The Global Film Initiative is calling all would-be Truffauts and Fassbinders. In addition to underwriting international filmmaking, the New York City-based program brings art-house movies into high schools across the country. Thanks to collaboration with the Miami International Film Festival, this year's full program will be offered locally outside the classroom.
Many of these filmmakers are from countries whose governments don't support their craft, which makes for a delightfully diverse list of works. "They're smaller films in the sense that they are very beautiful and move along at a slower pace. It's a taste of the different ways of life from these other countries," explains Ali Codina, programmer and outreach manager for the Miami International Film Festival. Besides a bright crop of story-based flicks from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East, Global Lens, the initiative's entertainment-oriented division, will also give attendees the opportunity to learn from a few of the filmmakers themselves.
Mehdi Charef, a successful Paris-based novelist and director, will be on hand to present and discuss his film Daughter of Keltoum. It revolves around a young woman who travels to an isolated Berber settlement in the mountains of Algeria. Breakout hit Buffalo Boy is a coming-of-age film that transports viewers into a lush, pastoral village in the lowlands of Vietnam. The director, Minh Nguyen-Vô, will take part in a question-and-answer session after the film's screening .
With Miami's own eclectic mix of imported idiosyncrasies, many of these films in the Global Lens series might seem less like inaccessible visions into another world and more like poignant reminders of a homeland left behind.