Film Screening Invitation – Not In our Town: Light in the Darkness

November 29th, 2011

The Patchogue Community (Photo courtesy of Jackson Hill Photography, LLC)

On Wednesday, December 7, join us at the Museum of Arts and Design for a screening of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness. The film tells the story of residents of a Long Island village who took action after a local immigrant was killed in a hate crime attack by seven teenagers. While starkly revealing the trauma of hate, the film provides a blueprint for people who want to do something before intolerance turns to violence.

Over 200 screenings of this film are being held across the country to spark dialogue and action in communities working together to prevent hate crimes, intolerance and anti-immigrant violence. Not In Our Town highlights the role of community and civic leaders in promoting a climate of inclusion and acceptance for everyone.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with the filmmaker and special guests about what each of us can do in the New York region to stop hate together in our communities and schools, and how you can support the Not In Our Town mission. The event runs from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.; light hors d’oeuvres will be served before the screening begins at 7 p.m.

RSVP for this event here.

Learn more about the background of this film with MetroFocus’ feature about the Patchogue hate crime.

Watch a trailer:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hi32RBheMbY&w=560&h=315]

This screening is presented by NIOT. Co-sponsors include Michele and Martin Cohen, Facing History and Ourselves, Center for Health Media and Policy, and The Working Group/Not In Our Town.

Winter's Eve Returns to Lincoln Square

November 28th, 2011

Digit from Cyberchase high-fives a young fan at last year's Winter's Eve celebration

Lincoln Square Business Improvement District hosted the 12th annual Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square, New York City’s largest outdoor holiday festival, on Monday, November 28th from 5:30 – 9:00 p.m. WNET returned this year as an official media sponsor of the event.

The festivities kicked-off in Dante Park (Broadway and 63rd Street) at 5:30 p.m., with a performance by Arlo Guthrie and family and the Newark Boys Chorus, followed by the traditional lighting of the Upper West Side neighborhood’s holiday tree.  The Outer Borough Brass Band performed after the Tree Lighting.  Immediately following the festivities in Dante Park, Broadway — from Time Warner Center to 68th Street –transformed into a winter wonderland featuring free musical and theatrical entertainment, food tastings from area restaurants, and fun activities for people of all ages.  Activities took place on the sidewalks of Broadway as well as inside at area businesses and nonprofit organizations.

As a media sponsor, WNET hosted an open house at The Tisch WNET Studios.  Visitors to the studio had the opportunity to:

  • Meet and pose for photos with Buddy from Dinosaur Train
  • Be interviewed about public television for upcoming Street Talk interstitials
  • Tour the studio
  • Hear performances by the Kaufman Center’s Face the Music Quartet and Pannonia Quartet
  • Watch outtakes from NATURE: Christmas in Yellowstone
  • The first 150 Thirteen or WLIW members to show their active MemberCard received a gift from WNET and Lincoln Square BID

View photos from WNET’s open house:

The New York Cares Coat Drive was the event’s charitable beneficiary, and the Parks Department ran a free trolley service up and down Broadway during the event. Winter’s Eve attendees were encouraged to donate gently used or new coats of all sizes on the night of the event at Dante Park at Broadway and 63rd Street, at Kids’ Central at the American Bible Society (Broadway and 61st Street) and at various other locations throughout the neighborhood. New York Cares especially needs children’s coats and large men’s coats this season to help people in need citywide.

Winter’s Eve official sponsors include presenting sponsor Time Warner as well as The Shops at Columbus Circle, the American Bible Society, Con Edison, Glenwood Management, Ogden CAP Properties LLC, Fordham University, Roosevelt Hospital, Milstein Properties, Century 21 Department Store, Mandarin Oriental New York, Empire Hotel, Bonafide Estates, Inc., TD Bank, Titan, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Fidelity Investments, New York Institute of Technology, Atlantic Grill, Rosa Mexicano at Lincoln Center, Zagat Survey; media sponsors include WABC-TV, WNET, Time Out NY Kids, WFUV radio, WBGO, and IN New York and Where magazines.

Independent Lens: Filmmaker Q&A with Anne Makepeace

November 17th, 2011

Filmmaker Anne Makepeace took some time out to answer a few questions about her film We Still Live Here — Âs Nutayuneân, which premieres on THIRTEEN on November 20 at 11 p.m. In tandem with this film, Makepeace collaborated with Cultural Survival to create Our Mother Tongues, an interactive website highlighting efforts to revitalize native languages across North America.

