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About the Inititative

The Global Film Initiative was created to promote cross-cultural understanding through the medium of cinema. Although American film continues to thrive in the global marketplace, developing world filmmaking has suffered from shifting economic conditions in film financing and distribution. As a result, audiences in the United States have been denied the rich cultural lessons these films have to offer.

The Initiative has developed four complementary programs, all involving film from the developing world, to address this situation:

Applications & Guidelines

For more information regarding our Granting Program, visit the Frequently Asked Questions section for Granting.

The Granting Program  

Granting Program | Acquisitions Program | Distribution Program | Education Program

The Granting Program awards fifteen to twenty grants of up to $10,000 each, annually, to filmmakers whose works offer diverse interpretations of the human experience. Funds are used to subsidize production or post-production costs of films, and in making these grants, the initiative supports the development of local film industries and filmmaking talent.

Download a list of GFI Grant recipients by region. PDF of Grant Recipients by region

View GFI Grant Recipients in a larger map and learn more about each project!

Granting Program: Mission & Values

Philanthropic efforts in the developing world are normally concerned with providing the impoverished with food, shelter and other basic necessities. While this mission continues to be of utmost importance, it has become clear that cultural outreach needs to supplement these efforts. Authentic self-representation can be a vibrant partner to economic growth, providing a structure to understand global change while remaining true to a rich cultural heritage. Self-sufficiency and sustainability are not achieved through financial and industrial assistance alone; specifically supporting original filmmaking in the developing world celebrates the power of local storytelling traditions and acknowledges that a powerful fusion with modern cultural media can sustain and nourish these traditions.

The Initiative will be awarding 15-20 grants of up to $10,000 per year. These funds are made available to filmmakers once the Initiative selection committee evaluates applicants' scripts and early footage of their films. The Initiative supports films that promise artistic excellence, exhibit accomplished storytelling and offer American audiences a variety of cultural perspectives on daily life around the world. The Initiative also seeks films that substantially contribute to the development of local film industries. Filmmakers use monies received from the Initiative to complete initial production and to pay for post-production costs, such as laboratory fees, sound mixing and access to modern editing systems.

Click here for Granting Applications and Guidelines

Current grant recipients for the Winter 2013 funding cycle:

ADIOS CARMEN, dir. Mohamed Amin Benamraoui (Morocco)
In a gossip-prone Moroccan village in the summer of 1975, an abandoned boy develops a life-changing bond with Carmen, the Spanish woman working at the local cinema.

In the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s long civil war, three friends—a motor tricycle driver, university student and young father—embark on a fateful adventure through the nation’s once-forbidden regions in search of independence in a troubled world.

SAUDADE, dir. Juan Carlos Donoso Gómez (Ecuador)
As Miguel and his friends prepare to graduate high school during Ecuador's 1999 banking crisis, the country and his family come to respective crossroads, throwing his own future into turmoil.

THE STONE WITH NINE EYES (TIANZHU), dir. Sonthar Gyal (China (Tibet))
A legacy of betrayal and political upheaval slowly reveal themselves across three generations of fathers and sons in the family of a young Tibetan girl.

SUGARCANE SHADOWS (LONBRAZ KANN), dir. David Constantin (Mauritius)
Marco and his fellow workers must variously cope with dramatically new living conditions as the last of Mauritius's sugarcane fields make way for new elite development.

THE VALLEY (AL WADI), dir. Ghassan Salhab (Lebanon)
A middle-aged man, escaping a car accident with a temporary case of amnesia, finds himself prisoner on a large and mysterious private estate in Lebanon's fraught Bekaa Valley.

2013 Honorable Mention grant recipients:

3000 NIGHTS (3000 YAOM), dir. Mai Masri (Jordan/Palestine)
A falsely imprisoned Palestinian schoolteacher gives birth to her son behind bars while battling for justice amid a deeply divided prison population and deteriorating conditions.

DREAMS OF DEER (LU MENG), dir. Edmund Yeo (Malaysia)
A century of Malaysian history unfolds in a detective's search for the deer believed to be the reincarnation of a man who died 50 years earlier.

HISTORY OF FEAR (HISTORIA DEL MIEDO), dir. Benjamin Naishtat (Argentina)
The gardener of a gated suburban community resents a makeshift camp growing beyond the fence, as a summer blackout gives way to an atmosphere of apprehension.

LOS HONGOS, dir. Oscar Ruiz Navia (Colombia)
Two disaffected graffiti artists wander the city of Cali together, rendering their hopes and desires on the walls they pass and in the people they meet.

MARÍA, dir. José Luis Rugeles (Colombia)
A 13-year-old guerilla fighter in Colombia's decades-long armed conflict must choose a new path for herself—and her unborn child—while on a mission to hide her commander's infant baby.

For a list of past grant recipients, click here!

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