VIDEO: BRIAN BOWE ON GILROY GARLIC FESTIVAL JULY 24-26, 2015

 

Garlic. The smell of stinking rose will tickle your nose as you travel south on Highlway 101 from San Jose to Gilroy. Located about 25 kilometers from San Jose, Gilroy is often described as the “Garlic Capital of the World.” And it comes as a surprise to many people when they discover that Gilroy is part of Santa Clara county, which is home to many Silicon Valley hi-tech companies. Agrictulture and farming was a big part of Santa Clara county before hi-tech companies made this “Valley of Heart’s Delight” their home. Gilroy located on the southern corner of Santa Clara county continues to preserve some of that agricultural tradition to this day.

Every year for 3 days the Gilroy Garlic Festival draws thousands of people to the event that celebrates garlic in many different forms from ice-cream to wine to fries and much more. The money collected from the festival is then distributed to various charities in the area.

What is in store for this year’s 37th Gilroy Garlic Festival,? How did Gilroy become the “Garlic Capital of the World?” We spoke with Brian Bowe, execuitve director of Gilroy Garlic Festival to find out. Tune in to find out what he has to say.

This year’s Gilroy Garlic Festival is from July 24-26, 2015. For tickets and information please visit here.

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VIDEO: ZIA OF CLIPMINE ON VIDEO TAGGING & ANNOTATION

Meet Zia Syed, founder and CEO of ClipMine, a Mountain View startup. Syed is an ex-Googler, who spent 10 years at Google and then decided to peel off and do his own thing. Videos are what interests Syed and the focus of his startup is to index YouTube videos. “We want to personalize the video watching experience,” says Syed. He got the idea for his startup from his own experience on YouTube, which he often found frustrating and time consuming. All he wanted to do is go to that part of the video that was of interest to him. And, that was often not possible because of the lack of useful tagging and annotations on those video clips.

So, how is Clipmine indexing and personalizing the video watching experience?  Clipmine does this by annotating the videos manually or automatically through their platform. Watch, search and tag videos is their goal he spoints out. “Videos are basically blobs or blackboxes, and what we are doing is allowing people to annotate videos,” says Syed. Whey you tag videos what it does is help the end-user with a table of contents and help them scrub and go to that part of the video that interests them. Discovery of content becomes a lot easier points out Syed.  YouTube does allow for tagging and annotationing videos for those who have YouTube accounts. And what ClipMine does is allow anyone to tag YouTube videos he points out.

ClipMine raised $2.6 million as seed money an unveiled its product in the first week of July. So, what keeps Syed awake at nights? Tune in to find out what he has to say.

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

 

REDDIT, REDDIT AND REDDIT

Reddit

Reddit

Reddit, Reddit, Reddit – that is what dominated my social network timeline last week. Reddit – The Front Page of the Internet was now suddently the front page of social media networks and cable/TV news around the world. It all started when Victorial Taylor one of the editors was let go from Reddit, a San Francisco-based online community site. Users revolted when they heard about Taylor. An upshot of this uprising resulted in parts of Reddit being shut down. About 300 individual discussion areas of Reddit were shut down according to a report in The New York Times.

The shutdown of this popular online community site was just the tip of the iceberg. It culminated in Ellen Pao, the interim CEO  stepping down from her post. Pao became the interim CEO when the previous CEO Yishan Wong resigned in November 2014.  Steve Huffman one of the co-founders is back as CEO of the beleagured company. You can read more about it here and here.

In 2014 Reddit raised $50 million in a new round of funding. All eyes are on Huffman to see how and in which direction he is going to steer this ship that just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

FILM NOTES: MATHEW HEINEMAN’S CARTEL LAND

Matthew Heineman’s Cartel Land is an intense, immersive, unsettling and at times nerve-wracking film that takes you into the center of Mexican drug cartels. Heinemann shows us how citizens in Mexico and the US are waging a war of their own to control the violent and corrupt consequences of this drug war. The lack of effective government action has led them down this brutal path is the explanation offered by the vigilante groups on either side of the US-Mexico border.

Heinemann sets up the film by showing how meth is prepared on the Mexican side by drug cartels. We learnt to make this from the Americans points out a member of the drug cartel. This meth is then sent across the border to the US. Economic hardships drive them to adopt this path explains another cartel member. Heinemann proceeds to unpack the narrative by showing two different vigilante groups in the US and Mexico, who have taken it upon themselves to deal with the drug cartels.

Meet Tim “Nailer” Foley, who leads a  small band of armed vigilantes in Arizona to stop drug smuggling across the border. Foley is a veteran, who explains how the economic downturn in 2008 led to loss of his home and job. And when he went looking for a job they were all taken by illegal immigrants he points out. Stop human trafficking across the border is the second objective of Foley’s group.

