"Screenwriting is an art that requires a lot of handicraft"

Leana Jalukse  is an Estonian screenwriter and script consultant. Leana has been active in the film industry since 1997, taking on a wide range of positions from assistant director and production coordinator to story editor and distribution manager. She holds a BA in Broadcast Media and an MA in Film Arts, majoring in screenwriting and script editing. Her screen credits as script consultant and story editor include films such as Estonia’s Oscar entry and domestic box office hit DECEMBER HEAT (2008), based on the true story about an attempted coup organised by the Russians during Estonia’s first attempt at independence in 1924. Leana was also a script and story editor on Kadri Kõusaar’s THE ARBITER (2013), a suspense drama about a modern man who decides to take matters in his own hands, which premiered in the official selection of Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. MOTHER, her debut as a writer on a full-length feature film, premiered internationally in competition at Tribeca Film Festival, USA, won Best Feature in Kitzbühel, Austria, Best Estonian Feature at Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Estonia, and was selected Estonia's national entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at Academy Awards.

Leana continues to work as a freelancer writing and editing scripts, as well as a copywriter in both AV and IT industries. In addition, she manages the Co-Production Market of Baltic Event, the largest international film market in North-Eastern Europe, since 2010. Leana is currently working on a number of scripts with producer Aet Laigu, including the modern “whodunit” story THE HAGUE and a comedy on migration GLADONIA. Recently, she was here to attend the screening of the film Mother at the Kolkata International Film Festival.

As a screenplay writer, who or what influences your writing the most?

My own experiences and principles. Whatever I write about, I try to raise a question or make a point that would make the audience think.

What is the specific process you follow when you sit up in your office and begin to write. Do you write a synopsis and then a treatment and so on?

First I write the structure and the characters - up to a page about every major one. An extended structure can be up to 3-4 pages. I follow a rather strict structure, so when this is solid, I can write a screenplay rather quickly - in only a couple of days - because I already know where my story is going, I just have to figure out exactly how.

 Is screenwriting an art?

It’s an art that requires a lot of handicraft. The more workshops I attend, the more scripts I read and analyse, the more I learn the tricks and tactics that help me develop a screenplay. But all art forms require knowledge and practice, don’t they?  Screenwriting is gaining in importance. People are beginning to take it seriously again. 

What is the most important thing people who want to write for film do?

Be open. Young writers are often reluctant to discuss their scripts and tend to defend the weak spots by saying either “but it happened like that in real life” or “it doesn’t have to be like real life in the film”. You can excuse anything in a script with these two arguments. No one can change your script but you, don’t be intimidated by feedback, it’s meant to help you. You don’t have to listen to everyone, filter out what is useful for you.

How much does the actual casting of your movies correspond with how you imagine your characters when you’re writing?

Not much, but then I don’t imagine much. There are certain types, of course, and I give a brief description for each character, but I’m the first one to say that let’s think of an actor who is the least likely to be in this role. I don’t like typecasting.

Leana Jalukse and Tiina Mälberg
What has been your best working experience till date?

My best collaboration as a writer is with producer Aet Laigu - who also produced MOTHER. She is a creative producer, who is very much involved in developing the script, and we work very efficiently together as we have learnt a lot together over the years and sort of complement each other. My other great passion is the film market Baltic Event (be.poff.ee), which I work for as the Co-Production Market Manager for the seventh year already. Also acting as a Script Expert allows me to read dozens of scripts every autumn.

What responses have you had to the film as you’ve travelled to festivals?

Most people seem to have been fascinated about the revelation in the end. Only a few have been 
genuinely shocked. Of course, as it’s a crime story, many people want me to clarify the details - mostly because not everything gets an answer in this film. Also, what I hear very often are compliments to the lead actress Tiina Mälberg, who is amazing in this role. It’s her debut in the lead role of a feature film, and she does a brilliant job.


“We hope the film will shake the normal beliefs of what domestic violence is, it's not just physical”

Hava Luzon, Mili Ben Hayl and Tamar Shippony

Mili Ben Hayl and Tamar Shippony, a couple in real life and in film, have their own production company in Jerusalem- '288 Sparks' where they produce & direct films together. Mili majored in film and Tamar in art and when working together they have developed their own special language. At the moment they are working on two new feature films, one in pre-production stages scheduled to be filmed April 2018. 'Cheer Me Up' is there first feature film.  "Cheer Me Up" is based on true life events surrounding Hava Luzon, who experienced suppression and domestic violence for 20 years before finally finding her way out. The film was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival and there in the international competition for women directors’ category, Special jury mention went to this film.