Here, Makepeace discusses her inspiration for the film, and what didn’t make the final cut.

Interview courtesy of Independent Lens. For more interviews and other Independent Lens film content, visit their blog.

What impact do you hope this film will have?

I hope that the film will serve as both a cautionary tale and an inspiring model for Native communities whose languages are endangered. Language revitalization programs are springing up on reservations and among urban Native American communities across the country, but reviving a language is a hugely difficult and slow process. The film is already being used in this way to wonderful effect. Also, as I travel around to film festivals, I am finding that the film has an equally important impact on non-native communities. Few people are aware that the native people of New England who ensured the survival of the Pilgrims even exist, much less that they are having a cultural revival. Seeing the film has made them see our early history in a brand new way.

What led you to make this film?

I was transfixed by the unprecedented and astonishing story of the Wampanoag Indians of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard bringing back their language. No one had spoken the language in a century, at least not in any fluent way. They were literally bringing it back from the dead, though they would say that the language was only sleeping. I found Jessie Little Doe — whose visions moved her to lead her fellow Wampanoags in reclaiming their language — enormously compelling, entertaining, moving, funny, and inspiring, and her daughter Mae, the first Native speaker of Wampanoag in a century, added another level of the story that made it impossible for me to resist.

What were some of the challenges you faced in making We Still Live Here?

Making a film about the resurrection of a language is an enormous challenge. How do you make learning a language, or language itself, visually exciting? It’s nearly impossible. Fortunately two things enabled me to do this: the talents of my fabulous animator Ruth Lingford, who made language come alive in a new way, and the existence of absolutely beautiful 17th and 18th century documents handwritten in Wampanoag by the ancestors of the people in my film. And of course the beautiful and compelling people who are bringing back the language.

What would you have liked to include in the film that didn’t make the cut?

I would have liked to have included a scene in which a Wampanoag extended family are looking over their genealogy, which extends back to 1612 when their ancestor was the sachem of Nantucket. The family includes members of every color, from black to white, but all identify as Wampanoag. To me this scene embodies the native values of acceptance, of inclusiveness, and of family, but since I couldn’t make it relate directly to language loss or revival, it didn’t quite work in the cut. I’m glad to say that I did use this scene as the centerpiece for the video extra, Are You an Indian?

Tell us about a scene in the film that especially moved or resonated with you.

I am always moved by the scene in which Jessie discovers that her advisor at MIT will be the linguist she insulted a few years before at a meeting in Aquinnah. She knows she screwed up and is ready to apologize, but Ken Hale apologies first and becomes her beloved mentor. Then later in the film when Jessie is speaking Wampanoag at his memorial service after his untimely death, and says it’s because of him that she is speaking her ancestral tongue, I always tear up.

Excerpts from 'American Masters – Woody Allen: A Documentary'

November 17th, 2011

Photo by Brian Hamill, courtesy of MGM

In American Masters’ upcoming documentary on Woody Allen, the film legend allows his life and creative process to be documented on-camera for the first time. The two-part film follows Allen’s career,  spanning over 40 years, and tracks his story from his childhood and first professional gigs as a teen to his most recent box office hit, Midnight in Paris.

Check out Woody Allen’s “My New York” feature on MetroFocus.

Join THIRTEEN for a look at some of the most memorable New York moments in Allen’s films.

American Masters — Woody Allen: A Documentary airs Sunday, November 20 and Monday, November 21 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Get a closer look at the film with these excerpts:

When Woody Met Diane: See what happened when Woody Allen first met Diane Keaton and learn what they both first thought of each other.

Woody Allen at Taminent: Woody Allen describes how he began writing comedy sketches at the Tamiment, a Poconos resort.

Woody’s Improv – The Punatorium: Dick Cavett recalls Woody Allen’s legendary improvisation skills.

