Award for short films at the SOHO International Film Festival in 2010. He also wrote and directed the music video for Çelik Çomak by the Turkish band Gevende. Toll Booth is his first feature film.

“I met some toll booth clerks. I spent almost a month among them. I stepped into their little boxes while they were working, I walked through their tea-rooms. I got the chance to witness their conversations and listen to their stories in person. I learned that people remember only the points where they start and where they finish. And the toll booth clerks are between those two points, leaving no mark on anybody’s memory.”

The Global Lens film series is an annual, curated program of narrative feature films from Africa, Asia, Central & Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Films from the series are screened in more than fifty cities nationwide, are featured exclusively on Virgin America airlines, and include top festival picks and official submissions to the Oscars. All proceeds received from Global Lens are reinvested in the Global Film Initiative’s Granting Program, and other philanthropic programs of the Initiative.

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