What drew you to making a film about domestic violence?

As the quote from a song by John Lennon says "Life happens when your busy making other plans", and so that is what happened, we didn't at all plan to make a film about domestic violence. It all started when Mili was giving a script writing workshop to single mothers. There she met Hava Luzon, a single mother to 3 children, who brought unsettling scenes from her life with her ex-husband. Hava’s scenes were so strong and emotionally brave that she couldn’t ignore them, Hava experienced domestic violence for 20 years and succeeded to find her way out. After a few weeks she approached Mili after class and wanted her help to combine scenes into a full script for a movie, she said to her: “I want to help other women see the signs before it’s irreversible”, Mili immediately agreed.

What sort of challenges were you faced with while making this film?

We feel that when being in a process of creativity it is very natural to have challenges and obstacles to face, it is part of the process and when embracing them it's much easier to handle. There is a nice saying "From Breakdown to Breakthrough" and we did have quite a few breakdowns, but we just kept on going. At first we weren't able to raise funds for the film, we tried sending the script for two years and didn't get anything. So we decided to film independently and set out with only $5,000. Once we got to the post-production stages, we needed more money and so we opened a crowd-funding project where we raised around $25,000 in 40 days, this was a big challenge! and a very intensive 40 days!).

This amount we raised disappeared in the post production expenses before we noticed and than again we had to raise more money to continue. We were very focused with the film we wanted to present to the world so we didn't want to compromise about the sound and color correction.  These stops to raise more money were challenging for us but if you look at it in a different angle they have allowed us to develop slowly with the film and present a much more mature product than if it was done faster.

Do you have any special moment that you’d like to share from the shooting?

Hava Luzon was with us on the set every day. Some scenes were emotionally charged for her, since they are based on true life events from her life, and so there were some tough moments for her where she wouldn't stop crying, seeing her far away past enlivened and re-enacted again before her eyes. These moments were hard for us because we had to be very focused with getting the scene right from the actors and camera and yet be there for Hava as well. It was very important for us that she was on the set, she helped us be more accurate with the actors, set and costume design, and adjust nuances that were important for being as true as we can.

How prevalent is violence against women in Israel?

Unfortunately it is very prevalent. It's in the newspapers quite often and we are sure there are many woman that keep it in silence. This film is about them. And yet, we feel that there is a conspiracy of silence among woman and men all around the world that this kind of violence that is presented in the film is "a normal life" and that this is the natural power of balance between women and men.

We wanted to touch upon the more “silent” areas of violence - the gray areas - violence that is more covert and at times can be more manipulative and dangerous. It was important for us to show the distress and anxiety the husband was going through, and to show that violence many times hides behind the excuse of “love”.

What do you think are the origins of male violence against women? Is it biological? Sociological? A desire for power and control?

This is a serious question, we are sure that whole books can be written on this subject yet we must stay modest when facing this kind of question and admit we don't know the answer for it.

What message do you hope that viewers take away from this film?

We hope this film might raise awareness in people, both men and women either to seek out help, or even better to awaken their inner strength and break free from suppression and fear, knowing that they have control of their life and that they can do something about it. We also hope the film will shake the normal beliefs of what domestic violence is, it's not just physical, there are so many women and men who believe living under these situations is normal, we hope people will consider the way they speak and behave to each other again and notice the more subtle nuances that may have been overlooked.


" I prefer to play roles that are versatile and complicated."

Tiina Mälberg is an Estonian actress and theatre professor. Tiina has been a professional actress since 1992, graduating from the Drama School of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. She has worked in different theatres in Estonia and abroad and performed in more than 60 plays and TV and film productions including roles in genres as versatile as musicals, comedies, plays for children, psychological dramas, classical tragedies and contemporary plays. Her first international recognition came in St. Petersburg in 1996 winning the best actress in the Baltic House theatre festival. Since then she has carved a number of awards for her theatre performances, including the nomination for the best Estonian actress in 2013. In 2011 she earned her M.A. from the Drama School of Estonian Academy of Music in theatre arts and pedagogies and has been teaching ever since. Tiina has also successfully directed several deeply inspiring plays based on contemporary poetry and is a member of the arts council at her home theatre in Rakvere, Estonia.

MOTHER (EMA) is Tiina’s first lead role in a full-length feature film. She accepted the part because she was immediately drawn to the story and she liked that the mother’s character was explored daringly and without dishonesty. MOTHER (EMA) is not ashamed to depict the egoism and the feeling of abandonment of the lonely people. However, the broader message of the film in Tiina’s opinion is acceptance, gratitude and forgiveness. Recently the film was screened at the Kolkata International Film Festival.

