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Face 2 Face with David Peck

I believe that good conversation can create change. They can also be fun and engaging, full of insights and unexpected outcomes. And you're never quite sure where they're going to lead. Intimate dialogue assumes authenticity, transparency and dealing with substantive and sometimes difficult questions. I try to do that with Face2Face.
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Now displaying: October, 2016
Oct 25, 2016

 

Jonathan and I talk about “blindness” and disability, assistive technology, crowd funding and why he roots for the underdog.

Biography

My name is Jonathan Nadeau and I'm a husband, a father of three, and a blind GNU/Linux user. I'm also the host of three podcasts about free software. I interview project leaders of free software and GNU/Linux distributions. This summer I'm interning with the FSF's campaigns team.

I was not born blind but was in a car accident when I was 14, which caused me to lose my sight — after my accident I was introduced to a world of accessible technology using proprietary and nonfree software. I came to free software from using Windows and used a program called Jaws — this software allows people who are blind or have low vision to access a computer and be productive, by reading text and actions on the screen.

Jaws is nonfree software — users can't share it due to the terms of the license and as a result many people who would benefit from it, are unable to get a copy. In the United States, around 80% of vision impaired people are unemployed, and often people who need this software can request a copy from their local government, but this usually comes with many frustrating requirements, such as being a current student or requiring the software for a job. And of course, giving up important freedoms as a computer user.

Around 1999, I had a recording studio in my house and my business partner was telling me about GNU/Linux and the philosophy behind it. I also heard that some distributions came with a screen reader called speakup out of the box, and so if I could get the system installed, I'd have a screen reader right out of the box with no third-party software. I tried to install it, but failed miserably.

I tried several times to use free software over the years, with limited success until 2007, when I heard that distributions were now using a new screen reader, called Orca — I picked one of the popular distributions of the day, downloaded and installed it on my computer — I was surprised to find that everything just worked. Granted, at this time, the Orca screen reader was not as good as the proprietary software I was used to, but I didn't care — I was willing to put up with the lack of performance for the freedom it gave me.

Once I started using a free screen reader with a free operating system, I had freedom in my own computing, and realized the importance of free software for accessibility — it is important for people who depend on accessible software to understand the freedoms that come with using free software, and no longer be stuck in a world of relying on nonfree accessibility software.

So I'm now an advocate of promoting the use of free software in accessibility and want to help educate other people who depend on assistive technology and explain to them the freedoms they deserve.

One of my goals at the Free Software Foundation this summer is to start work on a completely free and fully accessible distribution of GNU/Linux based on Trisquel, which I'm using for my work at the Foundation.

A completely blind person will be able to install this software without assistance, and once they they put the CD into their computer it will boot into a live session, the Orca screen reader will start talking right away, and then they can start the install process. Once installed, the screen reader will be already running when you first log in. The majority of programs installed by default will have good accessibility and there will also be screen magnification features by default for low vision users.

This would be just the start of this accessible distribution. I want people to understand the power and flexibility of free software and not depend on proprietary companies to provide accessible software. This will result in giving the power and freedom to the people who depend on accessibility to ask for feature requests and make bug reports.

By working together as a community, we can make a big difference in the lives of people who rely on assistive technologies.

Read more about Jonathan here.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

 

 

Oct 25, 2016

Raja, Hiam and Sarra talk about their new film Foreign Body, refugees, identity, relational complexity and the present over the future.

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Trailer

Synopsis

Seeking refuge from her Islamist radical brother whom she informed on, a young woman arrives in France illegally following Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution and discovers a new world of both hope and danger, in the fourth feature from writer-director Raja Amari (Satin RougeBuried Secrets).

In the turbulent aftermath of the Tunisian revolution, young Samia (Sarra Hannachi) flees her homeland. She braves hostile seas in the crossing to France, but once there she finds that her struggles have only just begun. With no friends, no family, and — most crucially — no immigration papers, Samia has to figure out how to make a life and a living in a foreign land.

She meets a young man, Imed (Salim Kechiouche, Blue is the Warmest Color), and soon finds work in the employ of the elegant Leila (the inimitable Hiam Abbass, subject of an In Conversation With event at the Festival this year). But her presence in Leila's middle-class household triggers a shift in its dynamics, and soon Samia is enmeshed in a web of sexual tension.

Timely as it is, Foreign Body seems to typify a media narrative of forced mass migration: desperate, distressing, impossible. The film transcends this sweeping, reductive thinking due to the way director Raja Amari immerses her camera in Samia's new reality. She shoots with a close, handheld aesthetic that makes abstraction and generalization all but impossible, bringing us the story of a unique young woman.

Hannachi portrays her character's inner turmoil brilliantly. Samia is sometimes ragged and sometimes refined, ranging from stoic to sensual, but this is not because she's unstable. Rather, it's because of her ability to change in response to different situations and environments — an ability born of necessity. This is a woman determined to survive at all costs.

