2011 Global Lens foreign film series begins Nov. 10 at UTPA

Special to the Parade

Global LensThose wanting to experience some entertaining and evocative stories from around the world, get ready for the 2011 Global Lens series that will begin Nov. 10 at The University of Texas-Pan American.

The foreign film series, first offered last year at the university, will include eight films with English subtitles from Asia, Latin American and the Middle East. The film screenings, which are open free to students, faculty, staff and the entire community, will be held in the UTPA Library Auditorium. Each film will be screened once a month on Thursday at 7 p.m. and Friday at 3 p.m. throughout the 2011-2012 academic year.

The films are from the Global Film Initiative, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting cross-cultural understanding through cinema. The Film Board of the Global Lens Initiative who select the series’ films consists of filmmakers, producers and industry leaders of film, including Oscar award-winning Pedro Almodovar from Spain and Adoor Gopalankrishnan and Mira Nair from India, among others.

The film series was first brought to campus last year by Virginia Haynie Gause, media and marketing librarian, and Nadia Gallegos, business analyst in Admissions and New Student Services, both ardent film fans. They said the 2010 Global Lens series was well received, with more than 1,000 people from the university and outside community attending the 20 screenings last year.

“It means so much to us being able to bring awareness – social, political, environmental – to our community as well as being able to add a spark to their days by making them want to taste, see and listen to something different,” said Gallegos. “I believe that besides having an education, exploring other cultures enriches us as humans and makes us reconsider our criteria or social patterns.”

Both Gause and Gallegos have helped to organize the 2011-2012 film series screenings and a kick off reception planned for 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 10 in the UTPA Library. The showing of the first film in the series, “The White Meadows,” a film from Iran, will commence at 7 p.m. following the reception. Jeremy Quist, Global Lens Series manager based in San Francisco, will be a special guest at the reception.

The UTPA library and several individual supporters have partnered to bring the series to the community this year. All films will be deposited at the UTPA Library after being shown in the public screenings. The films will then be available for check out through the library’s online catalog. The screenings of each film will include educational activities and cultural information from the country the film is from or highlights.

Gause said each film in this year’s series is special in its own way.

“None follow the formulas of Hollywood. They are truly independent films,” she said. “The music can be extraordinary. The film angles can be surprising in perspective. But one thing each film has in common is that the screen fills the eye with artful images.”

For a complete schedule of film screenings, go to http://php.lib.utpa.edu/globallens/.

To learn more about the Global Film Initiative and view a trailer for the film series, go to http://www.globalfilm.org/global_lens.htm.

For more information, or to help support the film series, contact Gallegos at (956) 665-2282 or ngallegos@utpa.edu or Gause at (956) 665-2303 or vgause@utpa.edu.

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