Podcast: Lisa Fruchtman Academy Award Winning Editor Part-2

LISTEN: Academy Award Winner Lisa Fruchtman Part-2

Lisa Fruchtman

Lisa Fruchtman

Lisa Fruchtman is an Academy Award winning editor  (The Right Stuff) and a filmmaker.

In Part-2 of our conversation we talk with Fruchtman on how she got started as an editor. What seduced her to continue her career as an editor at at time when there were barely any women editors in the film industry. This was a time when there were no computers and editing was a pretty intensive process involving splicing and glueing filmstrips.

She has worked on iconic films like “Apocalypse Now,” “Godfather II,” “The Right Stuff,” and  “The Children of Lesser God.”  Fruchtman also worked on a documentary about the last concert of The Grateful Dead at Winterland in San Francisco.

Fruchtman studied at the University of Chicago and worked in Canada before relocating to the San Francisco bay area and got a chance to work with local directors like Francis Ford Copolla and Phil Kaufmann. She got her break working for  feature films with  Copolla’s “Godfather II,” where Walter Murch was the editor. She then went on to work with Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” which took over 2 years to make. This was a difficult project she points out. For her next project she went after it with a vengeance she confesses. This was director Randa Haines film“The Children of Lesser God,”

In 2012 Fruchtman collaborated with her brother and made “Sweet Dreams,” a documentary about women entreprneuurs in Rwanda.

Fruchtman studied at the University of Chicago and has a background in music.


Podcast: Academy Award Winner Lisa Fruchtman on Sweet Dreams Part-1

LISTEN: Academy Award Winner Lisa Fruchtman on “Sweet Dreams”

Lisa Fruchtman

Lisa Fruchtman

Academy award winner Lisa Fruchtman talks about her documentary film “Sweet Dreams.”  This is an inspirational film is about healing, hope and reconciliation in Rwanda after the terrible genocide of 1994. We interviewed Lisa Fruchtman in San Francisco, where she spoke about the making of the film and how it all came together.

Lisa and her brother Bob Fruchtman produced and directed “Sweet Dreams,” an unusual film about drumming and ice cream shop. Yes, it sounds implausible, but that is the message of the film too. How to think out of the box and make things happen, especially in a war-torn country like Rwanda.

Lisa is a successful film editor, who has worked on such iconic films as “Godfather II,” “The Right Stuff,” “Apocalypse Now,” “Children of Lesser Gods,” and other films. “Sweet Dreams” is the first film she produced and directed.

Don’t forget to listen to Part-2 of our interview, where Fruchtman talks about how she got started as a film editor.

This interview was recorded in 2013 and aired on TV in San Francisco bay area. You can watch the video interview with Fruchtman.

Video: Shonali Bose on Margarita With A Straw & Kalki Koechlin

Shonali Bose’s  award-winning film “Margarita With A Straw,” has received praise ever since it was first shown at The Toronto Film Festival in 2014. The film is loosely based on her cousin Malini’s story. This coming-of-age film stars Kalki Koechlin, Revathy, Sayani Gupta, and Hussain Dalal.

We caught up with Shonali in San Francisco and in this video interview she talks about how Koechlin came to star in the film and how she wrote the first draft of her screenplay. This is the second feature film of Bose. Her first film “Amu” is available on YouTube. Continue reading

Podcast: Walter Murch on Editing, Technology and Films

Walter Murch on The Kamla Show

Walter Murch

Mention Walter Murch and you will get two kinds of reaction.  The first is one of instant recognition. The second one veers between “The name rings a bell.” or I don’t know who he is.”  However, if  you ask them if they have heard of Francis Ford Cappola’s The Godfather or Apocalypse Now  or George Lucas’s American Graffiti, you will get an affirmative answer. Those are all films that Murch worked on and won recognition and awards for his creative and technical contributions.