Friends of THIRTEEN and WNET Salute Macaulay Honors College 10th Anniversary

November 15th, 2011

Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET, Dorothy Pacella, Executive Director of the Friends of THIRTEEN, and members of the Friends of THIRTEEN board joined the Macaulay Honors College in celebration of its 10th anniversary. Macaulay is the flagship honors program of the City University of New York, established in 2001 to attract top college applicants to CUNY with diverse academic and professional opportunities, extraordinary advisors, and a full academic scholarship. Since 2007, WNET has partnered with Macaulay to bring on exceptional students and alumni as volunteers, interns, production assistants, and staffers.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyHL_wc9Qg&w=512&h=328]

The anniversary event featured students and alumni telling stories of how Macaulay helped them achieve personal “firsts.” “Tonight you are seeing an institution that puts students at the center of everything we do,” said Dean Ann Kirschner. “Macaulay students are an incredibly talented, hard-working, and inspirational group.”

One of the featured student/alumni stories covered a recent highlight of the Macaulay-WNET partnership: a segment for SundayArts called “My First Opera.” Macaulay alumnus Daniel T. Allen, Production Coordinator for MetroFocus, WNET’s local news and culture magazine, presented alongside current student George Kruchinina about the project. During their winter break, six Macaulay freshmen spent weeks backstage as The Metropolitan Opera prepared Nixon in China for its Met debut. The SundayArts segment followed the students as they interacted with and interviewed composer John Adams, director Peter Sellars, Met general manager Peter Gelb and the many other professionals who make opera possible.

Watch My First Opera on PBS. See more from SundayArts.

Daniel began at WNET as an intern and went on to serve as the first Director of Community Engagement for Friends of THIRTEEN. He helped to develop several local documentaries including local supplements to Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and The Tenth Inning. Since joining WNET, Dan has been instrumental in establishing and cementing Macaulay’s partnership with the station. Since Dan came on in 2007, Macaulay has provided WNET with dozens of interns and volunteers, contributing hundreds of hours of volunteer service. Five Macaulay Honors College alumni are full-time employees at WNET.

The partnership has been beneficial for both parties, giving Macaulay students real world experience at one of New York’s premiere media, arts, and educational organizations, and offering the station access to a talented pool of passionate young pre-professionals with diverse interests. WNET looks forward to continuing this fruitful partnership for many years to come!

Elusive Justice: A Q&A with Filmmaker Jonathan Silvers

November 14th, 2011

Jonathan Silvers (Saybrook Productions)

Inside Thirteen recently spoke with Jonathan Silvers, the filmmaker behind Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals. The film investigates the global search for the 20th Century’s greatest criminals — fugitive Nazis — and the determined individuals who sought to bring them to justice.

Here, Silvers discusses his inspiration for the film and the motives of the so-called Nazi hunters featured in the documentary.

Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals airs Tuesday, November 15 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Inside Thirteen: What inspired you to make this film?

Jonathan Silvers: Back in the late 80s and throughout the 90s, I covered a succession of wars, atrocities, and genocides.  Anyone who observes conflict is obviously going to be sympathetic toward the victims and survivors.  But I also became increasingly curious about the perpetrators, their psyche, their methods, and their objectives.  In the aftermath of these conflicts, the majority of perpetrators not only went unpunished; they were absorbed back into the societies they had devastated.  I saw this time and again — in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Kosovo, Congo.  In most cases, the number of those brought to justice was a fraction of those who participated in unspeakable crimes.

In 1997, I was working for ABC in New York when I got a call from a friend who’d been my fixer during the Balkan wars.  He was then based in Vienna and had heard a rumor that a basement vault of a psychiatric hospital contained human remains dating back to World War II.  On the strength of this tip, I flew over with a cameraman to Vienna and we broke into the basement vault.  Inside we found several hundred human brains.  They were the brains of disabled or handicapped children who’d been murdered during World War Two as part of the Nazi euthanasia program.  These brains had been used for research during the intervening 50 years by the hospital director, Heinrich Gross, who during the War had been a Nazi doctor and had ordered these children murdered.  After we breached his vault, Dr. Gross disappeared, and we spent a week trying to track him down.  We’d been staking out his daughter’s house and just as we were about to give up, he appeared.  We ran out of our vehicle with our cameras rolling, and Dr. Gross stood there, shaking in his boots, speaking to us on camera for a half hour.  Our story aired on Nightline and BBC, and we exposed this great, unknown atrocity and this criminal who had been living not only freely, but had risen to the very highest levels of the medical profession in his native Austria.  The exposé forced the Austrian prosecutors’ hands.  The international outcry led to the first Nazi-era trial in 30 odd years in Austria.

