International film series opens students’ eyes to issues of other countries

Courtney Kerrigan

When thinking of filmmaking in the United States, Third World countries and diverse cultures don’t generally come to mind.

The Global Lens film series, however, allows students and the community of Kent to see and experience the various cultures and issues of other countries.

It features ten international films made by independent film directors from China, Macedonia, Brazil, Ecuador, Indonesia, Argentina, Mozambique, Kazakhstan, Iran and Morocco.

The films’ genres range from comedy to drama to horror.

“It gives some immediacy to things that you hear about or places that you hear about that may not have any point of reference,” said Daniel Boomhower, co-coordinator of the series and performing arts librarian in the University Libraries and Media Services. “It’s an interesting way to kind of be reminded.”

The series started Oct. 16, and it runs through November in the Kiva, the Akron Art Museum and at the Kent State Stark Campus. The films are free and open to the public.


&bull Oct. 22 “Sleepwalking Land” – 7:30 p.m. Student Center Kiva

Teresa Prata, Mozambique

&bull Oct. 23 “Song From the Southern Seas” – 7:30 p.m. Student Center Kiva

Marat Sarulu, Kazakhstan

&bull Oct. 24 “Those Three” – 7:30 p.m. Student Center Kiva, KSU Stark Campus

Naghi Nemati, Iran

&bull Oct. 25 “What a Wonderful World” – 7:30 p.m. Student Center Kiva, KSU Stark Campus

Faouzi Bensa’di, Morocco

&bull Oct. 28 “My Time Will Come” – 6 p.m. KSU Stark Campus

Victor Arregui, Ecuador

&bull Nov. 4 “Those Three” – 6 p.m. KSU Stark Campus

Naghi Nemati, Iran

&bull Nov. 5 “Getting Home” – 7 p.m. Akron Art Museum

Zhang Yang, China

&bull Nov. 8 “Possible Lives” – 11:15 a.m. Akron Art Museum

Sandra Gugliotta, Argentina

“Song From the Southern Seas” – 1:15 p.m. Akron Art Museum

Marat Sarulu, Kazakhstan

“Mutum” – 3:15 p.m. Akron Art Museum

Sandra Kogut, Brazil

&bull Nov. 10 “What a Wonderful World” – 6 p.m. KSU Stark Campus

Faouze Bensa’di, Morocco

&bull Nov. 12 “I Am From Titov Veles” – 7 p.m. Akron Art Museum

Teona Strugar Mitevska, Macedonia

&bull Nov. 15 “Sleepwalking Land” – 12p.m. Akron Art Museum

Teresa Prata, Mozambique

“The Photograph” – 3 p.m. Akron Art Museum

Nan Achnas, Indonesia

For summaries of these films, visit

The International Film Society, Kent State Libraries and the Kent State University Department of History are presenting the series, with support from numerous departments at the university.

“We want to bring interesting international films to the Kent community and provide students the opportunity to see films about regions of the world that they normally wouldn’t be exposed to,” said Kenneth Bindas, chair and professor of the history department and co-coordinator of the series.

While other film series have been featured in Kent before, this is the first time for the Global Lens film series.

Although the films are featured in their foreign languages with English subtitles, that shouldn’t be any reason students don’t attend the showings, Boomhower and Bindas said.

“Oftentimes I think students imagine that perhaps the film industry is just an American thing,” Bindas said. “This will expose the breath of filmmaking in the world.”

A year ago, Boomhower and Bindas discussed doing an international film festival for this fall. When the Global Lens series came up, they showed immense interest in it and were offered 10 films.

“The objective is to use film as a vehicle for considering historical and social issues from different parts of the world,” Boomhower said.

The Global Film Initiative, a non-profit organization, navigates the series in more than 35 locations around the U.S. and parts of Canada.

“The Global Lens series is sort of our flagship endeavor that is basically our exhibition platform for films around the world that we support through our film series,” said Santhosh Daniel, director of programs at Global Film Initiative.

Based in San Francisco, Calif., the Global Film Initiative was established in 2002 to support the “distribution and exhibition of independent world of cinema” in various regions around the world, Daniel said.

Each year, about eight to 10 films are chosen for the Global Lens film series. An evaluation committee at the Global Film Initiative selects them based on cinematic and narrative quality, and cultural perspective, Daniel said.

Although the films share an international similarity, there is no central theme found within in the series.

“Thematically, we don’t really look for any one specific theme, but we look for very strong cultural perspectives from around the world,” Daniel said.

Contact features correspondent Courtney Kerrigan at [email protected]