Which medium excites you most - film or theatre?

Both are interesting in their own way and inspiring to do. The methods are different, but creating a role in film and theatre is still pretty much the same.

Pic courtesy - Amlan Biswas
How did you get into acting?

I was interested in acting already as a child and went to theatre school right after secondary school. I was interested in telling stories, going to both the movies and the theatre, relating to the characters.

How challenging was your role in the movie Mother? How did you prepare for your character?

There were no great challenges. I was drawn to this very cleverly constructed screenplay and I felt I knew how to play the role that was created by the writer. I had enough life and work experience to open this complicated and controversial character. I was attracted to all the different layers and topics of the film and I was happy to contribute to it.

What message do you hope that viewers take away from this film?

I hope this film will make people realize that in life and relationships nothing is self-evident and you cannot presume anything. Be happy; don’t expect someone else to make you happy.

Do you have any special moment that you’d like to share from the shooting?

Shooting the scenes with Siim Maaten, who played Lauri, the comatose son, really affected us all, making us think what it would really be like to be in this situation. It made us humble, put some things in perspective.

Pic Courtesy - Amlan Biswas
As a woman in this industry, what are your views on gender equality within the industry?

In Estonia, we cannot really complain, as several of the strongest producers are women - including our own producer Aet Laigu. At the same time, this year marks the first time that Estonia selected a film by a female director for foreign language Oscar candidate - our film by director Kadri Kõusaar. We have also been told that it is evident that this screenplay was written by a female and the same has been said about the same author’s - Leana Jalukse - other screenplays. The truth is, men tend to portray women very differently, and it is up to us to show how we really think and act.

How do you pick your roles, and what are the things that attract you towards a script?

I like to participate in projects that carry an important thought or message. I prefer to play roles that are versatile and complicated.

What advice would you give to people interested in pursuing a career in acting?

Keep an open mind, look around in the world, read books, listen to music, visit art exhibitions, go to the movies and the theatre, be socially active, learn from the best. Experience life! Study acting if you feel that this is what you have to do. I have told all this to my son, who is just about to graduate from the theatre school. You have to have a sense of empathy, understand others, and be a good person in order to be a good actor.


A puppet can say things that "humans" would not dare to say.

Ava Loiacono from Switzerland is an actress, musician and ventriloquist.An expert on the Jaques-Dalcroze technique, Loiacono has trained in Paris in movement and taught at the Royal Ballet School in London. Currently she teaches at the High Pedagogical School and the Academy of Vivaldi Locarno in Switzerland.  Recently, she performed the fabulous "The Art of the Fugue" at the Sandre Hall, Calcutta School of Music. The event was presented by ThinkArts & Calcutta School of Music with the support of EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND.

What drew you to ventriloquism?

I had been working for over 15 years with my mother's puppet company in Switzerland and at one point the company broke up. I found myself alone and the question was how to face this problem and what to do with my future. I casually - but maybe it was not so - came across a very interesting book: "The Odissey Of the Voice" an historical overview of the voice development. There was a chapter dedicated to ventriloquism. Reading it I thought that that was going to be the answer. In my mother's company I was trained to do all sort of voices; I just had to learn how to do them without moving my lips. And this is where my new life started...

Is ventriloquism enjoying resurgence? Or is it seen as an outdated entertainment?

Ventriloquism is very little used in Europe. But it is very popular in USA. There it is also used to spread the gospel. American ventriloquists work mainly with dummies which are like wooden puppets some of them extremely sophisticated: they can move not only mouth but also eyes, eyebrows, ears. These dummies however cannot be moved around so much because of their weight and of the technique required to move the face.

For me it is not an outdated entertainment; I use it to create illusion, just like the conjurer; I also combine this work with music, movement and obviously with a script, a story with a content, lively characters that can "touch" people's heart and imagination.

Is it liberating getting to speak through puppets - and say anything?

It can be very liberating. A puppet can say things that "humans" would not dare to say. It has always has been like that in the history of puppets. There are many anecdotes from the past, during the fascism in Italy for example. During the play puppets would complain and make fun of the regime. The censorship could not arrest puppets!

Do you make your own props? What has been the inspiration behind “The Art of the Fugue”?

I used to make them; now I don't have my own lab to build them anymore. I have professional artists, mainly sculptors and puppet makers helping and collaborating with us.