Biography

Raja Amari was born in Tunis. She completed a Master's degree in French literature at the University of Tunis and studied cinema at La Fémis.

Her features include Satin RougeBuried Secrets, and Foreign Body.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Oct 25, 2016

Bill and Mark and I talk about their new film The Head-hunters Calling, pure ego, being present and why we’re all addicts of one kind or another.

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Synopsis

A ruthless corporate headhunter (Gerard Butler) battles his rival for control of their job placement company, until a family tragedy brings his personal and professional lives into conflict.

Grounded in a generous, soul-searching lead performance from Gerard Butler, this drama follows a corporate headhunter torn between the dictates of his ambition and the needs of his family.

For Dane Jensen (Butler), success demands a little ruthlessness; you don't get anywhere without stepping on toes. After years of climbing the corporate ladder, he has the biggest goal of his career in sight. The head of Dane's recruitment company (Willem Dafoe) has announced his retirement — and the time has come for Dane to pounce. Dane's ascension requires all his attention, particularly given that his biggest rival (Alison Brie) is younger and equally determined. Then the unimaginable happens. Dane's 10-year-old son falls seriously ill. After years of racking up wins in the business world, can Dane find a solution for this terrifying development in his personal life?

The Headhunter's Calling marks the directorial debut of veteran producer Mark Williams. The elegant script was written by Bill Dubuque — writer of The Judge, the Opening Night Gala at the 2014 Festival — and it draws upon his own years of experience as a headhunter.

The film pulses with the thrill of big money and cutthroat career maneuvering, but its heart is in a very different realm. The film is ultimately concerned with domestic stability in crisis, and with the complex question of what really matters in life. The Headhunter's Calling beautifully illustrates how nearly losing everything can redefine what it means to have it all.

Biography

Mark Williams was born in Denver and earned an MFA in film studies from the University of Miami.

His many credits as producer include FlawlessShuttleArena, and The Accountant

The Headhunter's Calling is his feature directorial debut.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Oct 25, 2016

Lutz and I talk about his new film Mali Blues, the question of culture, colonialism, the power of music to evoke emotion and change and artful disruption.

 

For more information about TIFF go here.

 

IMDB

Trailer

 

More info about the film here.

 

Synopsis

With her radiant voice and magnetic presence, Fatoumata Diawara, known as Fatou, is a rising star in world music. In her home country of Mali, music traditions are deep and varied, but their longevity was threatened when Islamic fundamentalists banned music in northern desert towns for several months beginning in 2012. (Diawara had a memorable cameo in Abderrahmane Sissako's Academy Award-nominated film Timbuktu as a singer being punished.) Having fled Mali as a young woman to escape an arranged marriage, Diawara's personal relationship to the country is complicated. In Mali Blues, we follow her as she returns in 2015 to give her first home concert at the Festival of the Niger in the southern Mali city of Ségou.

Director Lutz Gregor treats our eyes to dazzling colours and clothing; and our ears to a rich array of African melodies. For a small country, Mali contains a multiplicity of ethnicities and musical strains. The centuries-old ngoni string instrument is said to be a precursor of the banjo. We hear from one of its modern masters, the griot Bassekou Kouyaté, who firmly believes that voices are stronger than weapons. Diawara meets with Tuareg musician Ahmed Ag Kaedi, whose guitar playing evokes Afro pop legend Ali Farke Touré and who was forced to flee his desert home under threats that fundamentalists would cut off his fingers. Another featured musician is the skilled rapper Master Soumy.

For audiences discovering these talents for the first time, Mali Blues is a powerful testament to Mali's music and a tribute to the resilience of its people.

Biography

Lutz Gregor was born in Berlin.

His films include Kontakt TriptychonKönigskinderFrankfurt Dance CutsZanzibar’s First Women’s Orchestra, and Mali Blues.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Oct 25, 2016

Kathy and I talk about social change, catalyzing action, creative activism and choosing love and why fearlessness matters more than we know.

For more information about Kathy head here and her new book head here.

For more information on Creative Visions.

The Journey is The Destination: IMDB

Biography

Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and a graduate of Wellesley College, Kathy has worked as a teacher, journalist, author, and film and television producer in England, Africa and the United States.  In 1997, Kathy launched Creative Visions Foundation, a global organization that supports “creative activists” who use their creative talents to change the world around them.  CVF was inspired by the life of Kathy’s son, Dan Eldon – artist, adventurer and activist – killed in 1993 while on assignment for Reuters New Agency in Somalia.

Since 2004, CVF has acted as an incubator, academy and agency for more than 200 projects and productions by artists, filmmakers, playwrights, and leaders of social movements on five continents who use media and the arts as vehicles of social change, impacting over 100 million people.

