WOMEN IN SCIENCE & TECH SERIES: SHAMPA BANERJEE & HANNAH KAIN

This month in our Women in Science & Tech TV series we talk to Shampa Banerjee of Eros Now and Hannah Kain of ALOM Technologies. We talk to them about how they got interested in science & technology and what brought them to Silicon Valley.

 

Shampa Banerjee, Chief Product Officer, Eros Now

 

Banerjee was drawn to science and math right from her childhood. She majored in Physics at IIT, Kanpur and came to study in America. She got a PhD in physics and was working on a post-doctorate when a chance conversation changed her life and career. It was serendipity that brought her to Silicon Valley and the world of startups. Banerjee is the Chief Product Officer at Eros Now, the digital division of Eros International the largest integrated studio for Bollywood films. How did a physicist become a Chief Product Officer? We have the answers for this and other question in our upcoming interview with Banerjee.

 

Hannah Kain, President/CEO, ALOM Technologies

 

Hannah Kain is the President and CEO of ALOM Technologies, a global supply chain company in Silicon Valley. Kain studied International Relations in Denmark before she came to the US. So, how did she go from her liberal arts major background to founding a supply chain company that counts Fortune 500 companies as its clients? What prompted her to start a global supply chain and take her into the world of manufacturing? Tune back in to find out Kain’s style of leadership and how she works with her team to execute and deliver to her clients.

You can watch our TV show in Northern California, Los Angeles and Cambridge, MA.

 

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VIDEO: REBECCA MILLER ON “MAGGIE’S PLAN,” GRETA GERWIG, TRAVIS FIMMEL & JULIANNE MOORE

Filmmaker and writer Rebecca Miller’s latest picture Maggie’s Plan is a 21stc romantic comedy that raises interesting questions about love, procreation and the need for companionship. We caught with Miller at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival to talk about the making of her film based on a novel by Karen Rinaldi.

Maggie’s Plan is studded with quirky and interesting characters like a pickle entrepreneur (Travis Fimmel), a “ficto-critical anthropologist” (Ethan Hawke), a quirky anthropologist (Julianne Moore) and then there is Maggie (Greta Gerwig) and her friends (Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph). We wondered how she came up with the pickle entrepreneur character. And why does Julianne Moore’s character remind you of Maud from The Big Lebowski? Tune in to find out.

Maggie’s Plan is written and directed by Miller. The film is currently showing in theatres in San Francisco Bay area.

 

AUDIO: JOSHUA KREIGMAN & ELYSE STEINBERG ON WEINER – A DOCUMENTARY ON ANTHONY WEINER

Weiner - a documentary on Anthony WeinerJoshua Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s documentary Weiner is about Anthony Weiner, a former New York Congressman, who also ran for Mayor of New York in 2013. Kreigman worked as Weiner’s political consultant before becoming a filmmaker.

The film takes you behind the scenes and chronicles Weiner’s political life and spotlights his 2013 run for Mayor of New York. The mayoral campaign started off  on a strong note with strong ratings in the polls, but the subsequent scandal during the campaign marred his chances of winning the elections. He lost the elections.

We caught up with Kreigman and Steinberg at the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, where Weiner was screened. We talked to them about why and how they made this film on Weiner.

LISTEN: Joshua Kreigman and Elyse Steinman Weiner – A Documentary on Anthony Weiner

The documentary shows Weiner at his home with his wife Huma Abedin and their child, at office and on the road during his mayoral campaign. In our film you get to see a more complete picture and a different side of  her (Huma Abedin) points out Steiberg.  She is a wife, a mother and you get to see her as a more complete person she adds.  Abedin is a long time political advisor to Hillary Clinton.

This is the worst thing to do Weiner confesses in the film.  Weiner and Abedin have not seen the film and we have offered them to the show the film points out Kreigman.

Here are a couple of reviews of Weiner that might interest you. The film is “an engrossing, almost shamefully entertaining documentary,” writes Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post. Weiner “has  an unexpected emotional undertow,” writes Eric Loder in Reason. The film is jaw-dropping and riveting writes Mike LaSalle in SFGate.