The Art of the Fugue started very casually. Several years ago I decided to make a different Christmas present to my Indian children and my nephews. I prepared a very short show with a duck's head, a tiny rabbit in a finger's hat. In this story the duck was tired to be a duck and wanted to become a singer; to do so she needed to become a canary and therefore travel to the Canary Islands. In these 15 minutes she also sang accompanied by me at the piano. This show amused so much the children who were continually asking for it. So one day I decided to have a tea party and showing it to friends. In this occasion I invited also Mauro Guindani who was very amused and decided to develop it into something complete. The Art of the Fugue is now traveling all over the word and it is performed in 4 languages.

How was your experience doing the workshop with the children of Kolkata?

Lovely experience. I found the children very lively and warm. I was also impressed by the number of them. In Italy I would hardly manage to get 6, whereas in India there seems to be more interest and desire to learn.

How did you get involved in Dalcroze?

I started the training when I was 21. What attracted me was this new way to learn music; through the body movement. I found the method complete for it develops the ear, the instrumental skills (piano), the ability to improvise music, accompany the movement, as well as singing, creating coreographies and of course teaching. The training was extremely demanding; lot of study for many years.

The Dalcroze approach uses physical movement, and a large, open teaching space is ideal. However, many teachers don’t have access to such a space, particularly instrumental and ensemble teachers. How can the Dalcroze approach be utilized in such situations?

A minimum of space is required to do a Dalcroze class. Chairs and desks can be removed and if the space is too small the participants can be split into 2 groups. However if you continue the training a proper space is a must.

What is it about Dalcroze that inspires you to teach through this approach?

As I said before this is a holistic approach that works on the neurosensorial system. As Emile Jaques-Dalcroze said "We do not only listen to music with our ears, it resonates in our whole body, in the brain and the heart".

The Jaques-Dalcroze Eurhythmics is an active musical pedagogy based on body movements. The student- child or professional- is brought to feel what he hears through moving his body to the sounds and rhythms played by the teacher.

The stimulation of his global motor skills allows him to experience his body as an instrument, whereby musicality is felt and transmitted. The Jaques-Dalcroze method accelerates in children, even if they are not aware of it, the foundation for listening, motor skills and useful social abilities in many areas beyond the musical process.

What teachers/techniques influenced your work in addition to Dalcroze?

My very first "maitre" was Jacques Lecoq, a great theater pedagogue who gave me the basis for expression. His approach through neutral mask and then expressive masks are still  the foundations for my theatrical work. Another important figure is Mauro Guindani, my theater director. He wrote 4 of the solo pieces I am and have been performing. His "pen" is agile and sophisticated; a very special ability to write FOR the person he has in front. And finally another Mauro, Mauro Sarzi who comes from an historical puppet theater family;  five generations of amazing Italian puppeteers. With him I have started a new big project on the theme of water which will travel around the word.

Pic Courtesy: Amlan Biswas


Using games in public places

Marcus Toftedahl  is a games researcher, developer and lecturer at the University of Skövde, Sweden. His main competences lies within game design and narrative design, both from a development and research perspective. His main research interests are within serious games, gamification and the processes found behind game development - all from an inclusive game development perspective. Marcus has worked at the University of Skövde since 2009 and has since he started co-developed the world's first full concentration game writing education at University level as well as teaching game design and game production in general. Marcus have led multiple game development projects as a part of the University's digital game research, focusing mostly on using games in public spaces. Since summer of 2016 Marcus is focusing on his PhD project in Socio-technical systems researching the mechanisms behind being a local game developer in a global industry.Recently , a special lecture - 'Using Digital Games in Museums and on Cultural Heritage Sites' was given  by Marcus  at  the Indian Museum, Kolkata.

In the United States video game are starting to become more acceptable as a form of art, while in Asia they are often revered. What is the cultural perception of games in Sweden?

Regarding the cultural acceptance of games in Sweden, I would say it is very accepted - and even sought after. Sweden have had a long tradition of making successful games in the entertainment sector, with games such as Minecraft, Battlefield and Candy Crush Saga being from Sweden and this reflects on other parts of the gaming industry as well. At my university, University of Skovde, we have a constant stream of project proposals from external partners, such as museums, cultural heritage site which I talked about in my session at the Indian Museum, but also from other societal functions such as rescue services and the military.

In the last decades digital games have been used in other areas of knowledge instead of entertainment. Why have these applications been so well received?

I believe that since games are more or less everywhere nowadays, with people playing digital games on their mobile devices such as smartphones, digital games have been more accepted. This knowledge of games, that digital games exists, spills over on other uses as well. In Skovde, we started our university level game development programs in 2002 and at the same time we started doing research projects on digital games and this is also important for the wider use of games.