Kathy is also the Founder of Creative Visions Productions, which has produced award-winning films including “Dying to Tell the Story,” a TBS special about front line correspondents hosted by Amy; “Soldiers of Peace, a Children’s Crusade,” a CNN film profiling the Children’s Peace Movement in Colombia, and “Global Tribe,” a cutting edge PBS series hosted by Amy featuring grass-roots creative activists.  Once “Global Tribe,” an interactive website, inspired the development of Rock Your World, a common core curriculum that engaged middle and high school students in local and global issues.  Together with Julia Roberts, she exec-produced “Extraordinary Moms,” a special for the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) about the power of mothers to transform the world that featured then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Rosie O’Donnell and Christiane Amanpour.  

Currently she is developing “Best Care Possible,” a PBS special in association with WETA, about Palliative Care in America.  After many years of development, “Journey,” a feature film about Dan, directed by Bronwen Hughes (“Harriet the Spy,” “Forces of Nature,” “Stander”) will go into production in 2015.

Kathy is the co-founder of Sanctri, a Facebook application that enables individuals to not only remember those who have passed on, but also to celebrate their lives through creating enduring memorials and tributes.

Kathy is the author of 18 books, including “Angel Catcher,” “Soul Catcher,” and “Love Catcher” (Chronicle), a series of popular self-guided journals written with her daughter Amy Eldon Turteltaub that help people negotiate loss and grief, find their purpose and introduce more love into their lives.  Kathy edited the acclaimed collection of Dan’s journals, “Journey is the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon” (Chronicle), and has also written a variety of popular cookbooks, eating out guides and children’s social history books.  In 2013, Harper One published her memoir, “In the Heart of Life.”

Kathy has been profiled in a number of books, including Arianna Huffington’s “On Becoming Fearless,” “Those Who Dare: Real People, Real Courage” and “Fearless Women.”  Kathy was named one of MSN’s “10 Amazing Women You Have Never Heard Of,” together with Nobel Peace Prize winners Wangari Mathai and Jodi Williams.  Kathy was given a Euro-American Women’s Council Artemis Goddess Award for her work with young creative activists, and named a Civic Ventures Purpose Prize Fellow.  

On Nelson Mandela’s Birthday in 2013, Kweku and Ndaba Mandela nominated Kathy for the George H.W. Bush “Points of Light” award and in February, 2014, Kathy was awarded a grant of $25,000 after being named the winner of the Unite4Humanity’s Inspiration Award in the Arts at a ceremony in the presence of President Bill Clinton.  Thanks to the PVBLIC Foundation, Kathy was awarded the 2015 Media for Social Impact Award at the United Nations.  Los Angeles Confidential Magazine named Kathy one of Los Angeles’ Most Influential Female Power Duos with actress and activist Maria Bello.

Kathy has been featured on countless television and radio programs globally, including several appearances on Oprah and a segment on Oprah’s “Producer’s Favorites.”  A popular speaker, she hosts “Caught in the Act,” a Huffington Post video blog that features dynamic creative activists.

Kathy lives in Malibu with her husband Michael Bedner, next to the Dan Eldon Center for Creative Activism, a vibrant hub for individuals who want to help change their bit of the world.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

 

Oct 25, 2016

Oliver and I talk about Sufism, the “geometry of the heart”, religion, contra-tradition, the mystical edge to everything and why there is really nothing at all to understand.

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Trailer

For more information about the film go here.

Synopsis

Winner of the Grand Prize at Cannes' Semaine de la Critique, this mesmerizing, minimalist "Eastern western" confirms Oliver Laxe (You All Are Captains) as a remarkable and distinctive talent.

Inspired in part by the director's itinerant travels and his immersion in Sufism,Mimosas — which was first glimpsed as the film-within-the-film in Ben Rivers' The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes are Not Brothers — is by turns heady and epiphanic as it explores cinema's possibilities of representing the ineffable.

Shot against the backdrop of Morocco's staggering Atlas Mountains, Mimosasseems to take place at some strange intersection of the ancient and modern worlds. A young, wild-eyed preacher (Shakib Ben Omar) is summoned from the city to join a caravan escorting a dying sheik to a medieval city, where he is to be buried. When the sheik dies en route and members of the convoy refuse to traverse the treacherous terrain, the young man assumes command of the reduced expedition and leads them on towards their distant goal. As they navigate the simultaneously sublime and perilous landscape and face tests of will, faith, and endurance, the men discover the wages of fear.

With its supernal vistas and soft rhythms enhanced by Mauro Herce's stunning 16mm cinematography, Mimosas is spellbinding in its beauty, imbuing both the physical and metaphysical quest at its centre with a sense of awe and wonder, but also duty and dignity. Uncannily echoing Biblical sagas and westerns classic and revisionist (along with hints of Kurosawa's Dersu Uzala and even Van Sant'sGerry), Laxe deftly maintains his film's many enigmas, the work's near-parabolic form suggesting life's diverse and mystical paths, the measures of belief, and the potential for encounters with the divine.

Biography

Oliver Laxe was born in Paris and now lives and works in Morocco.

His first feature, You All Are Captains, won the FIPRESCI Prize in the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes. 