Weiner releases in San Francisco Bay area on May 27, 2016.

 

VIDEO: HIGHLIGHTS OF MAKER FAIRE

Highlights of Maker Faire in San Mateo, May 2016.

VIDEO: REBECCA MILLER ON MAGGIE’S PLAN, JULIANNE MOORE & TRAVIS FIMMEL

Filmmaker Rebecca Miller talks about Maggie’s Plan that stars Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Travis Fimmel and Julianne Moore. The film is based on a novel written by Karen Rinaldi. Miller wrote and directed Maggie’s Plan.

We caught up with her at the San Francisco International Film Festival to find out more about how she came up with Maggie and her romantic involvement with a  “ficto-critical anthropologist” played by Hawke. We were also curious to find out about Julianne Moore’s character in the film, who reminded me of Maude from The Big Lebowski by the Coen Brothers.

We have a longer interview with Miller coming up later this week. Tune back in for that interview.

Maggies’s Plan releases on May 27, 2016 in the San Francisco Bay area.

VIDEO: KATE BECKINSALE ON LOVE & FRIENDSHIP, WHIT STILLMAN & TOM BENNETT

Kate Beckinsale talks about Love & Friendship, where she stars as the brilliant, charming and manipulative Lady Susan Vernon. She is a widow in search of sound prospects for her daughter and herself. The film is based on a Jane Austen’s  epistolary novel called Lady Susan. This kind of novel is usually told via letters and diary entries, but in the hands of writer and director Whit Stillman the novel turns into a delightful & pithy film.

We spoke with Beckinsale during her visit to San Francisco International Film Festival about how she prepared for the role, working with Stillman and Tom Bennett, who acts in the film. Tune in to find out this about about Beckinsale’s next project.

Love and Friendship releases on May 20, 2016 in San Francisco Bay area.

AUDIO: YORGOS LANTHIMOS & ARIANE LABED ON “THE LOBSTER”

The LobsterWe caught up with filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos and actress Ariane Labed during the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival. Lanthimos was at the festival to show his first English feature film The Lobster.

The Lobster has been described as a dark comedy and a dystopian Tour de Force. The film is about a parallel world with rules on how to find a life partner within 45 days. It is illegal in this parallel world to be single. If you fail to find a partner then you become an animal of your choice. And Colin Farrell, who plays the lead male lead in the film wants to become a lobster.

We spoke with Lanthimos and his wife Labed about the making of the film, how they chose the title for the film, and how they found the tone for this dark comedy. We also discussed the point that Peter Strickland raised in an interview with Lanthimos about how it is a challenge to slot the film into a category.  The couple point out they had fun making this film about love and single people in our society.

LISTEN: YORGOS LANTHIMOS AND ARIANE LABED ON THE LOBSTER:

Here are a couple of review of The Lobster that might interest you. The film offers a rich, surreal take on modern love writes The Los Angeles Times, The Lobster is a rom-com with satirical claws is how NPR’s movie review described the film.The movie asks too much of its viewers writes The Christian Science Monitor. The film does demand your total attention since it is a rich and complex narrative.

The Lobster stars Colin FarellRachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Ariane LabedLéa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw and others. The film releases in San Francisco Bay area on May 20, 2016.

 

AUDIO: FILMMAKER WHIT STILLMAN ON LOVE & FRIENDSHIP, KATE BECKINSALE & TOM BENNETT

Whit Stillman on Love & FriendshipFilmmaker Whit Stillman described as the Patron Saint of  luxury on a budget by GQ wrote and directed Love & Friendship that is based on Jane Austen’s  epistolary novella called Lady Susan. The novella was published after Austen’s death by her nephew.

We caught up with Stillman during the 59th San Francisco International Film Festival, where Love & Friendship was the opening night film. This is a deliciously funny film that centers around a window and her desire to find a well-heeled man for her daughter and herself. Set in the late 18thc England, this Austen novella is bitingly funny and highlights how women had to fend for themselves in that period.

We spoke with Stillman about the making of Love & Friendship, working with Beckinsale and Tom Bennett and his love for history and writing. I wondered if he should have written for The Paris Review. Tune in to find out what Stillman had to say.