Over on the Mexican side – Heinemann takes us to the western state of Michoacán and introduces us to the colorful and flamboyant Dr. Jose Mireles, who heads Autodefensas, a local vigilante group. It is this strand of the film that becomes the central focus and at times leaves you with some unanswered questions. The vigilantes score quite a few victories and then their focus is derailed and differences within the group arise. We witness the rise and fall of Dr. Mireles and how unexpected changes take the narrative to a different trajectory that leaves you with more questions than answers.

Cartel Land  can be a bit confusing at times, but  that does not detract you from the narrative, which is gripping. Yes, you will have unanswered questions and will end up Googling to find out more. The film is worth watching because it takes you into the messy, sad and unintended consequences of the drug wars on either side of the US-Mexico border.

Cartel Land released on Friday, July 10, 2015 in San Francisco  and Friday, July 17, 2015 in San Jose.

Heinemann is on Twitter.

  • Title: CARTEL LAND
  • Running Time: 98 minutes
  • Status: Releasing July 10, 2015
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Documentary

VIDEO: CATLIN POWERS ON SOLAR POWER & GLOBAL ENERGY DEFICIENCY

Meet Catlin Powers, who is passionate about harnessing the sun as clean fuel for millions of energy deficient communities around the world. Imagine if you had to walk for miles every morning to collect fuel for your basic cooking needs. I know my grandmother did that in the Indian Himalayas where she lived. But that was in the 20thc, and you would think things would have improved in the last fe decades. But, it has not. Everyday millions of people do just that on a daily basis and many of them tend to be women and young girls. Many face violence and other threats when they go out to collect their fuel. Often, the fuel they use tends to cause lot of pollution and health problems as Powers discovered. Energy deficiency is a real and challenging problem for millions of people around the world.

During her sophomore year Powers went to Qinghai in the Chinese Himalayas to study climate change. She went to live with the nomads in this region and discovered they used yak dung as their cooking fuel. Thick smoke filled the tent when they started their cooking process and that caught Power’s insterest and she became consumed with this energy deficieny challenge for the next few year. It made her wonder about what kind of health problems could arise from cooking this way. She dropped out of college and spent her time collecting information and data on this problem. Powers discovered serious health and economic risks from using this kind of fuel. Carbon monoxide poisioning and  cognitive deficiency were some of the health problems she uncovered among the nomadic family in this region. Lack of access to clean cooking fuel is not a problem just in this part of China, but for 3 billion people around the world.

The idea for building a solar cooker came to Powers via one of the members of the community, who mentioned that a long time ago he got a solar cooker that was no longer works. She teamed up with Scott Frank, an engineer from MIT, who happened to spending time in Qinghai around the same time. They founded One Earth Designs and spent years working on creating a solar cooker that would work in this mountainous region of China. Powers also found time to finish her undergraduate degree and get a PhD from Harvard while she was working with Frank to build their solar cooker. After 54 iterations they got heir product right and introduced it in the market in 2013. Initiallly, they used a barter system to sell their product to the Chinese in Qinghai region.

Sol Source is the name of their parabolic solar cooker, which Powers describes as “an autonomous energy platform.” The cooker not only cooks food, but also helps heat water and they are extending the functionality and working on building batteries to store energy created through their solar concentrator.

One Earth Designs is headquartered in Hong Kong. So far they have raised $1.2 million in funding and their product is available in 38 countries.

Chef Jose Andres and his team making tacos using Sol Source at BiteSV conference.

Jose Andres & Team Cooking on  Sol Source

Jose Andres & Team Cooking on Sol Source

Photo courtesy: Octogon

PODCAST: ASIF KAPADIA ON HIS OSCAR NOMINATED DOCUMENTARY “AMY”

Asif KapadiaAsif Kapadia

Asif Kapadia

Who was Amy Winehouse? Yes, we all know she was a talented and a 6-time Grammy winning British musician, who died tragically at the age of 27. But, who was the real Amy Wineshouse? How did she die and how did this happen in this day and age in London? These were some of the questions that director Asif Kapadia had in his mind and wanted to find the answers to them. He found the answer to his questions in Amy’s diary and the lyrics of her songs. Kapadia says he wanted to reveal the Amy Winehouse that nobody knew. The result is a brilliant and riveting documentary called Amy told in the singer’s own voice with help from her family, friends and agents.

This is not the Winehouse we knew. This is not the Winehouse that we got to see or read about on TV and magazines. This is a very different Winehouse, who was at once shy in front of camera and confident singing in front of an audience. She was nervous about becoming famous.  In the film we see the slow unravelling of a talented singer and an abandoned child in search of love. Love is the theme Kapadia explores in the film, and love is the theme that Wineshouse explores in her songs. If I have to sum up the film it is about love says Kapadia in an interview I did with him in San Francisco.

We spoke to Kapadia about the making of Amy, his editor Chris King and his fascination with eyes. And since Kapadia mentioned Bollywood, we asked him about Irrfan Khan and his plans to make a film with him. And, I did ask Kapadia about Amy being shortlisted for an Oscar, and he offered an interesting answer to that question. Amy is one of the five documentary films shortlisted for the 2016 Oscars and has a strong chance of winning the award.

