“A once in a lifetime experience”- Interviews with U.S. film students who worked with well-known cinematographers in Cuba

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the full version of the interview by Henrik Eger, as found in Writer’s Block #33. Happy reading!

It took Cuba and the United States more than a half-century of Cold War estrangement and hostilities before both countries shook hands, reopened their embassies, allowed visitors, and engaged once again in cultural exchanges. Gerard (“Gerry”) Hooper, a U.S. filmmaker and professor at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, took ten of his film students to Cuba, where they studied and, with the full support of Cuban filmmakers, shot documentaries for two weeks at the legendary Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV) in San Antonio de Los Baños—one of the most important audiovisual training institutions in the world.

 EICTV implements the teaching philosophy of “learning by doing” with teachers who are active filmmakers. It was founded in 1986 by Colombian novelist and screenwriter Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Argentinean poet and filmmaker Fernando Birri; and Cuban theoretician and filmmaker Julio Garcia Espinosa, amongst others, and is supported by the government of the Republic of Cuba.

 Over the course of time, thousands of professionals and students from over 50 countries have graduated from this famous film institute. Three students from the Drexel group—Nick Bell and Anna Pruett, two Americans, and Inbal Madar, an Israeli American—openly discuss their experiences in Cuba. Continue reading ““A once in a lifetime experience”- Interviews with U.S. film students who worked with well-known cinematographers in Cuba”


The Power of Ordinary People: An Interview with Patrick Ness


A few weeks ago, the American Book Center here in Amsterdam organized a Skype interview with Patrick Ness, award-winning author of the Chaos Walking trilogy and the soon-to-be-filmed A Monster Calls. The interview, which took place at the ABC Treehouse, mostly focused on Ness’s latest release, The Rest of Us Just Live Here – until it became a discussion on Hogwarts houses and cat pictures. The novel describes the ordinary and focuses on people who are simply trying to live their lives in a world full of superheroes. It also points out that not everyone has to be the Chosen One, something that might be nice to hear in today’s performance driven society. I thought Ness’s answers were really interesting and informative, and I wanted to share them with you. Continue reading “The Power of Ordinary People: An Interview with Patrick Ness”

Interview: On Fictional Languages and They Should Pay Us For This

“Valar morghulis.” This phrase may be familiar to you, if you have watched a season or four of the television series Game of Thrones or read a book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. It is a phrase from a language called ‘High Valyrian’, and it is translated as “all men must die”. High Valyrian is a language that is not actually spoken by any native speakers, and the possible speakers, if existing, are probably fans of the series. It is one of the many planned languages in this world, human-made and often used in a book- or television series, as well as films and games. In another category of planned languages, you will find languages such as Esperanto, meant as a second language for all human inhabitants of planet Earth, so everybody can understand each other.  Continue reading “Interview: On Fictional Languages and They Should Pay Us For This”