Mimosas is his second feature film.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Oct 25, 2016

Juho and Jarrko and I talk about love stories, boxing as a metaphor, what’s important in life and how not to be cynical.

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Trailer

More info about the film here.

Synopsis

Winner of a top prize at this year’s Cannes festival, the irresistibly charming debut feature from Juho Kuosmanen is a funny and forlorn comedy-drama inspired by the real-life showdown between Finnish boxer Olli Mäki and American champion Davey Moore in 1962 Helsinki.

Funny, forlorn, and irresistibly charming, Juho Kuosmanen's assured debut featureThe Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki, which won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section at this year's Cannes, is inspired by the true story of Finland's most successful boxer of the 1960s. Shot in black and white with scrupulous attention to period detail, the film centres on the prelude to Mäki's historic fight in Helsinki with American Davey Moore, the bantamweight champion of the world.

Almost painfully open and ingenuous, Olli (Jarkko Lahti) is a small-town boy who is just as happy baking bread as he is in the ring — and he's even happier when he's with Raija (Oona Airola), the level-headed beauty he finds himself falling for. Elis (Eero Milonoff ), Olli's manager, is the exact opposite of his fighter: a former boxer himself, Elis is a hyperbolic showman who promises the press corps a "spectacle never seen in Finland," a world-historic event worthy of the Americans. As Olli begins wilting under the pressure from the constant press scrums, his desperate attempts to lose weight, and his separation from Raija, Elis faces his own challenges from his wife (who effortlessly sees through his various hustles), his financial backers, and his American partners.

Full of trenchant commentary about the sports industry and, by extension, the entertainment industry — there's an amazing sequence at a post-bout cocktail party where it's quite clear that the two athletes are the least important people there — the film also wittily depicts a small nation's unease and excitement about its "debut" on the world stage. A rueful yet delightfully disarming ode to lost innocence, The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is also one of the most indelible romances you will see this year.

Biography

Juho Kuosmanen is a Helsinki based filmmaker. His previous short films have won several prizes in prominent festivals including Cannes’ Cinéfondation and Locarno. He graduated from the ELO Helsinki Film School of Aalto University in 2014.

Along with his studies Kuosmanen has also acted and directed for the stage and worked closely with the avant-garde opera ensemble West Coast Kokkola Opera.

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is Juho Kuosmanen’s first feature length film.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

 

Oct 22, 2016

Jim and George and I about Tuko Macho, The Nest Collective, an African generational voice, identity and internal voices and why extreme order is surreal.

For more information on Tuko Macho(IMDBtrailer, website) and TIFF.

Synopsis

Tuko Macho (Sheng for "we are watching") candidly explores the frequently violent intersections of class, law and justice in Nairobi. Shot mostly in Sheng -- Kenya's unique pidgin of English, Swahili and local languages -- Tuko Macho's storylines are drawn from real-life stories that the people of Nairobi have become uncomfortably familiar with.

Presented exclusively on Facebook as a web series, Tuko Macho has traversed between fiction and the real world, allowing audiences to vote for or against the execution of characters, and sparking intense conversations about the place of retributive justice in a city with few heroes.

Tuko Macho stars Kenyan stage and screen actor Tim King’oo as Biko/Jonah -- the philosophical and operational heart of the vigilante operation, Nairobi radio queen and reggae performer Njambi Koikai as Mwarabu -- Biko's moral center, and Ibrahim Muchemi as detective Nick Salat -- the hero-cop who believes the city isn't beyond redemption.

Biography

The Nest Collective are Amal Mohamed, George Gachara, Jim Chuchu, Kendi Kamwambia, Mars, Njeri Gitungo, Njoki Ngumi, Noel Kasyoka, Sunny Dolat and Wakiuru Njuguna. They live and work in Nairobi, creating work together using film, theatre, visual arts, music and fashion that explores troubling modern identities, reimagines pasts and remixes futures.

Tuko Macho was created in partnership with Forum Syd beginning in 2015, with principal photography taking place in early 2016, working with additional crew members assembled from among Nairobi's finest production talents in various sets and locations all over the city.

Director Jim Chuchu had his first TIFF presentation in 2013 with the short film,Homecoming -- part of the "African Metropolis" anthology. He returned in 2014 with The Nest Collective’s 2014 feature Stories Of Our Lives, an anthology film based on the lives of queer Kenyans.

The film was banned in Kenya following its TIFF 2014 World Premiere, but went on to win the Jury Prize at the Berlinale Teddy Awards and continues to screen in festivals worldwide.

For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

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Oct 22, 2016

Andreas Dalsgaard and I talk about his new film The War Show, Syria, self-discovery and tools of expression, silence and journalistic analysis.

Synopsis

A Syrian radio DJ documents the experiences of herself and her friends as their dreams of hope and liberation in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring give way to the grim realities of repression, forced emigration and extremism.