So these experiences – the war reporting and exposing the Nazi doctor – started me thinking about the legions who’d participated in the Holocaust but had gone unpunished. And I started researching the post-war lives of the worst of the Nazi perpetrators, which was a revelation, because the vast majority of them went on to lead normal, prosperous lives.   And then it struck me that the only people who tried to hold accountable these enemies of humanity were the so-called Nazi hunters, the individual men and women who believed that enemies of humanity must be punished – if humanity itself is to survive.   In the aftermath of no other war that I can recall do you have individuals relentlessly, obsessively pursuing justice on a mass scale.

I officially launched this film in 2008 because I recognized an urgency: the generation of Nazi perpetrators was dying off.  So was the generation of Nazi hunters, and I thought that the lessons they offered were appropriate for the 21st Century, in which we unfortunately still have these kinds of atrocities, maybe not to the same scale but with similar intent.

IT: What do you think was the primary motivator for the men and women who tracked down the Nazi fugitives — a personal connection, or something larger than that, a desire for justice?

JS: So many different motives. I think all of them had a personal connection. In many cases, the connection was the loss of family, or they had experienced the Nazi atrocities themselves.   The motives are as varied as the hunters.  Most of them cling to higher principles, and to the law, which says that murder, mass murder, must be punished.  How often, in post-war environments, do you hear people talk about that? Almost never.  A few that I met were motivated by vengeance.  They were so affected by what they had lived through or had lost that vengeance was a simple and obsessive motive.  A couple didn’t even attempt to sugarcoat, they just said explicitly that it was about vengeance.

As a journalist, I have to be objective, but as a human being, I think vengeance can have very dangerous consequences.  The film opens with a segment on Jewish avengers, who lost their families and survived and decided that they were going to take it upon themselves to revenge themselves not on the Nazis, the troops who pulled the trigger, but on the German people as a whole. It’s a horrible thing to consider, especially as not all the Germans were guilty.  But to these avengers, there was no doubt that the Germans were guilty, because it was the German nation that had committed this crime.  I deliberately start with them because that was the rawest expression of justice, but I also like the ambiguity – what is justice? What do we mean by justice, and how can we ever have justice for crimes on such a scale?

IT: In the film, journalist Peter Finkelgruen says, “Politics and society didn’t want these trials, and when they could avoid it, they did avoid it.” Why was this the case?

JS: It comes down to this: no nation wants to prosecute its own people for crimes against humanity, especially when those crimes were state policy.  What child would prosecute his own parents?  If you look at the broader issue, tracking down and prosecuting war criminals is enormously expensive, time consuming, and exhausting.  Who has the money and the strength to do this?  I’ve never seen it done with any measure of success, whatever that may be.  So when Peter says politics didn’t want these trials, he’s absolutely right. Nobody wants to look in the mirror if the reflection is ugly.  And much as I believe in higher principles and punishing war criminals, in this era of economic uncertainty the question arises: can we countenance spending limited resources on prosecuting octogenarians?  Maybe if I’d survived the Holocaust I would say absolutely, go after them until their last breath.  But, pragmatically, as a nation, do we want to take on that enormous effort?  It’s a very confusing question.

IT: What was the experience like confronting Dr. Heinrich Gross, who murdered children at the Spiegelgrund clinic?

JS: It was amazing, because we had a sense when we were talking to him that he knew the jig was up – and that he’d been fearing this moment for fifty years.  Incidentally, I start the film with a similar scene of exposure, filmed in the early 1970s by a cameraman name Harry Dreifuss.  He’d been working with Serge and Beate Klarsfeld to expose Nazi criminals living openly in West Germany, and he found a guy name Kurt Lischka.  Lischka had been an SS Colonel and Gestapo chief during the war, and had sent tens of thousands of Jews to the concentration camps.  In the 1970s, when Dreifuss found him, he was a successful businessman and judge in his hometown of Cologne.  But the frame of him walking along a rain swept street when he suddenly realizes he’s being filmed is momentous.  There he is, in black and white, raising his briefcase to conceal his face and fleeing.   It’s obvious that he feared this moment, feared exposure, every day and that his worst fears were about to come true.

IT: Was there anything you were surprised to learn while making Elusive Justice?

