Posted by Elena del Valle on March 1, 2017
The Defenders of Life poster
Photos by Julio Costantini © 2015 Popcorn & Friends, video clips used with permission © 2015 Popcorn & Friends
In 2015, film director Dana Ziyasheva and her four person team completed Defenders of Life, a 94-minute film in three languages, Ngabere, Spanish, and English, about underage marriage among the Ngäbe people of Costa Rica. Much of the dialogue is in Ngabere or Spanish with English subtitles. It was titled after Defenders of Life, an ancient Ngäbe sacred song celebrating the tribe's respect for and symbiotic relationship with nature, ancestors and fertility. The film is available exclusively at Flix Premiere, an online video on demand service. Scroll down to watch video clips from the movie with subtitles.
Defenders of Life, a fiction film about real life issues, was born out of the real-life friendship between Carmen, a Ngäbe matriarch, and the director while she was a guest at Carmen's house. During that time they discussed Carmen's life and her hopes and fears for her daughters and granddaughters. Much of the film was shot on Ngäbe land and featuring Ngäbe.
“We both wanted to give voice to the voiceless, leaving a proud testimony of her ancient civilization under threat and show the place and challenges of women in this culture,” Ziyasheva said in a press release. “We both wanted it to be aesthetic and allegorical. Carmen's story is my story too. I was afraid to break away from my society in defiance of the decision-makers of my country. I was equally afraid to leave the comfort and security of the United Nations. It doesn't matter how good or bad a life situation is, people fear the unknown. To make audiences around the world relate to a story of an indigenous woman lost in a rainforest was my goal as film director in this project.”
Defenders of Life tells the story of Esmeralda, a Ngäbe indigenous girl who lives on a reservation in Costa Rica. Esmeralda's grandmother Carmen raises her alone because the girl's mother was murdered by her jealous boyfriend. In the movie, as in real life, when a Ngäbe girl reaches puberty, she becomes eligible for marriage, as is the custom of the tribe. When the village elder asks for her hand in marriage, Carmen must decide whether Esmeralda should follow in the footsteps of Ngäbe women or break away from the tradition and long term from the community.
During the filming of Defenders of Life
"We had a script, but since the Ngäbe actors playing their own roles were all non-professionals, most of whom don't know how to read, we relied a lot on rehearsals and improvisation. I wanted the film to go beyond the ethnographic clichés. We show that Ngäbes are multi-layered, with contradictions, and made of good things and bad things like everyone else. But most of all, they are authentic, true to themselves and they don't get intimidated by outside pressure," said Ziyasheva.
In the film, Pamela, an anthropologist from the University of Costa Rica, and her son Feb, an American tween, advocate different approaches to the dilemma of an indigenous people's society. Through his friendship with Esmeralda, Feb becomes part of tribal dynamic, while well-meaning Pamela aims to force her notion of development on the Ngäbe. Most of the filming took place in the indigenous Ngäbe community of La Casona in Southern Costa Rica, near the border with Panama, and a little bit in San Jose, the Costa Rican capital.
The film, produced by Popcorn & Friends, was recognized with award at Mostra Amazonas de Cinema, Brazil; Burbank International Film Festival, California; Viva! Latino Film Festival NYC Int'l, New York City; Madrid International Film Festival 2016; Love International Children Film Festival, California; International Film Festival for Peace, Inspiration and Equality, Indonesia; Global Independent Film Awards, online; and Depth of Field International Film Festival, online.
"To make this crazy guerilla-style project possible, I was lucky to assemble a unique international team of passionate film professionals from France, Brazil, Cuba and Costa Rica. They were all 100 percent dedicated to the idea of living and working with the Ngäbe in the rain forest in order to make this film, no matter the hardships, budget constraints or physical risks," said Igor Darbo, producer, by email via the film's publicist. "Snakes were never too far, both in the story and on set! Of course it also took time to gain the Ngabe's trust, especially the men's and after visiting the community multiple times and taking part in their festivals and assemblies, I develop a bond with Don Francisco, the elder leader who then agreed to play the old man marrying the teenage girl in the film. That bond was the mirror of Dana's relationship with Dona Carmen, the protagonist and that's what made the film possible. As a producer, I am extremely proud that Defenders of Life was able to touch the heart of people on all continents, but most of all of the enthusiastic reception it got from the Ngäbe themselves."
Ziyasheva is an award-winning author, scriptwriter and film director from Kazakhstan. She has 25 years of field experience as a journalist. As adviser for Communication and Information of the United Nations she has traveled from Iraq to China and Central America. In 2016, her debut novel Shock was published in France.
