One of the frustrations of living in "flyover country" is reading about intriguing foreign-language films and then not being able to see them in any kind of theatrical venue. Sure, snooty arthouse patrons can be as irritating and inconsiderate as multiplex morons, and watching a DVD in the comfort and controlled environment of your own home is always tempting, but I'd like at least the option, the possibility, of allowing a projected image to make a deep impression upon my subconscious and sharing that experience with strangers.

Happily, the Global Film Initiative is dedicated to a similar proposition. As expressed in their mission statement, they have developed "four complementary programs to promote both the production of authentic and accessible stories created in the developing world and their distribution throughout the schools and leading cultural institutions of the United States." One of the programs is the Global Lens film series and the 2008 lineup has just been announced in a press release available in PDF format at their site.

The ten films are from nine countries and include All for Free (Croatia), The Bet Collector (Philippines), Bunny Chow (South Africa), The Custodian (Argentina), The Fish Fall in Love (Iran), Kept & Dreamless (Argentina), The Kite (Lebanon), Let the Wind Blow (India), Luxury Car (China) and Opera Jawa (Indonesia). The series will start in New York in January and then make its way across the country. You can check the Global Film Initiative's calendar page to see where and when films from the current and past series are scheduled; the site also has more information about the individual titles. Now if only the series came to my part of the country ...