FESTIVALS & AWARDS: Berlinale, Rotterdam and Beyond

SO MUCH WATER (Uruguay) and A FOLD IN MY BLANKET (Georgia) @ Berlinale Panorama are just two jewels in a mother lode of GFI films, fests and awards this month….

SO MUCH WATER (Uruguay), GFI grant recipient, premieres at Berlinale!

 

It’s a new year and our Global Lens films and GFI grant recipients are back in a big way, with screenings all over Europe this month for some of the biggest conferences of world cinema on the globe, at Berlin, Rotterdam and beyond. Without further adieu, here are this month’s headlines:

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: The Berlin International Film Festival is always host of a wide array of world and European premieres, and this year these premieres include those of six GFI grant recipients—likely our greatest showing at Berlinale to-date!

For those of you attending Berlinale, be sure to catch our grant recipients—from Costa Rica to China—premiering and screening at this year’s festival:

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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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NEWS: Ugandan Donald Mugisha Receives Largest Grant from World Cinema Fund to Finance Feature Inspired by “Bicycle Thieves” (indieWire)

Boda Boda ThievesGFI grantee BODA BODA THIEVES receives 60,000 € ($81,000) in funding from the World Cinema Fund

(via indieWire) Congrats to Ugandan Donald Mugisha whose feature film project, The Boda Boda Thieves, was one of just 5 projects selected by the World Cinema Fund to receive production funding from its allotted $283,000 grant.

Donald’s project, which he will direct, received the largest chunk of the fund – $81,000, as Norway based Switch Films has signed on to produce.

The film’s synopsis reads:

When Goodman gets a job for his son Abel as driver of a motorbike taxi or “Boda-Boda”, he feels like things are possibly finally going his way, that is, until a gang of thieves robs Abel of his treasured motorbike. We follow Goodman and his son Abel on their quest through the city to find their “Boda Boda” and in the process gain an insider’s view of urban Africa, its underworld and the generation gap between urban migrants and their first generation children. [more…]

3 on 1: MASQUERADES—from Concept to Comedy

Castro Marquee

Photo courtesy of the Arab Film Festival

For last month’s 3 on 1 column, three GFI staffers discussed the making of BECLOUD and how the film went from grant submission to Global Lens film, as well as how the director, Alejandro Gerber Bicecci, went from respected colleague to dear friend.

This month, in honor of our DVD release of the Algerian romantic comedy (and one-time Oscar hopeful) MASQUERADES, we’ve brought together three very special people to share their experience with the film: Director Lyes Salem, GFI Founder and Board Chair Susan Weeks Coulter and Michel Shehadeh, Executive Director of the Arab Film Festival.

Excerpts of our conversation with each are below and although everyone comes from a different country and background, together they prove that while a film may be subject to editing, language barriers or hectic screening environments, laughter never gets lost in translation!

Lyes Salem, director-writer-actor, on the concept behind MASQUERADES:

Lyes Salem on the set of MASQUERADES

As I was writing the script, I aimed at finding a balance between a surrealist depiction and an unlikely story—although I am not sure the story told in Masquerades is so unlikely!

In

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NEW ON DVD: MASQUERADES and SHIRLEY ADAMS!

MASQUERADES from Algeria and SHIRLEY ADAMS from South Africa available today!

We’re pleased to announce the DVD release of two new films from the Global Lens film series:

DVD coverMASQUERADES (MASCARADES) Dir. Lyes Salem Algeria, 2008, 92 minutes Arabic, with subtitles in English In a dusty Algerian village, a well-intentioned fib suddenly turns a gardener into a mogul, forcing him to choose between the happiness of his narcoleptic sister and his newfound celebrity; Official Algeria Submission for Best Foreign Language Film, 81st Academy Awards; FIPRESCI Prize at the Dubai International Film Festival.

A smart, expertly made crowd-pleaser. Masterfully sure of what it sets out to accomplish–and wise enough never to take itself too seriously.” -SF360

Undoubtedly, Masquerades markes Salem out as a talent we’ll certainly be seeing more of–and if his next work is as genial as this, the pleasure will be all ours.” -Screen Daily

For more information, visit: http://catalogue.globalfilm.org/masquerades.html

DVD coverSHIRLEY ADAMS Dir. Oliver Hermanus South Africa, 2009, 92 minutes Engish and Afrikaans, with subtitles in English In the depressed Cape Town neighborhood of Cape Flats, a single mother contemplates her fate and cautiously accepts the help of an overeager social worker as she struggles to care for her paraplegic and suicidal son; Best Director and Best Actress at the South

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SHIRLEY ADAMS: The Making Of

Denise Newman and friends take us into the mind, method and man behind SHIRLEY ADAMS

This month we release Oliver Hermanus’s Cape Town ode, SHIRLEY ADAMS, on home video. As most of you know, this is Oliver’s first film and was followed by SKOONHEID–a work supported by the Global Film Initiative, currently taking top honors at festivals worldwide. Of course, we take no credit for the intimate and ideological worlds portrayed in Oliver’s films, as these are brought to life through the skill of actors, such as Denise Newman (in the titular role of Shirley Adams). Below is a conversation with this award-winning actor and other cast members on the making of a masterpiece.

 

IMANI @ the San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival!

A scene from IMANI

IMANI, by Ugandan filmmaker Caroline Kamya, will be screening this Saturday as part of the 7th Annual San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival! This evocative film ventures into the lives of three characters—a child soldier, a maid and a hip hop dancer—living in contemporary Uganda. It received a GFI grant in 2009 and has gone on to win Best Film in an African Language at the African Movie Academy Awards and the Silver Award at the Cairo International Film Festival.

This screening marks a new partnership with the Women’s Film Institute, our neighbors at the Ninth Street Independent Film Center. IMANI is playing on Saturday, April 9th at 5:15, and our very own Operations Manager, Marita Murphy, will be introducing the film and speaking about GFI’s Granting program, which has supported filmmakers from over 45 nations to date!

The San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival runs April 6th-10th at the Roxie Theatre in San Francisco’s Mission district. For more information, visit the San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival website.

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GRANTING: Victor Viyuoh on Filmmaking in Cameroon

Victor Viyouh (right), director of Ninah's Dowry

Last year, GFI awarded Cameroonian director Victor Viyuoh a production grant to support completion of his film, Ninah’s Dowry. Such grants, as many of you know, are awarded twice a year to filmmakers who present us with unique cinematic visions of the world (or rather, their world). And since our founding, we have supported films that cover every kind of story one might imagine–from a behind the scenes look at Bollywood to films about wrestlers, politics, and, in Victor’s case, marriage in Cameroon.

However, as is often the situation, we sometimes find that the story behind the ‘vision’ is just as engaging as the film it produces–something Victor recently reminded us of after sending an email recounting the various difficulties he and his production crew faced while trying to film Ninah’s Dowry in Cameroon.

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Screen Africa: Global Fund Reaches Out

Screen Africa talks to GFI and other funders about what it means to “support” Africa

“The revered Senegalese filmmaker Ousame Sembene once said that ‘funds make beggars out of Africans.’ [GFI Director of Programs, Santhosh Daniel] responds, ‘This is always an interesting question to consider, and I think it truly depends on how the funds are given: to support the growth of African cinema or to seed and appropriate stories that support a western notion of Africa and ultimately, prove to be more profitable for the world external to Africa, than Africa itself.”

Click here to read the complete article.