As a researcher I don't have any commercial interests in the games I make, which also adds to that we can make games that might not be commercially "right" but instead expands the use of games and further the gaming medium.

How can digital games transform museum experience?

With participation and interaction. We like to play, we like to learn and if these two things are combined in the right way it can enhance the experience of learning new, or old, things at the museum. It is important to state that games should not be intrusive at a museum, it should still be a museum - not a gaming den! It needs to be well integrated in the museum experience.

To what extent do you think that integrating games into the classroom promotes new types of learning that can be achieved no other way?

A little bit the same as games at the museum. Games should and could be a compliment to other forms of teaching. It should not replace books or teachers, but be used to enhance the learning for example by collaborating over a given scenario, building a historic site in Minecraft and then discuss it thereafter. But there are challenges of course, there are not many games well suited for school use yet and it demands work from the educators to adopt games into the curriculum. But, I believe we will see more of it in the future.

What’s your expectation over the near future? In five years, what will the industry be like?

Bigger, better and hopefully more inclusive. Today there are for instance about 90% men working with game development. This needs to change - because there are 50% female players. The industry needs to broaden its views, to actively work for more inclusive. Not only in gender, but also cultural background and more people from all walks of life. This is the greatest challenge the games industry faces today from my point of view.

What advice would you give to any artists or developers who are thinking about  going the independent route with their game concepts?

Be in contact with other developers and with your players! Talk about your games, show them to others and find your own voice. You can imitate at first, to train your skill level as a craftsman but later on you need to find your own voice to stand out. It is a competitive market, so you really need to find your target audience and your own niche.

Photo courtesy - Indian Museum, Kolkata


"When you practice yoga regularly, your mind opens up to a new level of consciousness"

Sabine Utz has been practicing the Bikram yoga sequence almost every day for more than 10 years. In the autumn of 2008, she completed her training as a 'Certified Bikram Yoga Teacher' .After winning the 'European Yoga Asana Championships 2009' and participating in the 'International Yoga Asana Championships 2010', she became Austrian Champion of the 'European Qualifying Championships' in Madrid in 2011. She and her husband run the Yoga-loft in Vienna. Recently she was here at the Ghosh's Yoga College for a yoga therapy training course.

What brought you to yoga?

In 2003, a friend of mine introduced me to yoga. It was Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. I liked it and kept doing it.

How did you first come across Bikram Yoga?

I was working in the film industry. I was an assistant director and script supervisor. I read alot about Bikram Yoga. It was very popular. A studio had just opened in Vienna, so me and my husband took our first lesson together. It was very exhausting but I was immediately hooked and kept coming back. I was travelling a lot during those days for my work. During free time I did lots of yoga. Somehow I just left my professional life and went to teacher training. 

What is the most important lesson you have learnt being a yoga teacher?

Trust the process. Do yoga. Just do your practice and the rest will follow. This actually happens. When you practice yoga regularly, your mind opens up to a new level of consciousness and you understand things which you couldn’t understand before. There is a transformation happening in both your body and mind.

There are yoga sites that offer online subscriptions to follow yoga classes and yoga therapy.  Your thoughts on online yoga classes?

It is a very western approach. It is a business approach. Practicing online is so much different than practicing in person with a certified teacher. Traditionally yoga was taught one-on-one. For instance in Ghosh's Yoga College. You will receive one on one attention from Muktamala Mitra (principal of the Ghosh's Yoga College) and benefit from the family-style atmosphere. The primary focus of the training is on learning therapeutic exercises to heal your body and mind.  Yoga is a very personalized form of exercise. You need different yoga postures/asanas for each individual to get the most therapeutic benefit out of it. Online yoga classes are not ideal because they lack the presence of a guiding teacher. There is a higher risk of injury especially for beginners.

Yoga is now increasingly moving to air-conditioned enclosures within homes, fitness centres or attractive resorts. How do you see the Commercialization of Yoga: Boon or bane?

Anything that makes people practice yoga is good! It brings more benefit healthwise for the people. Whatever yoga you practice or wherever you practice, it doesn’t matter; just make sure the teacher is qualified, knows the body and your personal limits.

Your word of advice for those who want to start learning yoga?

Look for a good teacher. One needs to learn yoga in a personalized environment. For instance in Kolkata, Ghosh's Yoga College is the best place to learn.

Please tell us about your studio 'Yoga-loft Vienna' ?

