Global Film Initiative Selects Four New Titles as Cowan Leaves Organization
by Brian Brooks
New non-profit group, Global Film Initiative, has acquired rights to four more titles to be included in the organization's first national tour, chair Susan Coulter announced this week. The four films, which will be a part of a nine-title slate, were selected from three international film festivals including the Festival de Cannes, the Toronto International Film Festival and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The news comes as the organization, which launched earlier this year, confirmed that founder and executive director Noah Cowan has departed.
The four films, in keeping with Global Film Initiative's mandate to support original filmmaking in the developing world, include Tajik director Djamshed Usmonov's 2002 Cannes and Rotterdam feature "Angel on the Right." The film centers on a gangster who returns to his home village from Moscow to see his dying mother, only to discover the locals lured him in order to get back the money he owes them.
Filipino director Joel Lamangan's Toronto fest family drama "Wretched Lives," set during the presidency of Joseph Estrada in the Asian country during the '90s, will also screen as well as Algerian Yamina Bachir-Chouikh's "Rachida," about a schoolteacher fleeing her town from terrorism only to find more of the same. The film screened originally in Cannes and Rotterdam. Also selected is Cannes, Toronto and Tribeca film fest feature "Nothing" by Cuban Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti. Set in a post office in Cuba, "Nothing" is the story of a postal employee who passes the time by assuming other's identities by writing letters, thereby giving meaning to her own inhibited emotions.
"We've looked for cinematic and aesthetic excellence as well as authentic narratives," Coulter told indieWIRE yesterday in a conversation about the selected films. "They're all compelling stories we think everyone can identify with [that] focus on emotional engagement that cross all national borders." Coulter told indieWIRE that the details of the tour, which will be organized by the Initiative, will come later.
Yesterday's selections will join five previously announced films including "Ticket to Jerusalem" (Palestine) by Rashid Masharawi, "Shadow to Kill" (India) by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, "Khorma" (Tunisia) by Jilani Saadi, "Margarette's Feast" (Brazil) by Renato Falcao, and "Women's Prison" (Iran) by Manijeh Hekmat.
In other news, Coulter confirmed the group's founder and executive director, Noah Cowan, has left the day-to-day operation of the organization, but he remains on the board. Cowan has yet to announce his future plans and Coulter indicated that an announcement of who will take his post is still to be announced.
Global Film Initiative recently announced award recipients for its first granting program. Its mantra is to support work "by making use of the power of local storytelling traditions, as well as filmmaking that displays innovative use of the cinematic medium."
[For more information, please visit: http://www.globalfilm.org.]