Personnel records of fugitive Nazi criminals. (Photo courtesy of Jonathan Silvers/Saybrook Productions)

JS: I think the psychology of the Nazi hunters and their single-minded pursuit and determination – to do this for decades and decades and decades…in one sense it’s amazing and honorable, and in another, it’s an indication of how damaged they were that they wouldn’t let go of this. But, if their psychological damage led to the prosecution of mass murderers, who’s to say they were wrong? What’s also interesting is that you don’t see a lot of people who do this who weren’t directly affected, but occasionally you do. At the U.S. Justice Department, you have Eli Rosenbaum, who is probably the most determined investigator out there now, in an official capacity, and what he’s up against – he says, “we’re racing against the grim reaper,” but he’s also racing against political apathy around the world.

Over the decades the intent or methods of the Nazi hunters got larded in myth.  Most people, when hear the words Nazi hunter, envision guys in trench coats walking down dark alleys looking for sinister characters. And they think probably of Simon Wiesenthal and a couple of iconic cases. I don’t think they understood what individual investigators and prosecutors actually did.   So, in a sense I wanted to clarify or debunk the myth, and introduce viewers to people they might not have heard of, to bring them closer to the truth.

IT: What message do you hope viewers will take from the film?

JS: I don’t want to be too strident, but I think the line that concludes the film’s introduction is key: enemies of humanity must be pursued if humanity is to survive. I really believe that. You can’t have a functioning society with killers at large.

Behind the Scenes of American Masters' Bill T. Jones: A Good Man

November 8th, 2011

Bill T. Jones (Photo courtesy of Keith Walker)

In Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, American Masters explores the creative journey of acclaimed choreographer Bill T. Jones. The film follows Jones as he embarks on the most ambitious work of his career and leads the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in the creation of Fondly Do We Hope…Fervently Do We Pray, an original dance-theater piece in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s bicentennial commissioned by Ravinia Festival.

Bill T. Jones: A Good Man premieres Friday, November 11 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN. Go behind-the-scenes of the documentary with these video interviews and scenes that didn’t make the film:

Interview with Bill T. Jones: Bill T. Jones discusses his creative process, the origins of the documentary Bill T. Jones: A Good Man, and how President Abraham Lincoln and related subject matter has inspired his work for Fondly Do We Hope… Fervently Do We Pray.

Filmmaker interview: Co-directors Bob Hercules and Gordon Quinn discuss making the documentary.

The Cutting Room Floor: In this mini documentary, originally produced for ITVS, see how the directors chose which scenes and storylines to cut from the final edit of the film and see footage from one of the cuts that was made.

Independent Lens: A Q&A with Director Judy Lieff

November 4th, 2011

Director Judy Lieff

Independent Lens caught up with director Judy Lieff, whose film Deaf Jam premieres this Sunday at 11 p.m. on THIRTEEN. Lieff offers some perspective on the challenges she faced making the film, plus some updates on what the people portrayed in the film have been up to since shooting wrapped.

Interview courtesy of Independent Lens. For more interviews and other Independent Lens film content, visit their blog.

What impact do you hope this film will have?

I hope that this program will inspire and empower deaf youth and contribute to expanding social images of the deaf community. I also hope that the film will inspire anyone interested in poetry and literature to explore ASL poetry.

What led you to make this film?

While working as a visiting artist teaching video production to deaf high school students, I was introduced to the hidden practices of ASL poetry. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to attend a youth poetry slam, and it occurred to me that it would be fantastic to see deaf teens involved in this exploding movement. My research revealed that few, if any, deaf teens had ever been involved in the slam scene. Also, during my research, I met Liz Wolter, an ASL literature teacher at Lexington School for the Deaf who had been teaching single semester ASL poetry electives and video poetry projects with guest poets including poet guru, Bob Holman. Things just jettisoned from there, and I teamed up with City Lore, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of America’s living cultural heritage, to produce the documentary and raise funds to assist Liz in extending her electives to a full year.

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this film?