Syrian radio host Obaidah Zytoon and her friends are caught up in the euphoria of the 2011 Arab Spring. Camera in hand, these artists and activists take to the streets to protest Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and record their experiences. They talk about art and relationships as much as politics. But as they film themselves over the next several years, their hopes for a better future are tested by violence, imprisonment and death.

Zytoon and friends have worked with veteran Danish director Andreas Dalsgaard to shape, narrate and edit years of footage into a deeply moving personal narrative. The War Show, subtitled "From Revolution to War in Seven Steps," stands out from other films on Syria in many ways. Rather than dwelling on scenes of bloodshed, it focuses on what the revolution meant to everyday people. Most of Zytoon's friends aren't political firebrands. They share similar aspirations to young people all over the world: to loosen the strictures of religion and repression. In an early protest, Zytoon asks an adolescent girl why she isn't wearing a headscarf. "I'm not demonstrating to be suffocated," she says, "I'm demonstrating to breathe."

But dreams of revolution turn into the reality of civil war. Zytoon takes road trips to the centre of rebellion in Homs, to her hometown Zabadani near Lebanon, and to the north of Syria where they meet struggling rebels and witness the rise of extremism.

Through first-person narration, the film enables us to feel connected to everyone Zytoon meets. After years of Syria making headlines, perhaps some audiences feel fatigue with the topic. But the poignancy of this film will awaken you.

Biography

Born 1980, grew up in northern Denmark. Andreas Dalsgaard has directed documentaries for over a decade. Educated in anthropology at Aarhus University and Paris VII and film directing at The Danish National Film School, his award-winning films have been shown at over 200 festivals worldwide and include Afghan Muscles (2007, American Film Institute Grand Prix), Copenhagen (2009, World Best Graduation Film) Bogota Change (2009), The Human Scale (2012, Al Jazeera Audience Award), Life Is Sacred (2015) and numerous shorts.

Dalsgaard is also co-founder of the production company Elk Film, writes and directs fiction for both film and theater and has given conferences and masterclasses worldwide.

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Trailer

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Oct 22, 2016

 

Don and I talk about the new film The David Dance, what it means to feel different, self-esteem issues, fitting in and his take on a story that has “universal appeal.”

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Trailer

More info about the film here.

Synopsis

Away from the microphone, David (Don Scimé) is soft spoken, shy and unsure of himself. However, as his on-air alias, "Danger Dave" - host of the local radio show "Gay Talk" in Buffalo, New York - he's poised, witty and every listener's best friend. His sister, Kate (Antoinette LaVecchia), is a thrice-divorced banker with a yen for classical music and cats. Though successful, the siblings suffer from a secret, yet vast sense of inadequacy.  Kate decides to adopt an orphan in Brazil and asks David to be a father figure.

Meanwhile, David grapples with his self-doubts while gawkily romancing his co-worker. Past and present intertwine in this bittersweet winter's tale of a man learning to love and accept himself.

The film is the feature directorial debut of television vet Aprill Winney, who has worked as a script supervisor for over twenty years on shows like “Arrested Development,” “Family Tree,” and “The Fosters,” for which she has also directed multiple episodes.

“The David Dance” is based on the Don Scimé play of the same name.

 

Biography

Don Scimé (David / Writer / Producer) performed in his play version of "The David Dance" as part of The New York International Fringe Festival and in Washington, D.C.

Other New York and regional theatre credits include original works at The Ensemble Studio Theatre; "Love's Labours Lost" for The Peterborough Players in New Hampshire; "Nighthawks" at The Studio Theatre (D.C.); "Stop Kiss" at The Shadowland Theatre; Treplev in "The Sea Gull" and The Actor in "The Lower Depths" (Theatre Row).

Television credits include "The Dave Chapelle Show". B.A.: Theatre, SUNY, Geneseo. A graduate of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts and The Academy Company, he received The Charles Jehlinger Award for Acting and The American Theatre Wing Scholarship.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Oct 16, 2016

Robert Cenedella and I talk about his new film Art Bastard, how not to play the "art game," the narrow minded establishment, and what isn't art.

For more information on Art Bastard: IMDBTrailerwebsite.

Synopsis

In a madcap art world obsessed with money, fame and hype, how does an artist driven by justice, defiance and his own singular style thrive? Art Bastard is the rousing tale of a rebel who never fit into today's art world, yet has become one of its most provocative, rabble-rousing characters.

At once a portrait of the artist as a young troublemaker, an alternate history of modern art and a quintessential New York story, Art Bastard is as energetic, humorous and unapologetically honest as the uncompromising man at its center: Robert Cenedella. Cenedella was a contemporary of Andy Warhol. But he has essentially served as the antiWarhol. His noisy, raucous, color-splashed paintings of city scenes approach the world with a sincerity that defies the irony, frivolity and controversy-for-the-sake-of-controversy that have become the cultural currency since the '60s.

