Kate Beckinsale: Tom Bennett Is “Just Heaven”

What a please surprise to see this tweet from actor Tom Bennett, who plays Sir James Martin, a somewhat of a daft and nice chap in Whit Stillman’s film Love & Friendship. Bennett does a superb job in the film.

This tweet relates to an interview I did with Kate Beckinsale, where she described Bennett as “just heaven.” Thank you to Mrs. Bennett for creating this animated gif.

Check back for an audio interview with filmmaker Whitman, where he talks at length about how he got Bennett to be part of Love & Friendship.

NO PODCAST INTERVIEWS THIS WEEK

Quick note to let you know there will be no podcast interviews this week. Will be back next week with a new podcast interview. You can listen and download our podcast interviews from our website, iTunes and some of them are available on our YouTube channel.

If you like what you hear, do share and leave a comment or send your feedback. It is always fantastic when we hear from you. It makes the day so much better and happier. Thank you.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

 

PODCAST: LAWRENCE KASDAN ON STAR WARS, GEORGE LUCAS AND FILMS

Lawrence Kasdan

Lawrence Kasdan

Lawrence Kasdan is a writer, producer and director. He is the co-writer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens that opened today in the US.  Kasdan c0-wrote other Star Wars films.

He wrote and directed The Big Chill. Earlier this year Kasdan was recognized for his work by Silicon Valley’s Cinequest Film Festival, which ia where we got to speak to him about Star Wars, George Lucas and writing screenplays.

I wondered what winning an award meant to Kasdan.  “So, when there is an external sign that someone values what you have done …it is a nice relief from a normal, lonely process,” he responded. That answer by Kasdan reminds you that we often forget that writing is a lonely and demanding process.

LISTEN TO LAWRENCE KASDAN ON STAR WARS, GEORGE LUCAS AND FILMS

There is an interesting story of how Kasdan became a writer and how Arthur Miller “the playwright” of the day as he puts it influenced his decision  to go to University of Michigan (U of MI). Kasdan joined U of MI  to study under Professor Kenneth Thorpe Rowe, who was Miller’s teacher.

Kasdan has worked extensively with George Lucas. Why were Lucas and Steven Spielberg drawn to Kasdan’s writings? They both read Continental Divide and probably responded to the slightly Hawksian relationship between the heroine and the leading man he says. When Lucas and Spielberg read the script they wanted that tone, which  was a hallmark of Howard Hawks films points out Kasdan.

Tune in to find out what Kasdan has to say about writing for films, Star Wars, George Lucas and if he is an iPhone or an Android user.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIDEO: TAVA INDIAN KITCHEN’S HASNAIN ZAIDI

 

Meet San Francisco Bay area’s Tava India Kitchen’s Hasnain Zaidi, Chief Operating Officer. In this interview Zaidi shares the back story of how Tava was born and what kind of food they serve. We also find out if they were inspired by the success of Chipotle, the restaurant chain that serves Mexican food.

Tava is a casual restaurant chain that serves Indian food, and is often compared to Chipotle. Vijay Brihmadesam, Jason Pate and Zaidi are the founders of the restaurant chain. All three of them met while studying at Duke University.

The idea for starting Tava was born on a flight when Brihmadesam and Pate got talking about food options in the Bay area, especially Indian food. They roped in Zaidi and started working on their concept and also worked at Chipotle to get hands-on experience of working in a restaurant. They decided to start the restaurant in San Francisco Bay area rather than the East Coast, which is where all three of them were working. In 2012 they started their first restaurant in Palo Alto and now have a branch is San Francisco and San Jose. Earlier this year Tava raised $4.5 million in Series A funding.

This interview was aired on TV in San Francisco Bay area.

 

VIDEO: PICO IYER ON IRAN AND ASGHAR FARHADI’s FILMS

Pico Iyer talks about Iran and Asghar Farhadi’s film. The question stemmed from an article Iyer wrote on this topic.

This is part of an extended and free ranging interview with Iyer that we recorded in San Francisco. Stay tuned for that interview. We will post it on our YouTube channel.

VIDEO: FILMMAKER MAYA FORBES ON INFINITELY POLAR BEAR

 

Filmmaker Maya Forbes talks about the making of her debut film Inifintely Polar Bear. The film is based on her father, who was manic depressive. It is not easy to make a film based on your family, and yet Frobes succeeds in making a film that touches you and helps you realize how children have the capacity and intelligence to understand and deal with mental illness. Often, we tend to underestimate the emotional intelligence of children in such matters.

Forbes wrote and directed the film that stars Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana. Ruffalor plays the father’s role and is brilliant as a loving and troubled man, who learns to take care of his children. And sometimes his children take care of him when he hits those rough patches. Saldana plays the role of the mother, who decides to go back to school and get a MBA degree from Columbia University to improve her career prospects. As the breadwinner of the family, she makes the tough decision to leave her two young daughter’s in her former husband’s care, while she gets her degree.

Forbes did not want to make a heavy film on mental illness. This is a film that mixes the fun and happy times the family experiences, along with the rough patches they hit every now and then. Through the film you understand and get a better picture of what it takes for a family to come together and learn to live.

