INTERVIEW: The Power of Small Stories–Suman Ghosh Speaks About His Labor of Love, SHYAMAL UNCLE TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS

Director Suman Ghosh

Director Suman Ghosh

Rob Avila talks with director Suman Ghosh about leading a double life…
In the United States he’s a respected economist and academic. In India, he is better known as the award-winning movie director of such critical and box-office successes as Podokkhep (Footsteps), Dwando (The Conflict), and Nobel Chor (Nobel Thief), starring Mithun Chakraborty. But as the Calcutta native discusses below, his early passion for films grew up right alongside his doctoral work in economics at Cornell University through eye-opening studies conducted concurrently in Cornell’s film department.

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INTERVIEW: Real Lives Beneath a Shifting Surface–Director Zhang Yuan on BEIJING FLICKERS

BEIJING FLICKERS director Zhang Yuan explores through film the effect of China’s cultural movement on the subsequent generations.

Rob Avila talks with the legendary director about more than two decades of filmmaking in China, and Zhang’s outsider generation…

A singular pioneer of China’s Sixth Generation of filmmakers, Zhang Yuan graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in 1989. It was the year of Tiananmen Square and the June 4 crackdown, when China’s budding democracy movement—encouraged by reforms set in motion by Deng Xiaoping—met the tanks and guns of Deng’s resolutely authoritarian regime. Zhang’s first film, made at this time, was an auspicious sign of the life that would continue to find avenues of expression beneath the surfaces of an old order and the roiling changes encouraged by its new economic policies.

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INDUSTRY: Behind the Scenes at the Global Lens 2013 MoMA Premiere

(L-R) Eric Schnedecker (Head of Sales-Acquisitions, Urban Distribution International), Rebeca Conget (Vice President Acquisitions and Distribution, Film Movement), Global Lens 2013 director Sebastián Silva, filmmaker Julia Solomonoff and Santhosh Daniel (Director of Programs) enjoy the party.

And this year was especially epic: A celebration of ten years of Global Lens films and the amazing partnerships we’ve formed over the years.

Jytte Jensen and MoMA, our founding partners, were the most gracious hosts ever.

The China Institute threw a wonderful reception to honor Zhang Yuan and our opening film BEIJING FLICKERS (and Zhang Yuan and Li Xinyun stole the show with their presence).

We couldn’t have asked Suman Ghosh and Sebastian Silva for better introductions to their films.

Rob Avila came through in wonderful fashion with director interviews (read our latest with Zhang Yuan here), and a whole host of friends, filmmakers, and film lovers came out to join in all the fun!

As February rolls around, we’re already full-speed ahead into our North American tour: from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to a local theater in Juneau, Alaska. (Check out our calendar for more info!) Craving more instant updates? Head over to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter!

And now, the round-up of snapshots from the milestone event!

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INTERVIEW: Tolga Karaçelik on A Sincere Work

Rob Avila talks with Tolga Karaçelik about capturing the right chemical reaction on the set and on the screen in TOLL BOOTH…

Tolga Karçelik on the set of the Global Lens 2012 film Toll Booth

TOLL BOOTH, the first Turkish film to receive a weeklong premiere at the New York Museum of Modern Art, is the debut feature of 31-year-old Istanbul native Tolga Karaçelik. It concerns the life and progressive collapse of a tollbooth attendant and bachelor named Kenan (played by the marvelous Serkan Ercan). A poet by longstanding practice and inclination, with a quick mind and generous spirit, Karaçelik studied law before coming to New York City to study filmmaking. It was back in New York, at the MoMA in January, that he sat down to talk about the genesis of his award-winning Toll Booth, the opening night film of the Global Film Initiative’s 2012 Global Lens series.

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INTERVIEW: Gustavo Pizzi on Honing a CRAFT

Brazilian director Gustavo Pizzi speaks to Rob Avila about collaborating with wife and lead actress, Karine Teles, to bring his first feature film to the screen…

Brazilian director Gustavo Pizzi’s mesmerizing first feature, CRAFT, explores a brief but important period in the life of an aspiring actress named Bianca (played memorably by co-screenwriter and the director’s wife, Karine Teles). While the story pivots on a career-changing opportunity handed the talented but long-struggling Bianca, CRAFT is just as concerned with the daily travails, compromises, and boredom faced by a working-class female artist in the bustling, sometimes unsparing metropolis of Rio de Janeiro. Teles’s brilliant performance and the film’s ingenious use of varying formats and perspectives offers the audience access to the private perspectives, creative energies, and emotional landscape of its subject. We glimpse a human being trying to strike some balance with a world too ready to reduce her to an “extra” of one kind or another, and an artist resolved to pursue her passion despite hardships and setbacks.

Gustavo Pizzi is a young-looking man in his early 30s with a warm and thoughtful disposition. He was sporting a dark beard and thick-framed glasses when I met him in the crowded bar-lounge tucked into the spacious lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, ahead of CRAFT’s premiere at the Museum of Modern Art last January. We ordered coffee and waxed on for a few moments about the

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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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Veiroj Vérité

Rob Avila and Global Lens filmmaker, Federico Veiroj, discuss sexual rites of passage, Montevideo’s Jewish community and the director’s short film, AS FOLLOWS

With something more like resignation than enthusiasm, 13-year-old Rafael Bregman (Diego Radzewicz) prepares for his bar mitzvah. At the rabbi’s desk, he dutifully mouths the ceremonial Hebrew that comes so much less naturally to him than his native Spanish. But it’s all part of becoming a man in this Jewish enclave of Montevideo, Uruguay—and, as follows here, will no doubt prove a complex memory some day. (Perhaps it’s his own bar mitzvah that Bregman senior (Omar Varela) is remembering as he slumbers on his analyst’s couch!)

Federico Veiroj’s 13-minute short, As Follows (Bregman, el siguiente)—which GFI is distributing alongside the 35-year-old Uruguayan filmmaker’s feature film, A Useful Life (La Vida Útil)—is a wry, charming story of a rich Latin American subculture and a boy set on the uncertain, ambiguous cusp of manhood. Watch the entire film below and read on for an interview with Federico Veiroj!

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Becloud: Soul of a Nation?

Director Alejandro Gerber Bicecci and Rob Avila discuss Mexico and the psychology behind the filmmaker’s debut feature

Alejandro Gerber Bicecci was born in Mexico in 1977, the son of two Argentine psychoanalysts who left their country’s military dictatorship the year before for the relative freedom of Mexico City. Becloud (Vaho), Bicecci’s first feature film, is being distributed by Global Film Initiative and is part of GFI’s 2010 Global Lens series. Filmed in an unconventional and sophisticated manner that blends three distinct time periods together into a nearly seamless whole, the story concerns the coming-of-age of three teenagers, boyhood friends implicated in a violent act at their school many years before. Out of this small, neighborhood story from a marginal community—set against the backdrop of Iztapalapa’s annual Easter-week reenactment of the Passion—arises a resonant portrait of modern Mexican society.

The following interview with Bicecci took place in San Francisco just before the opening night premiere of Becloud at the 2010 Hola Mexico Film Festival, which was co-presented by the Global Film Initiative.

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