News: Global Lens 2013 in Cairo!

Recently, Global Lens 2013 was hand-delivered to William Wells, Executive Director of The Townhouse, in Cairo Egypt, by one of GFI’s longtime San Francisco friends and supporters, Kurt Oberhuis. As part of our ongoing support, offering visibility to Global Lens filmmakers through a few international cultural venue partners, we are pleased to donate this curated series of films from countries rarely screened in Egypt.

In addition, The Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art in Cairo, Egypt recently hosted screenings of Global Lens 2007 in January and February. This “global partnership” is an exciting innovation to our series and in the coming year, GFI hopes to extend the reach of Global Lens through similar partnerships around the world.

TW Link

To donate this curated series of films, The Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art is one of the region’s leading independent spaces for the arts, and provides an extensive program of visual arts, film, theatre and music, and also focuses on community development initiatives and educational programs.





























Click here for more photos and information on The Townhouse

A Box of Cookies Goes A Long Way

The Girl Scout Troop 30537 of St. Theresa School in Oakland Hills, CA generously donated a thousand dollars from their cookie sales to the The Daughter’s Voice, a film about abolishing the Nepalese practice of Kamlari, or selling girls into slavery. At the end of the film presentation, the producer, Ray Cox, and director, Robin Martarotti, were very impressed by the intelligent questions the girls asked about the Kamlari issue and their genuine concern for the girls who are still in slavery. Cox and Martarotti were surprised when the troop sales manager and a business partner handed them a check for matching funds and were very grateful to accept the heartfelt donation!

These Girl Scouts are gearing for another significant donation toward another worthy  cause in order to continue making contributions not only to their community, but nationwide.   Girl Scouts GFI

The Daughter’s Voice is an inspiring story about humanity’s greatest aspiration – the quest for freedom; a story of how a small non-profit turned a population against the practice of selling young girls into indentured servitude.

In early 2000, the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF) launched a program to eradicate the Kamlari practice in of slavery based on the selling of young girls into indentured servitude. In just 14 years, NYF has rescued almost an official ban on the Kamlari system, and turned the cultural tide against this inhumane  practice. This scale of success unprecedented and it’s  a lesson for the world.                                        The GS

Click here to learn more about the film

Click here for their funding proposal

Click here for a special documentary and the Nepal Youth Foundation (NYF)

The Genius of Marian

Clay Theater

On June 12th, more than 250 people gathered at the historic Clay Theater in San Francisco to meet Dr. Bruce Miller, UCSF Dept. of Neurology Memory and Aging Center and filmmaker, Banker White, at the screening of his extraordinary documentary film, The Genius of Marian—an intimate portrait exploring the tragedy of Alzheimers, the power of art, and the meaning of family.

As our population ages and so many are connected to someone struggling with Alzheimer’s, The Genius of Marian offers inspiration, illuminating the love and dignity to be found along the journey.

Flyer TGM


Taco Truck




Former Peace Corps Volunteer Teams Up With Village in Ghana to Produce Feature Film

Bay Area Filmmaker Trav Pittman, recently completed the production of a narrative film in Ghana called, Nakom.  The film is a co-production, Ghana and US; Pittman co-wrote the script, with Isaac Awinimi, a talented writer and resident of the remote village of Nakom. Pittman lived and worked in this same village for two years in Ghana and served from 2006-2008.

Trav PittmanIsaac Awinimi

Nakom Film








Writer/Director Trav Pittman    Co-Writer/Isaac Awinimi                    Featured Film, Nakom

Despite the film’s typical low-budget production, Nakom captures intricate sensibility and at the same time brings to life the crisis of a new generation, caught between tradition and modernity. The film illustrates the story of a talented medical student forced to return to his home village in Ghana to face the realities of a struggling farm, his family’s survival, and the choice between two very different futures after the untimely death of his father. It’s an intimate and realistic portrait of a family in northeastern Ghana with broad societal implications…revealing universal struggles and a complicated linear notion of development. Pittman refers to his extraordinary team as being in a unique position to speak to the issues of “globalization-of the urgent”, choices the whole world is making in reconciling different ways of living, while retaining and recognizing the good of the past and embracing the possibilities of the future.

Pittman’s team had recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise the vital funds for post-production.

Click on this link for more information on the film:



This Summer: Young Filmmakers Camp and SFFS Supported Films in Theaters

Filmmake photo








Future Filmmaker, 2013 Young Filmmakers Camp

Photo by Lizzy Brooks



University High School

This intensive film program is an opportunity for teens to learn from first-class film professionals in a fun, interactive, collaborative environment.  Aspiring filmmakers can enroll in in either the 2-week Starter Lab or the 2-week Advanced Lab — or take both for a full four weeks of total film.



