FEATURE: From Baghdad to San Antonio, QARANTINA Comes to South Texas

UT San Antonio Professor Steven G. Kellman (and former HuffPo contributor) on fighting off the ‘the toxins of cultural provincialism’ with QARANTINA…

A scene from QARANTINA (dir. Oday Rasheed, Iraq)

Though it is the seventh largest city in the United States, San Antonio is, like all but a few other areas in the country, virtually quarantined against foreign cinema. When an imported film does get screened in a local commercial theater, it is almost always from Britain, since, according to the industry’s conventional wisdom, Americans are monolingual, and they do not go to the movies to read; box-office receipts for inferior remakes of The Vanishing, The Debt, and The Seven Samurai exceed those for the subtitled originals. Film is the most portable of the arts, but national aversion to foreign film reflects widespread indifference to anything beyond our borders but violence.

As an antidote to the toxins of cultural provincialism, the San Antonio Museum of Art has scheduled monthly public screenings of works – twice each – provided by the Global Film Initiative. I was invited by SAMA to introduce the films and lead post-screening discussions.

October’s offering, Qarantina, written and directed by Oday Rasheed, is an outstanding demonstration of foreign cinema’s power to bring fresh perspectives to worlds that many hardly knew existed. Set in contemporary Baghdad, Qarantina is a film by Iraqis, about

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NOW PLAYING: Gustavo Pizzi’s Award-Winning Portrait of an Artist, CRAFT!

It’s been a while since a film captured an actor’s world with the intelligence, creativity and insight of Craft.-Variety

A wonderful and perfectly calibrated film….” -BrazilNYC

Like a well-seasoned actor who has the ability to charm or break your heart, Gustavo Pizzi’s visually rich CRAFT does both — effortlessly and beautifully. Featuring a pitch-perfect performance by Pizzi’s real-life wife, Karine Teles (upon whom the dazzling narrative of a struggling São Paulo actress/celebrity impersonator is based), this debut feature illustrates the kind of thrill and anxiety that often accompanies one’s dedication to a dream. Now available for booking in your festival or theater, along with nine other award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the Global Lens 2012 series!

Programmers and curators: View the 2012 lineup now on Vimeo or Festival Scope and email us at bookings@globalfilm.org to schedule the films today!

Film fans and enthusiasts: Read the list below and click on the map to find out where you can catch these fantastic films!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: Gustavo Pizzi’s Award-Winning Portrait of an Artist, CRAFT!

NOW PLAYING: Take a Wild Ride with PEGASUS and Nine Other Global Lens Films that Will Send You Flying!

“Pegasus is a stunning film…a must watch film from a director who is quickly becoming one of the main voices of the New Moroccan cinema wave.” -Africa Screens

This month’s feature, PEGASUS, is all about memory, and you won’t be forgetting this filmmaker’s debut feature anytime soon. Mohamed Mouftakir’s eerie, David Lynch-like mind-twister—and winner of FESPACO’s highest honor, the appropriately titled Golden Stallion award—is now available for booking in your festival or theater, along with nine other award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the new Global Lens 2012 series!

Programmers and curators: View the 2012 lineup now on Festival Scope and email us at bookings@globalfilm.org to schedule the films today!

Film fans and enthusiasts: Read the list below and click on the map to find out where you can catch these fantastic films!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: Take a Wild Ride with PEGASUS and Nine Other Global Lens Films that Will Send You Flying!

NOW PLAYING: All Eyes on THE PRIZE and Nine Other Global Lens Films!

Wonderfully natural acting and evocative imagery….” -The Hollywood Reporter

“The Prize faces us with a piece of our history that hurts. That touches us. That puts us on the alert. With the strength and intensity of someone who has experienced what is being told, Paula Markovitch succeeds in creating a deep and sensitive story about freedom, identity and unwavering hope.” -Mar del Plata International Film Festival

The story: A political activist’s life-in-hiding on an isolated stretch of Argentina’s coastline is jeopardized after her seven-year-old daughter is selected to participate in a local school’s patriotic essay contest.

THE PRIZE — Paula Markovitch’s quietly powerful debut feature — blends personal nostalgia with an underlying sense of dread as it transports the viewer to Argentina in the years of the dictatorship and its notorious Dirty War. Featuring an utterly captivating performance by Paula Galinelli Hertzog as the 7-year-old Cecilia, THE PRIZE is now available for booking in your festival or theater, along with nine other award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the new Global Lens 2012 series!

Programmers and curators: View the 2012 lineup now on Festival Scope and email us at bookings@globalfilm.org to schedule the films today!

Film fans and enthusiasts: Read the list below and click on the map to find out where you can catch these fantastic films!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: All Eyes on THE PRIZE and Nine Other Global Lens Films!

NOW PLAYING: There Will Be No AMNESTY If You Miss Global Lens This Summer!

A subtle exploration of a society in flux and divided between morality and passion.“ -Cineuropa

Even in this, his first feature film, director Bujar Alimani demonstrates an assured hand, timing all his shots with precision so that they are lyrical and contemplative…“ -The Moving Arts Film Journal

The story: A new law allowing conjugal visits in Albanian prisons presents the opportunity for a sympathetic affair between a man and woman visiting their incarcerated spouses—until a prisoner amnesty threatens their fragile new bond.

First-time filmmaker Bujar Alimani’s sensual and pensive drama, AMNESTY (awarded the FIPRESCI Prize and Cineuropa Prize at the 2011 Festival del Cinema Europeo), is now available for booking in your festival or theater, along with nine other award-winning and critically acclaimed films from the new Global Lens 2012 series!

Programmers and curators: View the 2012 lineup now on Festival Scope and email us at bookings@globalfilm.org to schedule the films today!

Film fans and enthusiasts: Read the list below and click on the map to find out where you can catch these fantastic films!

Continue reading NOW PLAYING: There Will Be No AMNESTY If You Miss Global Lens This Summer!

Deep in the Heart of Texas: Global Lens at the San Antonio Museum of Art!

Okay, everyone, full disclosure here: I’m ashamed to admit it, but I know next to nothing about San Antonio. I know a little bit about the Alamo, sure, but not nearly as much as I should. I know that Carol Burnett and Joan Crawford are both from there, but I learned that just now from the Internets. What I do know quite well, however, is that if you happen to be in San Antonio and you’re looking for the best in world cinema, then you’re in luck. All you have to do is head over to the San Antonio Museum of Art and drop in on a Global Lens 2012 film!

This is the Museum’s first year hosting the series, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with them. Responsible for the collaboration are the delightful Katie Erickson (Director of Education) and the equally delightful Nicole McLeod (Assistant Director of Education) who’s mutual love of movies inspired them to explore different ways of offering film programming at their (beautiful) institution, tailoring the programming to SAMA’s permanent collection. When speaking to her over the phone recently, Katie noted that she and Nicole first became interested in GFI because their collection is encyclopedic in nature — spanning continents and many cultures — and so Global Lens seemed to be a

Continue reading Deep in the Heart of Texas: Global Lens at the San Antonio Museum of Art!