LISTEN TO ASIF KAPADIA ON “AMY”

Amy is my Bollywood film says Kapadia. He explains how in the beginning he drove around London listening to Wineshouse’s music in his car. And then at some point he started to read the lyrics of her songs and had a  lightbulb moment. “This is for me a Bollywood film. This is a musical, where the songs are the narrative. Amy is the most eloquent in her song writing,” he says. Music then forms the spine of Kapadia’s narrative on Winehouse.

Kapadia interviewed over a 100 people for the film. He ended up  using audio interviews from about 23-25 people. He combined the audio interviews with video footage of Winehouse from her friends, and the interviews that she gave along with the lyrics of her songs. initially Amy was about 4 hours long. They eventually trimmed the film down to 2 hours and 8 minutes.

Kapadia takes a middle path in the film. He lays out all the information and leaves it to his audience to judge where they stand vis-a-vis Winehouse, a talented artist, who was manic depressive and an addict. Like many of the viewers who have seen the film you might find yourself wanting to reach out and tell Amy “No, don’t do that” or “Don’t listen to them.” You want to save her. But, tragically it is too late.

The film will elicit an emotional response from you, which means Kapadia has succeeded in connecting with his audience, which is always an elusive goal to achieve for a filmmaker.

Amy releases in the San Francisco Bay area on Friday, July 10, 2015.

  • Title: AMY
  • Running Time: 128 minutes
  • Status: Releasing July 10, 2015
  • Country: UK
  • Genre: Documentary

AMY clip courtesy: A24

VIDEO: THE KAMLA SHOW TV INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

For those of you who thought my show  – The Kamla Show – is available only online I have news for you. It is actually a weekly TV show that airs in many markets in the San Francisco bay area, and in a couple of places on the East Coast. And if everything goes well then we may have a couple more markets that will broadcast the show. All the interviews are available on my YouTube channel.

And there is a second piece of good news –  in a  couple of months we will hit that 100 mark. Yes, we will have recorded almost 100 TV shows with technologists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers and newsmakers from in and around the San Francisco bay area.

In the last couple of weeks we wrapped up  an intense schedule of shooting and are almost done with our post production. That means we have quita a few interviews lined up for airing for the next few weeks. Here is a sample of what you can expect to see in July in that video clip on top.

We interviewed Catlin Powers, CEO and co-founder of One Earth Design. She shares how they got started in creating a solar cooker in China. The whole idea came about when Powers noticed the high rate of pollution from the stove among the nomads in China. That got her thinking about pollution and finding a safe cooking fuel. After many years of research and beta testing they finally got solar cooker right. We find out how she got started in this journey of entreprenruship and sustainable energy.

And, we have an exclusive with Zia Syed, founder and CEO of ClipMine, a Mountain View-based startup that is doing something very interesting in the video space. Syed says they are the first company to tag and contextualize YouTube videos. We find out from how how he got started on the idea for his startup.

Finally, we spoke with Bruce Labadie, artistic director of San Jose Jazz Festival  This year they are celebrating their 26th year of the festival. Labadie shares the program highlights for the festival that takes place from Aug 7-9, 2015 in downtown San Jose. Over 100 artists are expected to perform across 12 stages.

We have lots more interviews lined up and ready. A great way to keep in touch and find out what our schedule is to subscribe to our YouTube channel. All you got to do is go to the YouTube channel and hit that big red button that says subscribe and viola! every week you will get those new episodes in your mailbox.

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

VIDEO: STEVE JOBS BY DANNY BOYLE

Finally, it is here – the first full length trailer of Steve Jobs by director Danny Boyle. Michael Fassbinder essays the role of Jobs, and he is practically unrecognizible. Seth Rogen plays Steve Wozniak, co-founder and the tech wizard of Apple. The film is based on Walter Isaacson’s book Steve Jobs. The book was blessed by Jobs, who colloborated quite a bit with Isaacson when he was writing the book.

The trailer is past-paced with snappy dialogs with a definite edge to them.  I suspect the film will be a fast paced narrative since the script is written by Aaron Sorkin. Remember Sorkin’s script for Social Network, the film on how Mark Zukerberg built Facebook, while he was a student at Harvard.

The film stars Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, marketing chief of MacIntosh and Jeff Daniels as John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, whom Jobs recruited from Pepsi-cola and brought him over to Apple. And Sculley then went to ease Jobs out of Apple, who then went to establish NeXT computers and become involved with Pixar.

Steve Jobs releases Oct 9, 2015 in the US. That is when the buzz for Oscar 2016 starts to ramp up and it will be interesting to see how the film turns out and if it gets nominated for the Oscars. Boyle’s last film Slumdog Millionaire won a handful of Oscars.