STREAMING NOW: Two Global Lens Favorites on Amazon Prime

Two Global Lens films are available for streaming on Amazon Prime:  Wretched Lives, by Filipino actor and director Joel Lamangan, and In the Battlefields, by Lebanese filmmaker Danielle Arbid.  Both films follow the difficult lives of young women living in dangerous times.

Vanessa (Assunta di Rossi), in Wretched Lives, struggles to provide for her troubled sister following the death of their mother, in politically-torn Manila. For Vanessa the struggle is to make ends meet and to protect her sister from threats that include men she can’t always trust and authorities that manipulate the poor with little regard for consequences.


Lina (Marianne Feghali) is a young girl just entering her teens in In the Battlefields.  She lives with her family in Beirut, in the midst of Lebanon’s searing civil war.  Her family shares the building where they live with relatives.  Often afraid to step outside during the day, they huddle together in the basement at night while bombs explode in the streets around them.  Desperate to escape the civil war among her relatives, Lina forms a dangerous friendship that leads her into the war outside.

Wretched Lives (Hubog), 2001, The Philippines.  Directed by Joel Lamangan.   In Tagalog and English, with subtitles in English, 102 minutes

In the Battlefields (Dans les champs de bataille – Maarek hob), 2004, Lebanon.  Directed by Danielle Arbid.  In Arabic, with subtitles in English, 90 minutes

GFI meets with filmmakers at CineMart

Shireen Seno

Shireen Seno (Philippines) pitched her film project, Nervous Translation

Deniz Gamze Erguven

Deniz Gamze Erguven of Turkey presented her project, Mustang

Board Chair Susan Weeks Coulter reports from Rotterdam that she has seen several promising film projects at CineMart.

CineMart provides an opportunity for filmmakers to pitch their projects to industry professionals interested in supporting promising films with financing.  CineMart was the first such platform, and is held in conjunction with the International Film Festival in Rotterdam, which continues through this weekend.  Watch this space for updates from Rotterdam!

Rajesh Jaia

Rajesh Jaia and Cedomir Kolar (India) presented their film project, Chingari (The Spark)

Preparing to Greet Old Friends, Meet with New Friends – -

yellow bag

The Global Film Initiative is happy to announce that Board Chair Susan Weeks Coulter will once again travel to Rotterdam’s CineMart, January 26th-29th, to meet with filmmakers with projects in progress.

Sign up with IFFR’s Inke Loocke, coordinator of one-on-one meetings, at

or on Facebook – -

or look for the yellow bag at CineMart.

 See you there!

Two Special Awards to Young Filmmakers at PLURAL+

On December 5th at the PLURAL+ 2013 Awards Ceremony two important special awards will be presented to two youth-produced videos. Each recipient will receive $5,000 from The Global Film Initiative.

This year The Global Film Initiative has joined efforts with PLURAL+ by offering two important awards:

Exodo by Sergio Ruiz Velasco de Alba, from Mexico, for Clarity, Effectiveness and Artistic Achievement (migration)

and to:

As I want by Alaa Al Sa’di, from Jordan, Depth and Nuance in Story-Telling (social inclusion)

The Global Film Initiative would like to recognize these filmmakers for their exceptional artistic and evocative cinematic communication, as well as for their exceptional and rich messaging in audio-visual story-telling.

In making these awards, The Global Film Initiative hopes that these two talented individuals will continue to create new films and take their place within the respective country’s emerging independent film industries.

Both filmmakers will be in New York to receive their awards at the PLURAL+ Awards Ceremony on December 5th, 6-8 pm at the Paley Center for Media in New York (25 West 52nd Street).  The event is free and open to all, RSVP is mandatory:

 In promoting cross-cultural understanding through cinema, The Global Film Initiative has, for the past decade, offered both support and a platform for independent film makers from countries that may have been over-looked by the rest of the world.

Films are selected for artistic excellence, exceptional story-telling and/or compelling cultural content. For more information please visit

PLURAL+ is organized by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the International Organization for Migration with the collaboration of many international partners. For more information please visit pluralplus.unaoc.orgbanner

ATTENTION FILMMAKERS: Granting Program Suspended for Fall 2013

The Global Film Initiative’s Granting Program has been temporarily suspended. There will be NO Fall/Winter Granting process for 2013.

“This year we have been assessing the changing landscape of the independent, international film industry,” says Susan Weeks Coulter, Board Chair of The Global Film Initiative.  “It is appropriate that we step back from our programs we re-evaluate our role in bringing international film to American audiences.”

Announcements of future plans will appear on Facebook and on our blog (