SUPPORT: Don’t Stop Believing

Long Live Orange Mushrooms (and the San Francisco Giants)!

It’s more than a song. It’s baseball, elections and the battle-cry behind every film, and filmmaker, taking us into our tenth year…

September… Is a pretty good month.  The world over, it marks everything from independence days to school daze.  The end of cricket season (read: sport in Britain, insect in Iowa), and the start of Oktoberfest.  It’s a special time of year.

In the Bay Area, September also means a special kind of madness: the San Francisco Giants’ annual sprint to win baseball’s most coveted title of Major League Baseball Champions, set to the soundtrack of “Don’t Stop Believing” by [Bay Area native sons] Journey.  And while I like September, I’m not going to lie–I’ve never been a fan of the song.

But after many Septembers of sitting in my office and getting blasted with that tune as we finalize our lineup for Global Lens (our September ritual), it does have a way of working into the mind—sometimes like a dripping faucet, and on this afternoon, like an odd, philosophical metronome tracking the beat of this month…


September 2012, more so than other months, is important for the Global Film Initiative.  It marks [the conclusion of] our tenth year of chasing a vision, and the month in which we make our decision on films for the tenth edition of Global Lens.  It also runs flush with the SF Giants “giant” quest, and a watershed moment for the U.S.: presidential elections.

True Believer: Renato Falcao (center) with Gustavo Pizzi, director of Global Lens film CRAFT (left), and Clay Farland, Department of Film, MoMA

In other words, it’s a time unlike any other time, where we recognize achievement but are also filled with a rush of hyperactive energy and a thrill of uncertainty, as we soul-search the answer to questions of ‘Does film matter?’  ‘Can the Giants really win the pennant?’  ‘Are we going to elect the “right” president…’

And ‘do we keep believing.’  That may come as a surprise (especially from an “institution” like the Global Film Initiative), but it’s a question we all ask of ourselves. Because only the answer can inspire us to move forward, and only the question can cause doubt.  Is it time to give up.  Or is it time to dig in…

For us, the answer is always best found in our supporters.  Such as Carlos Osuna, who trusted us with his first creation—one of Colombia’s first-ever rotoscope film productions—without knowing where we might take the film or his career.  And Sidharth Srinivasan, who asked us to carry and keep alive his film via audiences in the U.S., as he struggled to have it released in India.

Or Renato Falcao, “the grandfather” of Global Lens, who’s film MARGARETTE’S FEAST was the first title acquired for the series ten years ago—and who every year, returns to support us and other filmmakers at MoMA.  Or Mohammad Rasoulof, whose inspired filmmaking and unmitigated belief in justice thrums everyday like an engine in the heart of our mission.

This list can surely go on.  There are filmmakers from over 35 nations whom we’ve supported through grants, and also filmmakers like Najwa Najja, who even without our support, believed our vision important enough to question—and whose question opened a long overdue dialogue on what it means to truly support change, and to change the rules of our world…

These are the people—like the thousands of fans that cheer a team, or millions of voters that cast a ballot—that remind us this September to push beyond our tenth year, into another ten years.  They are the history that inspires the choices we make for this anniversary of Global Lens, the fans that declare that giving up is never part of the game-plan…

Don't Stop Believing: In search of a vision via Carlos Osuna and a FAT, BALD, SHORT MAN

‘Don’t stop believing.’ Indeed and without doubt, a cliché.  But the song has an emotional resonance—whether a fan, voter or filmmaker.  And, so, what can we say… The San Francisco Giants are about to win a championship.  The nation is on the eve of re/electing a president.  And we—well, it’s just that time of year.

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