It's been open for five years now. Our main focus is Bikram Yoga, but we offer complimentary practices as well, like Yoga Therapy, Yin Yoga,  Pranayama classes, meditation classes and also special classes and workshops. Our basic focus are the therapeutic benefits of yoga. We try to create the best atmosphere to practice, to unwind and relax.


Piano Endeavors

                                                                      Pic Courtesy - www.ceccarelligiovanni.com

Giovanni Ceccarelli is an Italian pianist, composer, arranger and artistic producer. His numerous musical projects vary from piano solo to quartet, from jazz to songwriting, from concerts to performances and live soundtracks. Giovanni has released nine albums as leader or co-leader, one of which was nominated for the “Latin Grammy Awards”. Giovanni Ceccarelli, was part of the trio of musicians ( Marcello Allulli (sax), Giovanni Ceccarelli (piano) and Matteo Fraboni (drums)), who have composed and played live for the cine concert, around the film 'Cenere' (Ashes), which was screened & performed at the Victoria Memorial, Kolkata.

                                                   Pic Courtesy - Amlan Biswas
How did you start playing piano?

I started playing piano at the age of 7, when my best school friend encouraged me to take piano lessons with him in my hometown. I grew up in a musical environment, because my father loves music: he listened to all styles of music, organized chamber music concerts, and practiced different musical instruments.

Who and what do you consider to be your musical influences?

I love listening to music and my tastes are very wide and diverse, including jazz, chamber and symphonic, baroque, classical Indian, Brazilian, Cuban, folk, pop, rock music, and more. Certainly my music listening shaped the way I feel, conceive, play, and compose music. The pianists I truly love are Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Tom Jobim, Dr. John, Glenn Gould, Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. Other very important influences in my way of making music are certainly the Beatles, João Gilberto, Miles Davis, and Johann Sebastian Bach.

                                                  Pic Courtesy - www.ceccarelligiovanni.com
You have released several albums. How do you decide what to put on an album?  Do you wait for inspiration to knock you upside the head or do you sit down and say, “It’s time to work on some new music”?

I prefer working on specific musical projects, rather than just assembling a series of tunes. Each album is for me a coherent work, starting from which musicians to involve, in what direction to go concerning the music to compose and/or arrange where to record, and so on. It is never a cerebral process which brings me to releasing an album, but rather a special encounter, or a strong wish to collaborate with some musician, or the will to put on a record some music that I have been performing.

                                                 Pic Courtesy - www.ceccarelligiovanni.com
I have found it really interesting that many of the composers I know have very different processes when it comes to naming their pieces. How do you do it?

Usually I first compose the music, and then I make a home recording of it. At this point I sit down and listen, and suddenly the music evokes a place, a feeling, a person, a concept, or a state of mind. The right title comes up easily at this point.

What has been the most memorable project for you so far?

I feel very happy and grateful for having the chance to play with some wonderful musicians and human beings, and for taking part in some very special groups and projects. Certainly my group InventaRio, which was founded by my friend Ferruccio Spinetti and myself, is a very dear one to me. Our second album in collaboration with the great Ivan Lins was nominated for the Latin Grammy Awards in 2014. I also cherish my long time collaboration with my friend Marcello Allulli. Our Live soundtrack to silent movie "Cenere", which we are presenting on tour in
                                   Pic Courtesy - Amlan Biswas
India with Matteo Fraboni, has brought us to performing throughout the world. I also have the chance to collaborate with a great musician, the bandoneon player and composer Daniele di Bonaventura. Our album "Mare Calmo" is my latest one and first to be released as a CD plus a DVD.

What future projects can we look forward to?

I have plenty of projects in my pocket: recording a duo album with Marcello Allulli, group InventaRio's third album, a songbook of original compositions with singer/lyricist Michela Lombardi, plus other remarking recording projects which involve me as a pianist, composer, arranger, and artistic producer.


"The teller is the bridge between the story and the audience"

Roger Jenkins is a professional Singaporean storyteller who has performed and run training courses for teachers and students in schools in Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing, Chennai, Saigon, Sandakan, Hong Kong and Jakarta. In 2013 he won the Best Storyteller Award at the prestigious 16th Kanoon International Storytelling Festival held in Iran.His books, Stories for Moral Education (Juniors and Teens) have both sold over 12000 copies each, to parents and teachers.Recently, Culture Monks, presented a storytelling workshop by Roger Jenkins for teachers and storytellers. He also did a Storytelling performance for children and a workshop for parents at the  Kinderdance Kolkata.

Tell us how you started storytelling?

