SUPPORT: Granting, Global Lens, and Why It All Matters

Click on the map above to view GFI grant recipients and learn more about each project!

This last year, we hit a milestone:  100+ grants to filmmakers from over 40 different nations.  And if that weren’t enough, we also logged a few other feathers, including:

Of course, as many of you know, we also expanded our Granting Program to include our first-ever “Honorable Mention” awards, and expanded our staff and network of partners to include the Smithsonian Institution and the Scottsdale International Film Festival.

But what does all this mean, except to say we’re doing what we set out to do.  And as a student visiting our office recently asked, “why does any of this matter?”

It’s a good question.  And while I’m not sure we have the most profound answer, I can say it matters only because it supports the continued free expression of filmmakers like Mohammad Rasoulof.  Or, the work of individuals such as Guillermo and Eunice at the Puerto Rico Film Society.  In some instances, it feeds a pure artistic endeavor or, as with Leena Manimekalai, a sincere introspection of culture…

Leena Manimekalai, 2010 GFI grant recipient

Leena [Manimekalai] is an Indian director whose film, Death Sea, received a grant from the Global Film Initiative in 2010; as a narrative, it is a chronicle of days surrounding Tamil refugees fleeing civil war in Sri Lanka, and is profoundly necessary and controversial as any analysis of war can be.

However, not everyone agrees the world Leena is seeking to reveal should be seen and as result, she’s had a very difficult time gaining permits, certifications and, exhibiting the film.  But that doesn’t change our support and therein lies the heart of why this ever matters:  a commitment to stand by someone, a film or filmmaker, partner, institution or school, regardless of circumstances.

Leena is like many of the 100+ filmmakers we’ve supported since our founding, and while we haven’t always been able to change the difficulties they face, we do our best to give as much as we can.  And while sometimes that’s not enough, in the end, if we tally all of our achievements, they really are just about standing shoulder-to-shoulder with people, and letting them know we’re here if they need us.

Our support of Leena, and filmmakers like her, is made possible by generous contributions to the Global Film Initiative, and proceeds from the Global Lens film series.  If you’d like to support a filmmaker and our programs, click here to make a contribution, or visit our catalogue to purchase or book a film!

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