Yet, as Art Bastard reveals, Cenedella couldn't be any more a product of these times. He was the son of a blacklisted writer, raised on crushed '50s dreams. He's been haunted by dark family secrets that had him questioning his identity. His passionate convictions started so young they got him kicked out of high school. Even when he found solace and expression in art, he was an unabashed outsider -- never a gallery darling, not pursued by museum curators, but an artist who was going to have his say regardless of who was paying attention. Even so, over time, Cenedella's vast canvases, rife with the chaotic beauty of politics, humor, history and humanity, drew admirers from all walks of society -- even from the vaunted art patrons who rejected him.

In a fast-moving series of riveting interviews with family members, art critics, museum directors, New York power brokers, art students and Cenedella himself, director Victor Kanefsky candidly presents Cenedella's personal journey -- and reveals the creation of a modern art career that ignored all the modern art rules.

Biography

Robert Cenedella is a master of pictorial satire and fantasy, justly celebrated for his paintings revealing all aspects of big-city life. As part of New York's art community for over four decades, he paints everything and everybody from cameo likenesses of celebrities to those of the common man. His pictures of subways, symphonies, sports arenas, street scenes and drinking establishments are quintessentially New York.

M. K. Flavell, in George Grosz: A Biography, said of Mr. Cenedella that, "no other artist chronicles the everyday life and the changing rituals and mythologies -- of sex, sport, art, politics, money-making in contemporary America, with his combination of imaginative vitality, precision, and humor."

Massachusetts-born, the artist has lived most of his life in New York. At an early age, he began studying with George Grosz at the Art Students League of New York, and then with Marshall Glasier.

He has had one-man shows throughout the United States and Europe. His first Berlin exhibition, "In Search of DADA," was in 1994, and coincided with the George Grosz Centennial Exhibition at the National Galerie in Berlin. He returned to Germany in October 2006 for a oneman retrospective at the Otto-Nagel Galerie, also in Berlin. His renowned mural of the original Le Cirque restaurant in New York City, "Le Cirque - The 1st Generation," is currently installed at the restaurant's new location on East 58th Street. Other notable murals include "Mi Casa, Su Casa" for Bacardi International, "Tony Randall’s World," commissioned by the late Tony Randall for former League model Heather Randall, and his "Absolut Cenedella" commissions. These, along with Cenedella's other works, can be seen on his website: www.rcenedellagallery.com.

Cenedella feels that drawing is the most demanding and most disciplined endeavor for any student to undertake, but also the most rewarding. He trains each student to acquire a basic skill in drawing the human figure, no matter what the eventual style or mode of expression may be. Cenedella believes the ultimate goal is to be able to "think" with the hand.

He continues the large format concept of drawing passed down from Grosz.

Oct 16, 2016

On today’s TIFF episode I talk to Orlando and Joanna about their moving new film The White Helmets, Syria, courage and doing the right thing in the face of fear.

For more information on The White Helmets(IMDBtrailerwebsite) and TIFF.

Synopsis

A Netflix original short documentary, set in Aleppo, Syria and southern Turkey in early 2016, takes viewers into the war zone. As the violence intensifies, The White Helmets follows three volunteer rescue workers as they put everything on the line to save civilians affected by the war, all the while wracked with worry about the safety of their own loved ones.

Moving and inspiring, The White Helmets (by Oscar nominated team Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara) is both a snapshot of the harrowing realities of life for ordinary Syrians who remain in the country, and a humbling portrait of the power of the human spirit.

Biographies

Orlando von Einsiedel is a London-based director. His debut feature documentary Virunga was nominated for an Academy Award. The White Helmets is his latest short film.

Joanna Natasegara (producer)

 

For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Oct 12, 2016

Fred and I talk about his new film All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone, speaking truth to power, unplugging from the mainstream, pressure from below and good journalism.

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Trailer

More info about the film here.

Synopsis

Vancouver-based filmmaker and TV news veteran Fred Peabody explores the life and legacy of the maverick American journalist I.F. Stone, whose long one-man crusade against government deception lives on in the work of such contemporary filmmakers and journalists as Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, David Corn, and Matt Taibbi.

For decades, maverick American journalist I.F. Stone took on the powers that be — from Red-baiting fearmonger Joe McCarthy to Lyndon Johnson to Ronald Reagan — in the pages of the tiny publication I.F. Stone's Weekly (and later in the New York Review of Books and The Nation), most of it typed, two-finger style, by Stone himself. Working without the "access" to those in power so prized by establishment journalists, Stone took on the system regardless of personal risk. In All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone, Fred Peabody pays tribute to Stone's work and looks at those who carry on his legacy today.

Not surprisingly, those contemporary journalists most influenced by Stone have had to work outside the mainstream. In one telling cut, Peabody juxtaposes the screeching, overpaid martinets at Fox News with John Carlos Frey, who has spent years investigating mass graves of undocumented migrant workers in Brooks County, Texas. Peabody also introduces us to others who are keeping Stone's legacy alive by relentlessly speaking truth to power, despite the obstacles placed in their way: Jeremy Scahill, Glenn Greenwald, and Laura Poitras (who together founded The Intercept as a platform for the Snowden NSA leaks), Amy Goodman, David Corn, and Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi.

