The Global Film Initiative (GFI) was a non-profit film organization that supported cinematic works from developing nations and promotes cross-cultural understanding through use of film and non-traditional learning resources. Its most notable programs are the Global Lens Film Series, a traveling film-series that premieres annually at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and is accompanied by educational screening-programs for high school students, and the Granting program, which has awarded numerous grants to narrative film-projects from around the world, many of which have been nominated as official country selections for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film category of the Academy Awards.
The Global Film Initiative was founded by Susan Coulter Weeks in 2002 and is advised by a board of directors, and a film-board composed of filmmakers such as Mira Nair, Lars von Trier, Pedro Almodóvar, Bela Tarr, Carlos Reygadas, Christopher Doyle, and Djamshed Usmonov. In 2004, it entered into a partnership with First Run Features for distribution of all films in the Global Lens Film Series, and in 2006, it moved its offices from the West Village of New York to the Potrero Hill district of San Francisco, California (USA). Their office is currently located in the Ninth Street Independent Film Center in San Francisco.
Global Lens is a traveling film series composed of cinematic works from developing nations or regions (i.e. Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, Oceania, etc.). It shows up to ten narrative feature-films a year, premiering annually at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in late-January, following its premiere the series is screened in fifteen to twenty cities across the United States, in collaboration with various cultural and cinematic organizations and institutions, before going into general distribution through GFI's distribution-partner, First Run Features.
The Acquisitions program acquires eight to ten feature-length narrative films per year for presentation in the Global Lens Film Series. Films acquired by GFI are discovered through the Granting program and also through independent festivals and sales-initiatives, such as the International Film Festival Rotterdam, Berlinale, and CineMart, and all films are selected for their artistic excellence, authentic self-representation and accomplished storytelling. Documentary and/or short films are not considered.
The Granting program awards up to twenty grants each year to filmmakers whose projects are nearing completion or in post-production. Projects awarded grants by the Global Film Initiative are often acquired for presentation in the Global Lens Film Series, and since its inception, the Granting program has supported the production of a number of award-winning films, many of which have been nominated as official country selections in the Foreign Language category of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' awards ceremony, the Academy Awards.
(Films listed in alphabetical order)