I came to storytelling by accident, after I was asked to run a course for teachers on using it as a strategy in the classroom.  I felt I had to lead by example – and the moment I stood up and told stories to that first group of stories, and felt their response, I knew this was something I wanted to do a lot more of.

During a subsequent tea-time conversation with the American teller Margaret Read MacDonald, I realised she was travelling around the world and getting paid to tell stories and I thought, Hey! That sounds like the best job in the world! (It is!) 

What according to you is the role of a storyteller in today’s world?

Stories really connect us. They’re what make us unique as a species. While there are many ways to tell stories – on the page, on screens of various sizes – oral telling is highly personal and therefore more likely to make an emotional connection with the audience.  In sharing stories, the teller reminds us what it is to be human: from my mouth to your ears, from your ears to your heart. Looking into the eyes of the teller, you feel their passion; you know if this is spam or not! 

What are the most important things that a storyteller needs to captivate an audience?

A teller needs a good story that is appropriate for his audience – and to find a way of telling it that is also appropriate. You don’t tell the same story at bedtime (when you have lots of time) as you do at breakfast (when you are rushing to get your kid off to school!) So the teller is the bridge between the story and the audience, and your role is to make sure the story travels to the listener as best you can.  Younger children like a more visual style, so  visual aids (eg puppets, pictures, props) are often helpful, but older kids/audiences will respond to the power of your words. Best advice I ever got? "spoke from the top of your head and the bottom of your heart" - Max Tell, Canada.

Has the storytelling job changed, with the rise of podcasts and so much audio content?

I wasn’t telling before the onslaught of audio, but I think it’s become even more imperative that we get people away from screens or out of headphone-isolation and into real contact with other people. Storytelling fosters good listening too (listening to a device with a re-wind button means we don’t need to give it 100% attention because we can always hit replay.

How do you see stories helping children in terms of cultural sensitisation/ change drivers?

When we listen to a story, scientific research shows that our brain responds to a large extent as if we were actually there in the story with the characters. So stories are a great way to develop empathy in kids. “It’s very hard to hate someone once you know their story.” A story like‘Don’t Eat Your Little Sister!” encourages kids to focus on the similarities that bind us, not the differences which seem to divide us on the surface. 

Some of the most successful companies in the world use storytelling very intentionally as a leadership tool. In what ways can storytelling help leaders be more effective?

Stories makes abstracts – such as a leader’s vision – concrete.  When you are thinking of taking over a company, you don’t need a storyteller – get a good financial analyst. But once you’ve bought that company, you will have hundreds or thousands of workers worried about the future and probable changes of direction, wondering who you are and what qualifies you to lead them – and that’s when the leader needs a story, to earn their trust (your who-I-am story) and to reassure the staff of their place in a in a larger, more capable/diverse company able to maximise opportunities in the changing world of tomorrow. . .

How was your experience in Kolkata?

Really enjoyed it – it was my first visit. The kids were great, and parents/teachers/tellers eager to learn!


Art is a way to search the truth

Dr.TATJANA BURZANOVIC is a Doctorate of fine Arts (graphic design) from  the University of Belgrade.She is prsently working with the University of  Donja Gorica (UDG), Podgorica, MONTENEGRO(CRNA GORA), as a Professor. She has a wide experience in the fields of graphic design, graphics in architecture, interior design. She was worked as art editor, interior designer and graphic designer at   various levels. Many of her arts exhibitions have taken place at different art galleries around the world. She has received many awards for her arts and literary works.

She has also published a book entitled - The interrelation between Art worlds-with support of the Embassy of India for Austria and Montenegro in Vienna. Her artistic philosophy include displaying of inter-relationship between art worlds (spatial and temporal arts). An artist thus mediates between nature and the spirits and yet stems from the absolute idea and serves the goal of realization of absolute spirit."Grasping the meaning through the form" is the task of the art set by the contemporary thinker is to demonstrate that building forms and creating sense are two simultaneous, intertwined, and absolutely inseparable processes in Arts. Without that recognition it is not possible to take any further step in investigating the nature of art and literature. She believes that art is a way to search the truth.  

Recently an exhibition of her paintings was held in Kolkata in the first week of November, 2016. The exhibitions have been sponsored by the ICCR with the coordination of the Embassy of India, Vienna, Austria.

How would you describe your work?

Poetry or prose illustration has been my preoccupation since childhood, ever since elementary school. Even earlier, with much less experience, I felt the need to convey and transpose what I used to read through the fine arts elements. This great need to unite two or more arts has lasted with equal intensity until today.