In this interview with Forbes she takes us behind the scnes and shares how and why she made Infinitely Polar Bear that takes a compassionate look at mental illness and how it impacts a family. We talked to her about the making of the film, her father, and the initial help and support she got from filmmaker JJ Abrams. We also wanted to find out what the title Infinitely Polar Bear means, and found out the answer. The film is also a family affair of sorts. Her daughter acts in the film, her husband helped produce the film, her mother helped with sharing stories about their father and her sister China Forbes of Pink Maritini created a track for the film.

Infiniitely Polar Bear releasesd on June 26, 2014 in San Francisco bay area.

A longer version of this interiew was aired on TV in San Francisco bay area and in Cambridge, MA.

  • Title: INFINITELY POLAR BEAR
  • Running Time: 88 minutes
  • Status: Released
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: FAMILY

San Francisco Is Obsessed With Food?

Taj Campton, San Francisco

Taj Campton, San Francisco

With a title like this “San Francisco is obsessed with food and that is an understatement,” how can you not read the article? This was not published in a local San Francisco bay area paper, but in the Washington Post and it brought back memories of a conversation I had with a chef in Manhattan. This chef worked in a Michelin rated restaurant and was totally taken aback when I mentioned that on average I had access to better food in San Francisco bay area when compared to Manhattan. He, of course, disagreed with my point of view and made a case on why Manhattan was “the place” for food lovers.  I digressed, Back to the WaPo article.

Tom Sietsema captures San Francisco Bay area’s obsession with food in his WaPo article.He begins and ends his culinary journey with the airport that offers an interesteting selection of food, which I am sad to report is not the case with the airports in New York city when I was last there.

Sietsema mentions a mix of well-known restaurants, cafes and the shops in Ferry Building in San Francisco and a couple in Berkeley and Alamdea area. It would have been nice if he had included places in the Mission, Sunset and Richmod districts.  All these places have some hidden gems and some of them are reasonably priced.

Besides the restaurans and food trucks, the various farmers markets are respobsible for fuelling or rekindling our interest in food for folks in the bay area. This constant and reliable supply of fresh fruits and vegetables through out the year has spoilt all a bit and that might also explain our obsession with food. Oh! I forgot our obsession with artisenal bread and baked goods.

By the way, if you just have a few hours in San Francisco you may want to head to the bottom of Market Street and into the Ferry Building , where you will discover a cornocoupia of sorts of food. This is where you will find Blue Bottle Coffee, Acme Bread, Cowgirl Creamery, Straus Ice Cream, Humphry Slocombe and much, much more.

Take a look at the bounty that we see in our local farmer’s market in the bay area.

 

Zenefits Gets $500 Million In Latest Round Of Funding With A Valuation of $4.5 Billion

237991v6-max-450x450Manage and automate all of your HR systems—online, in one place—for free is the tagline for Zenefits, a San Francisco based company founded by Parker Conrad and Laks Srini in May 2013. And within a short span of two years the company has raised multiple rounds of funding totaling $581 million that includes the new round of funding it announced today.

Zenefits announced it has raised $500 million in its Series C round of funding. And the post-money valuation for Zeneifts is $4.5 billion. Fidelity Research and Management company  and TPG lead the latest round of investments that included Insight Venture Partners, Founders Fund, Khosla Ventures, and Ashton Kutcher’s and Guy Oseary’s Sound Ventures. Other previous investors include  Andreessen Horowitz and Institutional Venture Partners (IVP). And here is a surprise – actor and musician Jared Leto, who was introduced to Zenefits by Aaron Levie of Box. Leto invested in Series B round of funding.

So, what exactly does Zenefits do? It is a free, cloud-based HR automation platform that automates all the paperwork related to Human Resources (HR) work. This includes the whole nine yards from compliance to payroll, health insurance and other associated employee benefits. The company has over 10,000 small and medium scale clients in different verticals across the USA. Managing HR related paperwork is one of the central challenges for many small and medium sized companies. And Zenefits with its “unusual business model is upsetting the brokerage industry, frustrating regulators and giving investors a reason to bet big,” writes the Wall Street Journal.

Since its founding 2 years ago Zenefits has become one of the fastest growing software companies according to various media reports. The company’s valuation has grown 9-fold in less than a year and it is hiring 150 people per month reports Fortune. With this new round of funding you can expect to see the company ramp up its operations across the USA.

 

 

Steve Wozniak and Stan Lee Teaming Up To Bring Silicon Valley’s Comic-Con

Comic-Con

Comic-Con

Steve Wozniak has joined hands with Stan Lee to launch Silicon Valley Comic-Con 2016. And the announcement has created a lot of buzz and you don’t have to look into your crystal ball to predict that this will be a successful event.

“I’m teaming up with friends to make this happen because I want to give Silicon Valley it’s very own kind of Comic Con where everyone can have fun enjoying what they love,” Wozniak wrote on the event’s website. “There are lots of fans like me in San Francisco and the Valley, and I’m excited that now we’ll have a Comic Con with our very own flavor.”

Wozniak is the co-founder of Apple Inc. Lee is the legendary figure associated with co-creating Marvel super heroes like Spider-Man, The Hulk and Iron Man. You can follow Wozniak and  Lee on Twitter

Silicon Valley’s first Comic-Con will be at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose on March 19-20, 2016.

The first Comic-Con was held in San Diego in 1970. Today, it is a 4-day event attended by  comic fans, entertainers, filmmakers, gamers and others.   Besides San Diego, there are other places that host their own Comic-Con, including one in India.