The issue of translation both for the dialogue and the poetry was the most challenging. ASL poetry is a totally different modality from written poetry. Many of the techniques involve spatial relationships as well as images and transitions that are visual and lose their power when translating into a written or spoken form. I chose to utilize animated graphics to approximate the translation. Regarding the dialogue — I had to shoot with two cameras most of the time in order to catch all the dialogue plus have an interpreter paired up with each camera operator so they knew what was being expressed. It was difficult keeping the sound of the interpreter off of the boom microphone even with if they were wearing a wireless mic. Given that we were shooting handheld and the nature of translating ASL, we did not have the option of putting the interpreter in another room with a monitor feed from the cameras. In some shooting situations, I had to lose the voice of the interpreter and translate the scene in post-production. In the end, I still had to transcribe all of the footage in post to get a more accurate read. In group situations it was impossible for interpreters to get all that was being said in the moment.

How did you gain the trust of the subjects in your film?

Prior to starting the project, I had been teaching video to deaf students and had established relationships with some of the poetry mentors through various other small projects. So, I had a rudimentary understanding of ASL and was able to communicate on a basic level with the students. When I started working on Deaf Jam, I made a point to always have a camera with me and attend all of the workshops even though I knew I wasn’t going to use all the footage. The consistency of filming allowed the students to become quite comfortable being filmed. I also utilized my dance background and gave the students warm-up exercises which let me step away from “production mode” and gave the characters a chance to get to know a bit more about me. My dance background and comfort in communicating through gesture and motion augmented my signing skills.

What would you have liked to include in your film that didn’t make the cut?

For the theatrical version of the film there were several fun scenes with Peter Cook that exhibited the cinematic concepts involved in ASL poetry that I wish I could have kept. However, I eventually decided that those scenes would be best included in the DVD extras or educational version of the film as they directly pertain to “how to make an ASL poem” and not the main character’s trajectory. For the broadcast version of the film, there were two scenes in particular that I would have liked to keep. One scene involves an isolated shot of one of Aneta’s classmates, Wanda, working on her first poem. The scene showcases the beauty of ASL poetry quite well and Wanda’s personality really comes through in the poetry. The other scene I would have liked to keep was a controversial discussion among the teachers in the famous Katz’s Deli about the future of ASL. In both instances, I had to ultimately remove them from the television version because they did not directly relate to Aneta’s story.

Tell us about a scene in the film that especially moved or resonated with you.

There is a graduation party for Aneta’s classmates in the middle of the film that is shot by the students. In the scene Aneta, expresses her concerns about being left alone while all her friends go off to college. For deaf students, school life becomes your second family. Aneta and her peers had been attending Lexington since they were children. So the impact of separation for Aneta is profound.

What has the audience response been so far? Have the people featured in the film seen it, and if so, what did they think?

So far, people who have seen the film have fallen in love with Aneta and want to meet her. Also, many hearing folks who have seen the film have asked where they can take ASL classes. During the edit process, I consulted with Aneta on the translation of some of the scenes particularly her poetry scenes and the scenes with Shiran where the two are signing in Israeli sign language. Five of the characters in the film have seen the final version. I held a screening for Aneta’s family and friends and to my relief they were thrilled! Peter Cook, Dirksen Bauman, and Liz Wolter — three prominent subjects in the film and experts on ASL poetry applauded the results. Dirksen has been key to my outreach developments for the film with Gallaudet University.

What has happened with the people in the film since you finished it?

Aneta Brodski and Tahani Salah (Photo courtesy of Melissa Donovan)

Aneta Brodski – After graduating from Lexington, Aneta took a year off from school before enrolling part time at John Jay College and studying International Criminal Justice. While attending college, Aneta worked as a volunteer and activist for the organization Global Deaf Women. She is currently teaching American Sign Language in New York City in order to continue her education. This summer she was asked to create a poem for Cisco’s online technology news site and Summer Poetry Series.

Tahani Salah – Tahani graduated from Columbia University. She is currently serving as a youth outreach coordinator and member of the Word Wide Youth Leadership Board with Urban Word NYC. She is also a member of the Nuyorican Slam Team and author of the forthcoming book Respect The Mic. Tahani has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jams.

Shiran Zhavian – Shiran graduated from Gallaudet University with a BS degree in chemistry. She was crowned Miss Deaf New York for 2009-2011 by the ESAD (Empire State Association of the Deaf). Currently, Shiran is in graduate school studying to be a pharmacist.

Liz Wolter – Liz continues to teach English and ASL literature at Lexington School for the Deaf. She is a contributor to the book Signing the Body Poetics.

Peter Cook – Peter is a full-time professor in ASL–English Interpretation at Columbia College in Chicago and is earning his Masters degree. He continues to travel internationally performing ASL poetry and stories.