Popcorn & Friends is a boutique production company founded in March 2012 by Darbo to produce “highly creative international films that are both entertaining and meaningful.” After winning the Best Co-Production Project award at the Shanghai International Film Festival for its high-concept Chinese treasure hunt The Dragon Angel, Popcorn & Friends produced Defenders of Life.
Between 200,000 and 250,000 Ngäbe people live on both sides of the border between Panama and Costa Rica. The community in the film is about 1,500 people large in Southern Costa Rica. According to the film producers, the Ngäbe (Ngabere is their language) are torn between tradition and assimilation into the modern society. Their youth start to slowly lose command of their native idioms and follow traditions less while education in Spanish and work opportunities in the city draw them further away from their ancient roots.
Posted by Elena del Valle on February 21, 2017
Julie Cottineau, CEO, BrandTwist
A podcast interview with Julie Cottineau, CEO, BrandTwist, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, she discusses how to twist your brand and grow your business with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.
Julie is also founder of BrandTwist and Brand School Online, a branding program for entrepreneurs, non profits and small businesses. Prior to founding her company Julie spent five years as vice president of Brand for Virgin North America and worked closely with Sir Richard Branson and at Interbrand and Grey global.
She is the author of Twist: How Fresh Perspectives Build Breakthrough Brands published in 2016. She has been an adjunct professor of marketing at Cornell and Columbia universities. Her own life has been filled with twists which have taken her from her home town of Boston to the University of Pennsylvania, and then from New York to Paris, and back again. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her French husband and two wonderful children.
Listeners of the HispanicMPR.com podcast have the opportunity to apply (subject to approval) for a complimentary one hour Brand Health Check personalized strategy session with insight on "how your brand can work harder to grow your business, a $350 value," courtesy of BrandTwist.
To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Julie Cottineau” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the February 2017 section of the podcast archive.
Posted by Elena del Valle on February 8, 2017
By Jay Gronlund,
President, The Pathfinder Group
Jay Gronlund, president, The Pathfinder Group
Photo: The Pathfinder Group
Technology has transformed our world into a data obsessive circus where information is unbelievably accessible, connectivity is constant, and unpredictable events always surprise and engulf us. Call this extreme clutter and volatility. With so much information and multi-tasking surrounding us, it has become a challenge to restore simplicity, clarity and focus in our communications. These excessive conditions provide the main impetus for the re-emergence of storytelling for inspiring, engaging and connecting to others.
Read the entire The Power of Storytelling for Brand Marketing and Communications
Posted by Elena del Valle on February 6, 2017
Michael Welp, Ph.D., co-founder, White Men As Full Diversity Partners
Photo: White Men As Full Diversity Partners
A podcast interview with Michael Welp, Ph.D., co-founder, White Men As Full Diversity Partners, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, he discusses how workplace discrimination equals a $64 billion loss with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.
Michael is the author of Four Days to Change. In 1990, he journeyed to post-Apartheid South Africa, where he took a proactive role with non-profit Outward Bound while leading team-building projects within a dozen South African corporations. For over two decades, Michael has worked extensively with Fortune 500 company leadership to build a culture where diversity flourishes and inclusion is the order of the day.
To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Michael Welp, PhD” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the February 2017 section of the podcast archive.
Posted by Elena del Valle on February 2, 2017
I Am Not a Number
Photos: Second Story Press
Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ed.D.'s interest in her family’s past and her commitment to teaching about Indigenous issues through literature drew her to co-write her first children’s book. It took her and Kathy Kacer three years to write I Am Not a Number (Second Story Press, $18.95), the true and personal story of Irene Couchie Dupuis, her grandmother, who was taken from her Nipissing First Nation’s family and community at a young age to live in a residential school in the late 1920s in Canada. They wrote the easy to read lovingly illustrated book for school-age children (ages seven and up) to learn about the legacy of the Indian Residential School System (known as boarding schools in the United States). According to the author, it has also appealed to “educators (Grades 2-12), librarians, families, and community organizations interested in reading stories about true history, and supporting children and youth to develop critical literacy skills to engage in important, meaningful discussions about the injustices that have and are currently occurring to Indigenous peoples.” In it, they share her grandmother's story, including the hardships and verbal and corporal punishment she and other children endured at the hands of the nuns and within the system.
