2012 Global Lens Film Series kicks off June 7 at the Brooks

This summer, Indie Memphis continues its year-round collaboration with the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art by presenting the 2012 Global Lens Film Series, a ten-film program which showcases award-winning narrative feature films from Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda and Turkey. The series is sponsored by the Global Film Initiative and the Memphis Flyer. Screenings will take place at the Brooks' Dorothy K. Hohenberg Auditorium; admission is $8, $6 for members of the Brooks, and free for Indie Memphis members.

The lineup this year is really going to surprise audiences,” says Susan Weeks Coulter, Board Chair of the Global Film Initiative. “The cinematics are strong, the tone is fresh and the stories are thought-provoking and unlike anything we’ve seen before.

The series opens on Thursday, June 7 with a 7 pm screening of Amnesty (Official Albania Submission, 84th Academy Awards), Bujar Alimani’s sensitive chronicle of life and love in the Albanian prison system. The series runs through July and August, concluding on Friday, August 31 with a 2 pm screening of Tolga Karaçelik’s acclaimed Turkish “everyman” story, Toll Booth.

The 2012 Global Lens Film Series features numerous festival heavyweights, including Iranian newcomer Morteza Farshbaf’s darkly comic road trip, Mourning (FIPRESCI Prize and New Currents Award, 2011 Pusan IFF), Paula Markovitch’s picturesque and beautifully acted Argentine political drama, The Prize (Silver Bear, 2011 Berlin IFF and Best Film, 2011 Morelia IFF), and Pegasus (Golden Stallion, 2011 FESPACO and Best Cinematographer, 2010 Dubai IFF), Mohamed Mouftakir’s atmospheric psychological thriller about tribes and tradition in present-day Morocco.

The series also features four critically acclaimed films by first-time directors, including Gustavo Pizzi’s colorful rendering of artistic angst and ego in Rio de Janeiro, Craft (Best Actress, 2010 Rio de Janeiro IFF), Carlos Osuna’s charming Colombian rotoscope, Fat, Bald, Short Man (Official Selection, 2011 Chicago IFF), and Grey Matter (Best Actor and Special Jury Mention, 2011 Tribeca FF), the first feature-length narrative film from Rwanda to be directed by a native Rwandan (dir. Kivu Ruhorahoza).

The 2012 lineup is rounded out by Oday Rasheed’s moody Baghdad portrait of an assassin and his relationship with a troubled family, Qarantina (Official Selection, 2010 Abu Dhabi FF), and Sergio Teubal’s offbeat yet true-to-life fable of small town politics and finger-pointing, The Finger (Best First Feature Film, 2011 Guadalajara IFF).

Thursday, June 7 | 7 pm and Friday, June 15 | 2 pm
Director: Bujar Alimani
Albania | 2011 | 83 minutes
A new law allowing conjugal visits in Albanian prisons presents the opportunity for a sympathetic affair between a man and woman visiting their incarcerated spouses—until a prisoner amnesty threatens their fragile new bond.

Thursday, June 21 | 7 pm and Friday, June 29 | 2 pm
Director: Gustavo Pizzi
Brazil | 2010 | 85 minutes
A struggling actress and celebrity impersonator lands an audition and what may be her “big break” after an inspired director recasts his film around her socially marginalized life as an underrated artist in Rio.

Thursday, July 5 | 7 pm and Friday, July 13 | 2 pm
Director: Kivu Ruhorahoza
Rwanda | 2011 | 110 minutes
After government officials decline to support his project, a determined filmmaker enlists the support of a loan shark to finance his trenchant drama about the aftermath and impact of genocide on a brother and sister.

Saturday, July 14 | 2 pm and Friday, July 20 | 2 pm
Director: Sergio Teubal
Argentina | 2011 | 93 minutes
In the face of electoral fraud and intimidation, the severed finger of a respected local leader points the way forward for independent-minded citizens and their town’s quest for democracy after dictatorship.

Thursday, July 19 | 7 pm and Friday, July 27 | 2 pm
Director: Carlos Osuna
Colombia | 2011 | 91 minutes
In this animated film, the prospects for a lonely middle-aged notary unexpectedly change after he joins a self-improvement group and his charismatic new boss—and strangely affable doppelgänger—takes an interest in his life.

Saturday, July 28 | 2 pm and Friday, August 3 | 2 pm
Director: Morteza Farshbaf
Iran | 2011 | 85 minutes
In the wake of his parents’ disappearance, a young boy is placed in the care of his deaf aunt and uncle who, during a road trip to Tehran, engage in a silent but apparently not-so-secret debate about the child’s future.

Saturday, August 4 | 2 pm and Friday, August 10 | 2 pm
Director: Mohamed Mouftakir
Morocco | 2010 | 104 minutes
A young woman, traumatized by her dictatorial father’s insistence she be raised as a boy, finds herself the unwitting patient of a psychiatrist intent on learning the truth behind the girl’s story.

Saturday, August 11 | 2 pm and Friday, August 17 | 2 pm
Director: Paula Markovitch
Argentina/Mexico | 2011 | 115 minutes
A political activist’s life-in-hiding on an isolated stretch of Argentina’s coastline is jeopardized after her seven-year-old daughter is selected to participate in a local school’s patriotic essay contest.

Saturday, August 18 | 2 pm and Friday, August 24 | 2 pm
Director: Oday Rasheed
Iraq | 2010 | 90 minutes
A sullen assassin, living above a dysfunctional family in Baghdad, captures the attention of the household’s unhappy mother, setting a dangerous stage for confrontation with the family’s lecherous father.

Thursday, August 30 | 7 pm and Saturday, September 15 | 2 pm
Director: Tolga Karaçelik
Turkey | 2010 | 96 minutes
An aging toll booth attendant, straining under the weight of a domineering father and suffocating work routine, finally begins to crack when faced with the emotional pressure of an unexpected romance.