LISTEN: FILMMAKER WHIT STILLMAN ON LOVE & FRIENDSHIP, KATE BECKINSALE & TOM BENNETT:

Beckinsale plays the role of  Lady Susan Vernon, who has a wonderful ability to play with people’s emotions and has a way of getting things done her way. Chloe Sevigny plays a close confidante and conspirator of Beckinsale in the film. Others in the film include Stephen Fry, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell, Jemma Redgrave and Tom Bennett.

Here are a couple of reviews about Love & Friendship that might interest you. The New Yorker describes the film as deeply satisfying, while The New York Times critic AO Scott describes Love & Friendship as howlingly funny.

Love & Friendship releases in the San Francisco Bay area on Friday, May 20, 2016.

Check out our interview with Beckinsale on Love & Friendship.

 

Tim Cook In India & Apple Opens Its First App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru

Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is in India. And that Bollywood selfie has happened on the very first day of Cook’s first visit to India. I wager that this Bollywood selfie  will win huge brownie points for Cook. The next thing he needs to do is get a selfie with a cricket player. He has already scored brownie points with the developer community in India with his selfie.

Cook met with India’s Prime Minster Narendra Modi in Silicon Valley last year. Earlier this month the Indian government shot down Apple’s proposal to sell refurbished iPhones in India. It will be interesting to find out Apple’s plans for India. It looks like Cook may have a mixed bag of objectives for Apple’s plans in India. Here are 5 things Cook needs to do in India according to PC World, and the 5 things that should be on Cook’s to-do-list in India according to The Wall Street Journal. The bottom line for Apple is to increase and grow its market share in India. Cook has admitted that India is a huge market for Apple and the question is how will they do that? So far Apple has barely looked at the Indian market and starting now it looks like it is going to be firing on all cylinders to grab a chunk of the Indian market.

One question that is on many people’s mind is this – Is there a possibility that Apple will make its phones in India given the price points of smartphone in the country? Other smart phones in India are typically priced significantly lower than iPhones. Make in India is a strong initiative of Modi’s government and it will be interesting to see if Apple has any plans in that direction. Aligning with Modi’s Make in India campaign is a clear path to success as many India watchers have pointed out.

The news that Apple opened its first iOS app design and development accelerator in Bengaluru is not such a surprise. This is a development in the expected direction of focus and growth for Apple in India. This is a significant step and underscores how Apple wants to tap into the Indian market. It wants to tap into the developer community in India and increase the share of iOs apps that are tailored to the Indian market. Bengaluru is the startup hub of India and “we’re giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world,” said Cook in a press statement.

Cook seems to have the right mix of things to do during his first visit to India that will get the press and people talking. He is currently in Mumbai, where he visited the famous Siddhi Vinayaka Temple and apparently will visit with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. It looks like he has already met Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan and his pals.

The most important meeting for Cook is one with Modi in New Delhi, which is where all the loose ends will be tied up I suspect. And if the past trend is any indicator I suspect we can all expect to a couple of selfies of Cook and Modi. And sometimes those selfies are a good indicator if the talks were successful or not. We will have to wait and watch.

By the end of the week we will all have a better idea on how Apple plans to grown in India, which is the second largest market for mobile phones in the world.

 

VIDEO: AMITABH KANT ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND BRANDING INDIA

Amitabh Kant is the Chief Executive Officer for The National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog. We caught up with him during his recent visit to Silicon Valley and spoke to him about being an entrepreneurial bureaucrat and his branding campaigns for India for tourism and the Make in India and Startup India.

Kant joined the Indian civil service in 1980. He says he broke a lot of rules as a bureaucrat to make things happens. God’s Own Country, a successful marketing campaign for the Southern state of Kerala. This was an initiative that he launched when he was Secretary, Tourism for Kerala. The marketing campaign propelled Kerala as one of the top tourist destinations in India. He was then involved in Incredible India! a marketing campaign to help promote India as a tourist destination.

Kant is the author Branding India: An Incredible Story.