“When I was growing up, we didn’t talk much about the history and injustices in school programming,” Dupuis said by email when asked about the Nipissing First Nation. “I learned about my culture and community values, like having respect for myself and others, while working a part-time job (as a youth) at a local restaurant called the Teepee Café owned by Dot Beaucage-Kennedy. It was a place where everyone gathered, including storytellers, Elders/knowledge keepers, grandmothers/grandfathers, artists (traditional/contemporary), language speakers, and families. Times have changed. We are now seeing these opportunities expand into the school systems. I’m really proud of the opportunities that are emerging, especially for children and youth, that place an emphasis on historical/contemporary realities, culture, traditions, and values, including efforts to revitalize the Ojibwe language and culture.”
The 32-page hardcover book was published in 2016. Color illustrated by Gillian Newland the book also includes several black and white family photos. The people who were involved in the abuse were never punished, nor did they apologize for the wrongdoings in her granny’s case, Dupuis explained.
Jenny Kay Dupuis, Ed.D., co-author, I Am Not a Number
When asked why she wrote the book Dupuis replied, “Listening to the stories of my family and community history led me to write I Am Not a Number. My granny shared with me her story at a time when I felt that she wanted to share her truth. I held onto her story for years, waiting for the right time to share it. While I was working in the field of Indigenous education, I found there weren’t any children’s picture books that focused on the Residential School System through the lens of an Indigenous family. So I wanted to reach out to young people through storytelling and literature to ensure they hear true stories about the legacy of forced assimilation; where Indigenous children were taken from their families/home communities and sent to residential schools.
In addition, I also wanted to use literature as a means to encourage educators, families, and community groups to begin to facilitate deep conversations, with young people and each other, about the legislation and policies that have impacted (and still impact) Indigenous peoples. I’m really pleased at the response. So far, educators, community groups, and families have been in contact via social media sharing how they have used the book since its release. For instance, Luke Bramer, a performing arts teacher used the book to inspire his junior level/ freshman high school students to learn about the residential school system and create a puppet theatre performance, using breathing puppets to retell my granny’s story. Other teachers have been using activities like ‘role on the wall’ to introduce the topic of residential schools and begin to discuss topics like genocide, the impacts of colonialism, oppression, assimilation, etc. Families have read the book with their young children, going through a 'picture walk' to stimulate interest. Additionally, community organizations, like in Hamilton ON (Canada), are in the midst of hosting (grassroots-led) book launches and readings that also feature youth artwork and other learning inspired by the book I Am Not a Number.”
Kathy Kacer, co-author, I Am Not a Number
The Nipissing First Nation lives on the shores of Lake Nipissing in Northern Ontario, Canada. There is a registered band membership of approximately 2,500 persons with about 1,000 residing on reserve. Dupuis is of Anishinaabe and Ojibway ancestry and a member of Nipissing First Nation. The Toronto resident is an educator, researcher, artist, and speaker who works full-time supporting the advancement of Indigenous education.
Kacer is known for her children’s books about the Holocaust, including The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser and The Magician of Auschwitz. A former psychologist, she now travels the globe speaking to children and adults about her books. Newland works in watercolor, ink, and pencils. She finds most of her inspiration to draw outside of her studio, and can sometimes be found sketching fellow customers at a coffee shop. She is the illustrator of The Magician of Auschwitz among other books. All three women live in Toronto.
Click to buy I Am Not a Number
Posted by Elena del Valle on January 23, 2017
Adrian LaTrace, CEO, Boyd Industries
Photo: Boyd Industries
A podcast interview with Adrian LaTrace, CEO, Boyd Industries, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, he discusses transforming a small business to meet evolving market demands with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.
Adrian arrived at Boyd Industries with more than 25 years of leadership in companies ranging from start-ups to large public corporations in the healthcare, renewable energy, and aerospace industries. He relies on his experience in developing high-performance organizations to support Boyd's goals and provide leadership for the dental equipment needs of the future.
To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Adrian LaTrace” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the January 2017 section of the podcast archive.
Posted by Elena del Valle on January 19, 2017
The Performance Principle
After Making It Happen, his first non fiction title, was published, Mackenzie Kyle, managing partner for Advisory Services in British Columbia, Canada for MNP, a consulting and accounting firm, he discovered he liked to write and wanted to work on another one. As a result The Performance Principle A Practical Guide to Understanding Motivation in the Modern Workplace (Figure 1 Publishing, $21), was published in 2016. It took four years from his first typed page until it appeared in print.
Written in the form of a novel The Performance Principle features the story of Will Campbell, a newly promoted executive of a firm which has fallen on hard times. Over the course of several tumultuous months, Campbell and his team learn the principles of performance management and the powerful results it can deliver. Kyle's target audience? Anyone tasked with managing people, from people supervising one other person, to senior managers responsible for large teams. He believes that the ideas in the book are helpful for individuals interested in working more effectively as part of a team; that it can help them to better understand their own motivations, and work more effectively with other teams members.