Manny Hernandez – Manny lives in Washington D.C. with his wife and daughters. He travels internationally performing ASL stories and is on faculty at the Catholic University of America teaching ASL and is an adjunct professor at Gallaudet University.

Terrylene Sacchetti – Terrylene has founded a company called Clerc’s Children, Inc. It is a web-based dual language development curriculum and service for deaf and hard-of-hearing infants and toddlers.

The independent film business is a difficult one. What keeps you motivated?

I’m inspired by the burgeoning film scene both online and in traditional settings. Seeing films and other works of art along with the act of creating new projects keeps me motivated. I also try to incorporate some form of creativity into every day even if it only involves a domestic chore.

Why did you choose to present your film on public television?

From the beginning, I thought that Public Television would be the ideal venue for Deaf Jam. The mission statement for public television calls for films that reflect underrepresented communities and express points of view seldom explored in popular media, and Deaf Jam satisfies this vision.

What didn’t you get done when you were making your film?

What I did get done was become a parent during the making of Deaf Jam. But, between the making of the film and parenting I didn’t get anything else done.

What are your three favorite films?

This is a particularly tough question — I don’t really have favorites per se of any category – food, color, etc. My interests fluctuate according to circumstances. What I list today will most likely change tomorrow – but here goes:

The Great Dictator by Chaplin, Amarcord by Fellini, The Fog of War by Errol Morris

What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?

Follow your instincts and your dreams. Stay focused and don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

What do you think is the most inspirational food for making independent film?

I would say that the most inspirational and metaphorical food for me would be – the preparation (not necessarily the consumption) of a dinner consisting of wild mushroom risotto accompanied by a full bodied dry red wine, a green salad comprised of local produce, and a sorbet with fresh fruit for dessert. I chose the risotto because the recipe I have is labor intensive but the results are delicious. I chose the salad because I think salads are fun to create. The sorbet clears your palate at the close of a meal and prepares you for the next consumption.

Fairway Market and Lidia Bastianich Join Forces to Benefit WNET

November 2nd, 2011

Lidia Bastianich

On Saturday, November 5, 2011, Fairway Stamford and public television host and renowned chef Lidia Bastianich will celebrate food and community in an event to support WNET New York Public Media, the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21, New York’s public television stations and operator of NJTV.

Fairway Market will donate ten percent of sales on Friday, November 4th, and Saturday, November 5th, from its Fairway Wines & Spirits shop in Stamford to WNET as part of Fairway’s corporate sponsorship of the inaugural season of Vine Talk, a series about wine airing nationally on public television.

Lidia’s new series, based on the book of the same title, Lidia’s Italy in America, airs Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. (ET) on THIRTEEN and Mondays at 8 p.m. (ET) on WLIW21 (check local listings).

Enter to win a prize pack, including Lidia’s new book, Lidia’s Italy in America, a gift card from Fairway, and a THIRTEEN/WLIW21 tote bag!

Watch a preview of Lidia’s Italy in America:

Lidia will kick-off the festivities at 11 a.m. with the signing of her series companion cookbook, Lidia’s Italy in America (Knopf) and her popular children’s book, Nonna Tell Me a Story: Lidia’s Christmas Kitchen (Running Press Kids).  Filled with adventures and irresistible recipes, both books are  journeys into the heart of authentic Italian cooking.  Wine tasting will follow the book signing at the adjacent store, Fairway Wines & Spirits.

At the event on Saturday, November 5th, Fairway Stamford will feature a free spectacular sampling of LIDIA’S pasta and sauces and Fairway food specials for the fall. Guests are also invited to a tasting of Bastianich’s wines at the Fairway Wines & Spirits shop in Stamford.  (There will be wine tastings on both Friday, November 4th*, and Saturday, November 5th.)

Fairway with Lidia Bastianich for WNET
Saturday, November 5, 2011
11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Fairway Stamford (699 Canal Street, Stamford, CT 06902)
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Book signing: 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Fairway Wines & Spirits (689 Canal Street, Stamford, CT 06902)
Friday, November 4, 2011
Wine tasting: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.*

Saturday, November 5, 2011
Wine tasting and bottle signing:  12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

*Lidia Bastianich will not be at Friday’s wine tasting.

Sample a recipe from Lidia’s Italy in America: (more…)

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