Meet  Murch, a  3 time Oscar-winning editor, sound engineer and author of In the Blink of an Eye. He is perhaps the only person to have won an Academy Award for sound and editing and this was for The English Patient directed by Anthony Minghella. Here is a list of films that Murch has worked.

A few years ago Murch was a guest at the Palo Alto Film Festival, where he spoke about the art of editing and how he uses Apple’s editing tools. That is when I got an opportunity to get a few minutes of his time to do this interview. I was curious to find out  his views on technology and how that has changed filmmaking, especially for editors. Tune in to find out what Murch has to share.

LISTEN: Academy Award Winning Editor Walter Murch 

You can also watch this interview  on Walter Murch: From the Godfather to the God Particle.

This interview was recorded in September 2011.



Video: Balma by Maati Banni

Stumbled upon this delightful track “Balma” by Maati Baani and was instantly hooked. This is a wonderful musical collage with elements of Indian classical music, Klezmer music and hot jazz.  Musicians from France, New Zealand, Spain and India are featured in this track.

Matti Baani bills itself as a global music band and is the brainchild of the husband and wife team of Nirali Kartik and Kartik Shah.


Podcast: Sukhi Singh’s Entrepreneurial Journey In Building Sukhis, A Food Company

LISTEN: Sukhi Singh On Building Sukhis, Gourmet Indian Food

Sukhi Singh with her family.

Sukhi Singh with her family. Sukhi is second from left.

Meet Sukhi Singh, a tenacious and battle hardened entrepreneur, who went from selling home-made curry pastes at Berkeley Bowl and farmer’s market to founding a multi-million dollar food company in San Francisco bay area. ”We bring Indian food to the mainstream table,” is how she describes her company. 

Singh started her entrepreneurial journey with with a blender and a bucket in her kitchen, where she conjured up different curry pastes. Today, her company Sukhis is part of the fastest growing ethnic food market in the US. Guided by her instincts and a passion for cooking Singh went through some rocky times in the first few years of her American journey.

Singh along with her husband and their 3 children migrated to the USA in 1984 and settled in the San Francisco Bay area. The couple bought a deli, but they lost it during the 1989 earthquake, which is when she switched to creating curry pastes in her home kitchen. She was 45 yrs old with 3 kids and in the red by $70,000. Times were tough for the family and sometimes they bought groceries using their credit card.Her husband asked her to get a job, but Singh stuck to her instincts and told him she was  going to make her business work. And through sheer dint and hard work she made it work.

Today, Singh’s is a multi-million dollar company that employs 120 people. Her husband and 3 children work with her. Her son designs the packaging for their food products, while her daughters take care of sales and marketing. Her husband is in charge of the company’s finance. And Singh spends time in the kitchen testing and creating new products. Sukhis food products are available in various grocery stores including Whole Foods and Costco in the US.

Singh still uses the local farmer’s market in the San Francisco Bay area as her testing ground.

Singh and her family live in the San Francisco bay area.

This interview with Singh was originally aired on TV in San Francisco bay area. You can watch the video interview on my YouTube Channel.

Silicon Valley’s Cinequest Film Festival Celebrates 25 Years

Cinequest 2015

Cinequest 2015

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Silicon Valley-based Cinquest film festival that celebrates films along with technology and innovation. This  year’s theme is “The Power of Creating,”and nearly 200 films from different parts of the world will screen at the festival.

The festival spotlights young filmmakers in multiple ways. There is the Picture The Possibilities (PPT) session that helps connect young filmmakers with scientists and technologists. And then there are two new competitions making their debut this year – High School and College film competition.

This year’s festival has an interesting line of guests like filmmaker Mike Medavoy head of Phoenix Pictures and prior that was head of TriStar, actress Rosario Dawson, film critic Anne Thompson, novelist and actor Mike Lehane and filmmaker John Boorman.

