INTERVIEW: Life, Death and Moving On with Sebastián Silva

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Filmmaker Sebastán Silva

Rob Avila asks the [young] veteran about his very first feature, LIFE KILLS ME, and whether there’s any truth to the saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’…

Rob Avila met Sebastián Silva–the 34-year-old New York-based Chilean filmmaker, who received international acclaim in 2009 with his beautifully wrought, darkly funny drama, THE MAID (LA NANA)–at the beginning of a very big week. Silva debuted not one but two new films at the 2013 Sundance Film FestivalCRYSTAL FAIRY and MAGIC MAGIC—both featuring popular Canadian actor Michael Cera. Even before that happened, Silva headed to the Museum of Modern Art for the New York premiere of yet another of his films–his very first, 2007’s LIFE KILLS ME (LA VIDA ME MATA), as part of the Global Film Initiative’s Global Lens 2013 series.

LIFE KILLS ME centers on a taciturn young man, Gaspar (Gabriel Díaz), emotionally immobile and feebly suicidal with grief since the death of his idolized older brother. Gaspar lives with his older sister, his senile mother, and his dying grandfather, but occupies his time working as a cinematographer on a short horror film written and directed by, as well as starring, a flamboyant and irrepressible no-talent named Susana (the scene-stealing Claudia Celedón, who with costar Catalina Saavedra would go

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NEWS: Global Lens 2013 @ MoMA!

Global Lens 2013: Change the Way You See the World

Our tenth anniversary opens with China’s Sixth Generation, Sebastián Silva, the biggest film you’ve ever seen from Brazil (literally), and a host of Global Lens alumnus.…

It’s our tenth year and we’re kicking off Global Lens 2013, January 10th-26th, with ten films at the Museum of Modern Art! It’s going to be some celebration…

BEIJING FLICKERS will open the series on January 10th with a week-run at MoMA and director Zhang Yuan and actor Li Xinjun in attendance, to launch the festivities (a must see: Zhang is the acclaimed director of Beijing Bastards, and part of the gritty Sixth Generation ethos—who in the ‘90s, pushed Chinese filmmaking out of an overly-romanticized lens into the alter-reality of its edgy, urban psyche).

Also in New York for the GL13 opening: Suman Ghosh for the North American premiere of SHYAMAL UNCLE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS, on January 11th. This film is something to indeed be experienced with the director, as he runs his fingers through the tangled hair of Kolkata’s bureaucracy; an inspired and insightful work that carries a subtle charm, similar to another Global Lens standout.

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SUPPORT: Our Roots Are Showing

The Inauguration: MARGARETTE'S FEAST, the first film acquired for Global Lens

After years of ‘pushing the envelope’ and ‘changing the game’ with Global Lens, we went back to the basics for our tenth year…

Global Lens 2013 is just around the corner, and if you haven’t noticed [with all the fanfare], it’s the tenth anniversary of our most beloved series. A ‘decade of film’—from silent to sign language, notes of opera and narrative “firsts.” Baghdad. Mina Gerais. The Caspian Sea…

It’s an accomplishment. Over the years, almost 100 filmmakers, from backgrounds as varied and diverse as the history of cinema, trusted us to take their vision to screen via Global Lens. That we did, with the help of just a few thousand friends. And in just a few short weeks, we’ll be heading to New York to christen this tenth year of Global Lens with our very first friend: the Museum of Modern Art.

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Oday Rasheed on the Making of QARANTINA and Remaking Baghdad in Today’s Iraq

Rob Avila and Iraqi director Oday Rasheed discuss the genesis of inspiration against a backdrop of war, politics and filmmaking

Iraqi director Oday Rasheed talks to Rob Avila during the premiere of Global Lens 2012 at MoMA

Oday Rasheed is one of only a small handful of filmmakers working and producing in Iraq today. His first feature, Underexposure (2005), captured the immediate aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in a fictional documentary-style story about a Baghdad filmmaker trying to make sense of the tumult of this period. Soon after its debut, Rasheed left the growing sectarian violence in Baghdad for Berlin, where he immersed himself in film studies, gravitating to the works of Andrei Tarkovsky, among others, and eventually developed the script for his second feature, Qarantina. He returned to Baghdad in 2008 to make the film, which was completed in 2010.

Qarantina is one of ten awarding-winning films featured in the Global Lens 2012 series, premiering this January at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Oday was able to attend his Global Lens screening in New York as part of a short U.S. tour that includes multiple screenings at MoMA, and a presentation of the film at the Council on Foreign Relations on January 25th, and also at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service on January 30th.

Recently, during the premiere of Global Lens

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SUPPORT: Art as Diplomacy

How film can be just as good as a handshake when it comes to crossing borders and building relationships

WATCH: Global Lens 2012 director Oday Rasheed speaks with Deb Amos of NPR about QARANTINA and living and working in Baghdad

Ever since our founding, the phrase ‘promoting cross-cultural understanding through cinema’ has echoed with every presentation of Global Lens we sponsor, every grant we award, and every educational screening we host. Our belief is that film, especially world cinema, has the ability to transcend politics and lines of conflict, exposing us to new cultures and new ways of thinking, allowing for better communication as a global society.

It’s a spectacular concept, and hardly the first of its kind—over the centuries, art and literature have always had the same power. However, when it comes to film, for as simple as it sounds, until audiences see this process in action, the phrase rings a bit theoretical, and idealistic. In fact, in a world where the majority of people consider film a form of entertainment, saying it is anything other than that is a hard sell—unless of course we “sell” it within a context other than entertainment.

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Global Lens 2012 @ MoMA and Beyond!

This year’s launch in New York set our universe in motion thanks to a host of filmmakers, friends and more than a little help from MoMA and a one-man army…

Angelica in the Stars

Angelica Dongallo, Acquisitions & Granting Dynamo, kicks-off Global Lens 2012 amongst the stars

 

What can we say–it was spectacular. And for as much as we’d really like to tell you about the launch of Global Lens 2012 in New York, pictures do the job so much better. The stars were out and in alignment, and the year began with a big bang, cosmic kismet and maybe even a few good parties–see for yourself!

Next stop: everywhere. Global Lens 2012 will be playing all across the U.S. and Canada, from Palm Springs to Boston, Latin Wave in Houston and Vue d’Afrique in Montreal–check our calendar!

A special thanks to Jytte Jensen, Curator, and Clay Farland, at the MoMA Department of Film; Consul General M. Levent Bilgen, Consul Ismet Erikan and the Turkish Consulate General of New York; Robert Avila; Gary Ponzo; Gianfranco Sorrentino and our friends at Gattopardo; Carlos Gutierrez; Tom Vick at the Smithsonian Institution; Engin “One-Man Army” Yeniduniya; and Global Lens 2012 directors Bujar Alimani, Tolga Karacelik, Carlos Osuna, Gustavo Pizzi, and Oday Rasheed–none of this would’ve been possible without you.

 

 

 

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