“My motivation was really two-fold,” Kyle said by email when asked what prompted him to write the second title. “I was looking for an alternative way to communicate a number of ideas around performance management, and I’d had good success with this approach with my previous book (which dealt with project management.). The second reason was fairly personal – I like the writing process, and tackling The Performance Principle was an excuse to do something work-related, that also allowed me to do some creative writing."
The new book is a sequel to the first book, sharing most of the same characters, who a number of years later are facing some new challenges. The author explained that there is sufficient information about the back story in the new book so it is not necessary to read the first book. At the same time, his approach was similar in both books. The protagonist (Campbell) is the focal point for uncovering the underlying issues, and his sage (his mother-in-law) is the character that brings the ideas about performance management to the team. Kyle wrote the story to help the reader walk through the implementation of the ideas in a (relatively) realistic situation.
When asked why he wrote it in the form of a novel he replied, “I’ve found that wrapping a story around a set of ideas can be a more interesting (some would only go as far as ‘less painful’) way of getting those ideas across. It also provides some context in which people can ‘see’ the ideas in action. I really enjoy the creative writing process, and the challenge of putting the ideas into a story or case study was something I found to be personally interesting (and enjoyable). I keep looking for that job ad for a ‘full time novelist’ but so far haven’t seen it.”
Mackenzie Kyle, author, The Performance Principle
“While I don’t address introverts and extroverts specifically as personality types in the book, I do talk about the reality that different people find different things motivating (or punishing), and how work with that,” the author said when in response to a question about the relevance introvert and extrovert personalities have on the topic. “Recognizing these differences is key to working effectively with a team, and essential for a manager. For example, someone we characterize as an extrovert might find public recognition very rewarding for doing a good job on a particular task; someone we might call an introvert would actually find being singled out in front of the group to be punishing. As a result, they might avoid doing whatever it is that gets them that recognition, even if it’s not the performance we’re looking for.
One caveat though, and that is to avoid pigeonholing people into one category or another. For example, very few are pure extroverts or pure introverts. Instead, they will usually lean toward one side, but have characteristics of the other. This means everyone needs to be treated as an individual when determining what he or she find motivating. Broad generalizations can result in missing the mark, and ultimately less effective performance.”
Kyle has more than 25 years of experience in operations improvement and restructuring, and has provided specific assistance in everything from strategic planning to performance management to managing projects. He has worked in manufacturing, transportation, telecommunications, and the public sector, and internationally in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Click to buy The Performance Principle
Posted by Elena del Valle on January 9, 2017
Eliza Kubarska, filmmaker, Walking Under Water
Photo: David Kaszlikowski/Vertical Vision Film Studio
A podcast interview with filmmaker Eliza Kubarska is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, she discusses her film Walking on Water about the Badjao people in Borneo (available on the World Channel website:http://worldchannel.org/programs/episode/dw-s1-111-walking-under-water/) with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.
Eliza, a Polish alpinist and traveler, specializes in adventure film making and extreme location work. In 2007, she set up her own film company Vertical Vision Film Studio, where she produced her first multi-awarded feature documentary, What Happened on Pam Island, also known as Mountain Love Story. In 2014, Walking Under Water, her next documentary was awarded Hot Docs Jury Prize and John Schlesinger Award at Palm Springs Film Festival.
In her newest film K2 - Touching the Sky, Eliza, together with an international group of grown-up children of acclaimed mountain climbers, sets out on an expedition to reach K2 base camp, the burial place for those who lost their lives on K2 in the summer of 1986.
To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Eliza Kubarska” and click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home from the RSS feed. Some software will not allow flash, which may be necessary for the play button and podcast player. If that is your case, you will need to download the file to play it. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the January 2017 section of the podcast archive.
Posted by Elena del Valle on January 3, 2017
What We Can Learn
By Jay Gronlund,
President, The Pathfinder Group
Jay Gronlund, president, The Pathfinder Group
Photo: The Pathfinder Group
Without doubt, Donald Trump’s election victory was a shock to most people, especially pollsters, the news media and those living in urban centers across the country. In some ways, it was a contest of character between the two most unfavorably perceived presidential candidates in history. However, from a branding perspective, the compelling reasons behind each vote was more about what each candidate stood for. And this is what branding is all about – making promises that resonate with people’s intense emotional desires, to connect with them.
Click to read the entire article Positioning the Trump Brand for Victory – What We Can Learn