Recounting the mainstream press' failure to call out the Bush administration's justifications for the invasion of Iraq, Peabody chillingly reminds us of what can happen when media organizations place profit over social responsibility — a charge that CBS president Les Moonves cheerfully and openly copped to when he recently crowed about the ad dollars Donald Trump's presidential run has generated for his network. At a time when a creature of privilege like Trump can present himself as a champion of the common man, Peabody's portrait of Stone — a true American hero, one who actually gave voice to the powerless and dispossessed — is all the more vital.

Biography

Fred Peabody is an Emmy-winning journalist and filmmaker whose credits include seven years as a producer-director on the acclaimed CBC investigative program “the fifth estate”.

In 2003 he was Supervising Producer on “Perfect Illusions”, a PBS documentary about eating disorders in young women.

His film on the childhood exploitation of the Dionne quintuplets was nominated for an Emmy in 1998, and he won an Emmy in 1989 for a film about wild horses rescued from starvation and abuse.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

 

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

 

Oct 10, 2016

Marie and I talk about knowledge, gender disparity, about focus and passion and how her new film touches on both the beauty and the limitations of science.

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Synopsis

Polish actress Karolina Gruszka stars in this sweeping biography of the legendary, Nobel Prize–winning physicist and chemist, who courted controversy with both her challenging of France’s male-dominated academic establishment and her unconventional romantic life.

Physicist, chemist, and pioneer in the study of radioactivity, Marie Sklodowska Curie spent her life setting precedents. She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the first person to win it twice. As the first female professor at the University of Paris, she had to overcome the condescension and antagonism of France's male-dominated academic establishment. She also courted controversy of the sort that still threatens to quash the careers of public figures today. This sweeping biography brings to life Curie's inspiring story of discovery, heartbreak, and triumph.

Marie Curie, The Courage of Knowledge depicts the blissful union between Marie (Karolina Gruszka) and her husband Pierre (Charles Berling), the father of her children, her partner in research, and co-winner of that first Nobel. When Pierre perishes in a tragic accident, it's up to Marie to continue their work. But as a woman and a foreigner, she's met with doubly fierce resistance. And though she perseveres, she's nearly undone by revelations regarding her relationship with a married colleague.

Director Marie Noëlle conjures turn-of-the-century Europe with camerawork whose restless precision is an analogue of the brilliant scientist's mind. Split-screen compositions slide like shoji doors, and lyrical montages emphasize the momentousness of Marie's innovations. At the centre of all this activity is, of course, Marie herself. Gruszka's performance, alternately stoic and vulnerable, never lets us forget that this visionary woman was also very much a complicated and fascinating human being.

Biography

Marie Noëlle was born in Châteauroux, France. She co-directed, with Peter Sehr, the films The Anarchist's Wife and Ludwig II, and co-wrote Love the Hard Way, which Sehr directed. Marie Curie, The Courage of Knowledge is her latest film. 

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

 

Oct 6, 2016

 

Mark and I talk about his new film All I See Is You, broken relationships, our shifting attention, expectations, loneliness and why it’s so important to realize that sometimes all we have is each other.

For more information about TIFF go here.

IMDB

Trailer

Synopsis

Blake Lively (The Shallows) and Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) star in this thriller from director Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball,World War Z), about a blind woman who regains her sight and begins to discover disturbing new details about her marriage and her life.

Marriages are a delicate psychological interplay between two people, and there's no shortage of stories about how that connection is altered when things take a turn for the worse. But this insightful new drama is about a married couple who face unexpected challenges when their circumstances seemingly change for the better.

James (Jason Clarke) and Gina (Blake Lively) are a happily married couple living in Bangkok. Gina has been virtually blind since the childhood car crash that destroyed her sight and killed her parents. Despite her difficulties, Gina lives a full life, depending on James for help navigating the raucous bustle of the city.

When Gina has the opportunity to have sight-restoring surgery on her right eye, she jumps at the chance. After the procedure, her world is changed. Not only does she see everything around her, but she sees herself in a new light. Their lives change in a million ways both large and small, and James' surprising response to the new status quo will reveal the troubling power dynamics underpinning their relationship.

With the collaboration of cinematographer Matthias Koenigswieser and a standout sound design team, director Marc Forster lets us experience the world as Gina does at all the different stages of her sight's recovery. Boasting finely tuned technique that augments our understanding of the characters' emotional arcs, All I See Is You is a truly cinematic and moving experience.

Biography

Marc Forster was born in Germany and raised in Switzerland. He studied film at New York University. His films include Monster's BallFinding NeverlandStranger than Fiction, which screened at the Festival, The Kite RunnerQuantum of Solace, and World War Z.

