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The effort behind "Global Lens"

Posted at 5:34 PM on May 9, 2008 by Euan Kerr

The Global Lens series is now underway at the Walker Art Center.

I chatted with Santosh Daniel today, the Program Director for the Global Film Initiative, the San Francisco-based organization sponsoring the series.

The idea behind the Initiative is that cinema is a way of helping cultures understand one another, and there is an especial need for such understanding in the US.

To quote the Initiatives mission statement:

Ironically, it is the United States, and especially its youth, that suffers disproportionately from this lack of exposure to other cultures. The stability of America's ethnic mosaic depends on deep cross-cultural understanding, particularly between young Americans and the children of recently arrived immigrants. A comprehensive effort to give value to stories from every corner of the world plays a vital role in promoting tolerance in all areas of human behavior.

The Initiative gets its money from private individuals, and Daniel says the sums are large enough to free the initiative from most fundraising chores. The funding goes towards sponsoring film making in other countries, and the screening of films around the U.S.

There is also an important educational element to the screening program. A number of the films are aimed at young people, and free screenings and discussions are available. There is also the Bluescreen initiative which adds an educational component for some of the films.

The Global Lens series at the Walker runs through May 18th. You can hear our conversation here.

May 2008
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