NEWS: GFI at the Arab Film Fest and Inaugural China Onscreen Biennial

This month, we hit our cultural stride with showcase screenings of BEJING FLICKERS, PEGASUS and QARANTINA in DC, LA, SF…

A scene from Zhang Yuan's BEIJING FLICKERS (Global Lens 2013)

We’ll get right to it, because it’s that good:

GFI recently co-presented the U.S. premiere of Zhang Yuan’s BEIJING FLICKERS (one of our newest films from Global Lens 2013–the tenth anniversary of the series!), in Los Angeles and Washington D.C. as part of the Confucius Institute’s inaugural China Onscreen Biennial:

A groundbreaking exhibition of Chinese cinema – featuring cutting-edge and blockbuster contemporary films, as well as seldom glimpsed archival rarities – launches at venues citywide in Los Angeles on October 13, 2012. The program selection proposes a new way of looking at Chinese cinema, encompassing richly diverse, genre-crossing programming, including short and feature-length animation, documentaries and narrative films, as well as works originated for different platforms such as theatrical release, internet viewing, and art installations. – China Onscreen Biennial

And what can we say—it’s the kind of screening we absolutely love because it draws focus not just on the film, but its country and culture of origin (read the interview with Zhang Yuan here).  It also allows us to do something that only happens every few years: host a cultural showcase presentation of a film from an upcoming Global Lens series, before its official release (which, in this case, is January 10th @ MoMA), with some of our favorite partners (e.g. the Sackler Gallery and REDCAT).  Call it a sneak preview, teaser, etc., and read the full press-release here.

The inverse of this, though, is a screening with an old friend, right here in our metaphoric (and literal), backyard: the Arab Film Festival (AFF).

The Arab Film Festival

GFI and AFF have worked together for the last few years to bring some of the best in Arab cinema to the Bay Area and west coast—and in the process, opened a beautifully complex window into the nuances of daily life in a Muslim world rarely appreciated by western media:

The mission of the festival is to ‘enhance public understanding of Arab culture and to provide alternative representations of Arabs that contradict the stereotypical images frequently encountered in the American mass media.’ Similarly, the films in Global Lens exist as a kind of antidote (or at least to provide an alternate perspective) to the audiovisual entertainments that come out of Hollywood. Like the Arab Film Festival, the Global Film Initiative has for years supported the exploration and exhibition of Arab culture, through film, here in the United States, and we’re thrilled to have co-presented Mohamed Mouftakir’s Pegasus and Oday Rasheed’s Qarantina with the festival, in support of our mutual missions. – Jeremy Quist, Global Lens Series Manager

An exceptional month, without question, and one that reminds us how our partners are just as important as the films they present—and how together, we can only do good things.

Note:  click here to read about AFF’s presentation of Global Lens film Masquerades and also, our interview with its director, Lyes Salem

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