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For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

Oct 5, 2016

Gave Lindo

Gave and I talk about The Reel World Film Festival, storytelling, and creating opportunities for people to act through dialogue, empathy and film.

For more information about the Reel World Festival go here.

 Biography

Gave is currently the Executive Director of the Reelworld Film Festival. During his tenure, he repositioned the festival to focus on issue driven films of global importance. He also expanded the festival’s programming to include virtual reality films and interactive gaming and created Canada’s first ever Media for Impact Conference which brings together filmmakers and organizations behind acclaimed issue driven films such as Virunga, The True Cost, Girl Rising, Bully, The Hunting Ground, The Square, and Gasland.

Gave began his career as a media lawyer working for a Bay street law firm in Toronto where he acted for broadcasters such as CHUM/CityTV and Astral. He then joined CBC as a business executive where he was responsible for structuring and negotiating deals with independent producers for television shows such as The Book of Negroes, Schitt's Creek, and Murdoch Mysteries and feature films such as Deepa Mehta’s Midnight's Children. He was also the lead business executive overseeing CBC’s children and youth division. 

In 2013, he was selected as a CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow, which is one of North America’s top programs for rising leaders interested in impacting change in their communities. He has served as a board director, committee member or advisor to a number of arts and nonprofit organizations such as Obsidian Theatre Company, Hot Docs, ArtsSmarts, blackandblue dance projects, the United Way Toronto, and the Emerging Leaders Network. He is currently Vice Chair of the Laidlaw Foundation and holds BA, JD, and MBA degrees from the University of Toronto.

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 For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

 With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

 

Oct 5, 2016

 

Hugh Gibson

 

Hugh and I talk about his new film The Stairs, “harm reduction care”, addictions, empathy and compassion and “Toronto: The Not So Good.”

PANEL DETAILS

Date/time: Wed Oct 12, after 6:40pm screening.

Guests: Toronto city councillors Joe Cressy and Gord Perks (both head Toronto’s Drug Strategy), plus Roxanne Smith (from the film), and Raffi Balian, South Riverdale CHC Project Coordinator. (FYI: SRCHC is one of 3 approved supervised injection sites in Toronto)

Moderator: Joe Fiorito (Toronto Star columnist)

  For more information about TIFF go here.

 

IMDB

Trailer

 

More info about the film here.

Synopsis

Hugh Gibson's compassionate and profoundly affecting The Stairs takes us inside Toronto's Regent Park Community Health Centre, whose staff of social workers includes both former and current drug users. These workers understand all too well what their clients are going through.

Shot over five years, Gibson's film focuses on three staff members: the loquacious, seemingly tireless Marty, who was so addicted at one point that, after being shot in a deal that went south, he stopped for a hit before going to the hospital; Roxanne, a former sex worker whose tales of life in the trade are beyond harrowing; and Greg, a biracial child of the 1960s consumed with a long-delayed legal case hinging on a police officer's use of excessive force.

As it draws us closer to Gibson's subjects, The Stairs challenges prejudices and preconceived notions. It also underlines how tentative sobriety and stability can be for people who have lived in addiction for years. In one of the film's rawest moments, Marty, when asked what kind of future he sees for himself, explains that "When you wake up and you're at that next day, you're very happy because it's another day you didn't smoke crack … I didn't do it yesterday, I'm not gonna do it today either. That's our happy ending. Cuz it never ends."

As the film progresses, Gibson subtly builds a wide-ranging portrait of the conditions that can nurture addiction, most notably poverty and homelessness. In its nuance, social conscience, and moving affection for its subjects, The Stairs is a worthy continuation of the tradition set by the NFB's legendary Unit B.

Biography

 A graduate of York University (BFA: Film), Gibson participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus, TIFF’ s Talent Lab and TIFF STUDIO. Selected credits include writing/directing the acclaimed short drama, Hogtown Blues: TIFF, Bilbao: Audience Award), and producing short doc A Tomb with a View: TIFF, VIFF). 

 

He produced A Place Called Los Pereyra (IDFA, RIDM, BAFICI), which screened extensively in Latin America and Canada. The Stairs is his feature debut as director. He lives in Toronto.

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 For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

 

With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

 

 

Oct 3, 2016

James Alan

 James and I talk about mathematics, magic and mystery, risk and about how to leverage small secrets, and why it’s not about how smart you are, but it’s about what you know.

 Biography

James Alan is a professional magician and sleight of hand artist based in Toronto. James has performed across Ontario for small intimate audiences and on large stages creating performances, which are “thought provoking, funny, astonishing and thoroughly entertaining.”

His one man shows, Lies, Damn Lies & Magic Tricks and The Uncertainty Project have been featured at the Summerworks Performance Festival (Toronto), The Hamilton Fringe Festival and The Wychwood Theatre. His latest project, Magic and Martini (www.magicandmartini.ca), sets out to prove that magic really is for grownups.

Read more about James here.

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 For more information about my podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit my site here.

 With thanks to producer Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.

 

 

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