The opening night film is local filmmaker Dana Bachman’s documentary “Batkid.” This is a film about  5 year old Miles Scott and how he became the crime-fighting Batkid for a day in San Francisco in 2013. Scott was diagnosed with leukemia and Make-A-Wish Foundation worked on  making his dream come true to play a super hero for a day.

The closing night film is Victor Levin’s “9 to 5” on March 8, 2015.

India and Indian films must have been on the minds of the organizers and this year’s festival has 3 films.  They are “Miss India America,”  “Traces of Sandalwood” and “For Here or To Go,” which is by a local bay area filmmaker.

Cinequest runs from Feb 24 through March 8, 2015 in downtown San Jose. For tickets and other information please visit Cinequest’s website.

Photo credit: Cinequest

Video: Meet Dr. Vinith Misra, Technical Consultant for HBO’s Silicon Valley

In a few weeks time we will get to see the second season of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” When the show debuted last year I was a bit skeptical and unsure if I wanted to watch it. But, this was a Mike Judge show and I thoroughly enjoyed his film “Office Space.”  I  tuned into the first show of “Silicon Valley,” and not sure what to make of it.Anyway, I watched the second, third and by the fourth episode I started to enjoy the show and was amazed by the attention to technical details in the show.

Judge had spent sometime working for a tech company in Silicon Valley and that explains that attention to technical details. But, who was the technical consultant that helped Judge and his team with the algorithms and all the geeky details for Pied Piper? Turns out it was Dr. Vinith Misra, who is the technical consultant for the show. He was a student at Stanford University when he first started working with the show and is working with them for the show’s second season. Here is a trailer of the second season of “Silicon Valley,” that we can watch in a few weeks time.

Here is our interview with Dr. Vinith Misra, who shares how he got to work with the team at “Silicon Valley.”


Podcast: Pico Iyer on California, Writing, Traveling and Graham Greene


Pico Iyer Photo credit: Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books

Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer is a well-known writer and essayist. He is a prolific writer, who spends most of his time living in Japan.

In part-2 of our conversation Iyer talks about growing up in England and California, his writing style, globalism, living in Japan and his favorite author Graham Greene.

Iyer often writes about globalism, and yet lives in a secluded part of Japan where he does not watch TV or read newspapers. The  phone rings probably once a month at his home he says. Most evenings he plays ping-pong with senior Japanese people. And when he comes to his mother’s home in Santa Barbara he often makes time to stay at a Benedictine monastery near Big Sur..

Iyer wrote his first book Video Night in Kathmandu over 20 years ago and it still features as one of the top must-read books. He is the author of The Lady and the MonkFalling Off The MapAbandon and a book on Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader, who has been living in India since 1959.

Tune in to find out how Pico is able to keep his pulse on the planet and write those articles and books on globalism.

LISTEN: Pico Iyer on Writing, Traveling and Graham Greene:

This interview was recorded in 2008.

Photo credit: Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books

Podcast: Pico Iyer on Dalai Lama and Communism Part-1

Pico Iyer Photo credit: Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books

Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer is a well-known  author and essayist. In  2008 during a hectic book tour schedule Iyer graciously made time for an hour-long interview to talk about his book The Open Road: The Global Journey of the 14th Dalai Lama.  

He first met the Dalai Lama through his father Prof. Raghavan N. Iyer, who taught at Oxford and University of California in Santa Barbara. In 1960 Prof. Iyer sailed from England to India to meet with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala and thus began a long association between the two men. The book is also a homage by Iyer to his father.

How did Iyer  come up with the idea of writing a book on the Dalai Lama? What does the Dalai Lama have to say about Tibet and Tibet’s future? Is there a happy ending to the Tibet question? Tune in to find out what Pico has to say.

In Part-1 of our conversation Iyer talks about his new book, Dalai Lama, his perceptions of Buddhism and Communism, and how this book is a homage to the memory of his father.

LISTEN: Pico Iyer on Dalai Lama and Communism in China

Photo credit: Alfred A. Knopf/Vintage Books