By Indiewire | Indiewire January 27, 2003 at 2:0AM
Cowan Unveils New Film Organization Aimed at Increasing Cross-Cultural Understanding
by Eugene Hernandez
With the motto, "Promoting cross-cultural understanding through cinema," Noah Cowan has announced the formation of the Global Film Initiative, a new 501c3 charitable organization that is based in New York City. The foundation will be awarding grants to developing world filmmakers and also acquiring feature films for distribution in the United States. The announcement was made this weekend from The Netherlands where Cowan is attending the Cinemart funding market at the annual International Film Festival Rotterdam.
"In an ever closer world," a message on the film's website states, "It is increasingly clear that Americans want and need more information about the rest of the world and the rest of the world needs to know that America both cares about its issues and respects its concerns."
The Global Film Initiative's granting program will support narrative feature production with grants up to $50,000. In the words of the announcement, "Films must demonstrate artistic excellence, exhibit accomplished storytelling and offer audiences a variety of cultural perspectives on daily life around the world." The organization will work to secure distribution for the projects in the United States.
In terms of its acquisitions agenda, the Initiative will work to distribute finished films from developing countries in the United States. The foundation will acquire rights to as many as ten films that have made a significant impact in the international film community, and that might not otherwise receive distribution through conventional channels."
Noah Cowan, executive director of the new organization, recently served as co-president of Cowboy Pictures and Code Red Films. A longtime journalist, Cowan was also the associate director of programming for the Toronto International Film Festival.
In addition to announcing the launch of the Global Film Initiative, Cowan confirmed the appointment of Susan Weeks Coulter as the chair of the organization. She is the former executive director of Queen's Bench Foundation and a former Peace Corps volunteer.
Devorah Devries is on board as granting & distribution director for Global Film Initiative, while Nicky Combs is serving as education director for the organization.
"Never before has there been as great a need throughout the world for an understanding and tolerance of different cultures," commented Cowan in a prepared statement. "Our hope is that the Initiative will succeed in making a difference by providing financial and moral support to the filmmakers around the world who need our help most."
[For more information, please visit: http://globalfilm.org/.]