What / who inspired you to be an artist?

It seems to me that an artist is born, not created. I was lucky to feel that very early, already when I was only five. The inspiration is in me, and I can say that I hold it within with great pleasure, that is woven into my being. I see things, I think, and I experience things around me that way. I am an established artist, and I would like to note that when a profession that one loves is found, then that person will no longer have to work indeed until the end of life. This means that I'm not working, I enjoy my work and I hope that can be felt.

What message do you want to convey through your artworks?

My message through art is the message of the Bhagavad  Gita, LIFE CONSOLATION, TRUTH, SELF-REALIZATION, PEACE ORIENTATION TO  TIMELESS...

You have published a book entitled- The Inter-relation between Art worlds. Could you share some thoughts on the theme?

My Book THE INTERRELATIONS BETWEEN ART WORLDS is a correlation of simultaneous and successive art. Please note that what interests me is a synergy of meaning and radiation on my illustrations. The book also discusses the analogy among the various arts, such as analogies of colour frequency (Valera) and chords (harmonies) in music, and rhyme in poetry (literature) .This analogy exists in nature and it only has to be felt and presented in the right way. The more I succeed in that the greater is my pleasure. I do that sincerely from my souls, the way I feel in a given moment.

My book can be found by potential readers at the AMAZON bookstore, as an electronic publication. I used visual elements to present the thoughts and feelings from the narrative part of the book, in this case the ancient epic Bhagavad Gita. I like to say for my artwork, "READING THE IMAGE"

How is digital art currently impacting the contemporary design world in your opinion?

I'm always an advocate of the traditional, and I use digital art only as a technical option when my work needs to be published. And yet, what can be done by human hand and brain cannot be done solely by computers. My hand is an extension of my thoughts. Where used with technological advantages to a certain extent, modern design will gain in  value. Having a measure in everything is the right path. Indian art and culture were dear to you even before coming to India.

What kind of India you imagined before coming here? How much of it was in conformity with your perception?

My perception of India has not changed much. On the contrary, it was only strengthened with new values. Today India belongs to me much more than before.

You have been active in promoting Indian art & culture. Could you share your views?

I am engaged at the Faculty of Design and Multimedia, UNIVERSITY OF DONJA GORICA (UDG) IN PODGORICA (MONTENEGRO) in the learning process and  as Deputy Dean. Rector of the University of Donja Gorica proposed, from the current school year, that I should teach a course on Indian culture and at the  Faculty of Culture and Tourism, University of Donja Gorica. I accepted it with great pleasure, and our students know much more useful facts about India already now, so that we can thank the visionary thinking of Rector of the University of Donja Gorica, Prof. Dr. Veselin  Vukotic, for that fact.



First of all in order to find love, you have to love yourself

Recently, Power Publishers and Oxford Bookstore organized a twin launch event of popular Australian author and globe trotter Geri Hemer's books FOXY LADY and HOW TO WIN YOUR MAN AND KEEP HIM along with the audiobook versions of these two books, at Oxford Bookstore, Kolkata.

You have mixed with the A-List of the music world, foreign dignitaries and captains of industry. How do you think that wealth of experience influences your present career as an author?

Spending time and talking to people is one of my favorite pass time. I am a good listener and I always find the deeper meaning in a conversation besides what they are talking about. I find that fascinating especially when they asked me about my relationship.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was inspired by my spouse in a lot of ways. Firstly the love that we share together and how fortunate we are to have this experience Love does not come easy so I appreciate every single moment.

Can you please tell us about your approach to writing? For example, do you follow structures and writing rules? Or do you write in a free flow way?

When it comes to writing, I just let it flow. Whatever comes to mind i write and later I would go over it and correct when necessary. Things just pop into my head especially when I am having a glass of champagne.

If you could have people take away just one lesson from this book, what would it be?

The lessons I would like to send to people .First of all in order to find love, you have to love yourself. You have to trust each other.

What is your best advice for them when it comes to finding a spouse?

Every one has a soulmate out there just waiting to find that one someone special .If you tell yourself that you will never find love, it would be forever lost.

What’s that one piece of advice you’d give to everyone to stay happy?

Happiness comes from within. In a relationship you have to find time for each other. A time to talk, a time to love, a time to give and most of all a time to listen. And remember that trust is always essential in a relationship. Love is like flowers, if you don't water them they wilt and die.

Can you please tell us what we can expect to see from you in the future?

Currently I am working on another novel. Also we will be making a film here in India from one of my latest book FOXY LADY.

Pic courtesy : Power Publishers


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