Francis Ford Coppola Interview



San Francisco bay area has a rich history of filmmaking. The tradition goes all the way to the early 20thc when Niles Canyon near Fremont was home to the Silent Film Industry. Many silent films were produced in the studios of Niles Canyon.

Fast forward to the late 1960s when Francis Ford Coppolo  and George Lucas established American Zoetrope studio in San Francisco. If you are ever in the North Beach area of San Francisco look for the American Zoetrope building that is located right beneath the TransAmerica Pyramid building. You cannot miss the green color building.

Both Coppola and Lucas went on to make some of the most iconic American films. Did you know parts of Coppola’s “Apocalpyse Now,” were shot on Napa River? Listen to Academy Award winning editor Lisa Fruchtman talk about it here. She worked on “Apocalypse Now.”

Coppola eventually  branched out into wines and hospitality business. Here is a terrific interview with Coppolo from The Financial Times that is studded with all sorts of wonderful “film” tidbits like actor Yul Brynner was a TV director and Sidney Lumet, the famous filmmaker was Brynner’s assistant.

Photo credit: Gerald Geronimo at


Video: International Women’s Day – Interviews With Women From Technology, Business And Arts

Haifaa al-Mansour copyright

Haifaa al-Mansour

Make It Happen” is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day. Everyday millions of women make it happen for themselves, their family and the society around the world.

Over the years I have interviewed many women from different walks of life and have been lucky to talk to them about their lives and how they made it happen. Here is a playlist of YouTube video of women who I have interviewed from technology, business and arts. They share their stories on how they made it happen.

Starting a business is hard, and starting a food business as a new immigrant in the US is doubly hard. But that did not deter Sukhi Singh, who founded Sukhis, a multi-million dollar gourmet food company in San Francisco bay area. She started her business from her kitchen with just a kitchen blender. Then there is Shweta Rao Director of Bakery Innovation at Hampton Creek Foods. This San Francisco-based startup wants to disrupt the world of eggs by creating eggs from plant proteins.

Nistha Jain copyright

Nistha Jain

Making films is filled with challenges right from raising money to finding the right cast and crew, distributors and finally making money at the box office. Filmmaker Haifaa al-Mansour talks about how she made her feature film in Saudi Arabia, where women cannot drive or go out and film with a camera. She sat huddled inside a van and directed the film from the confines of the vehicle. The film is about a young girl’s dream to own and ride a bicycle and it became the first Saudi film to enter the Academy Awards.  Pakistani filmmaker Sabiha Sumar shares on the challenges of making a film in her country.

Meet Academy Award winner Lisa Fruchtman, whose film “Sweet Dreams” brilliantly captures how a group of Rwandan women found a way to heal themselves through drumming and setting up the first ice-cream shop in Rwanda. “Gulabi Gang,” is about a group of women in India, who are fighting for themselves and other women and filmmaker Nishtha Jain takes us behind the scenes to talk about this women’s group.

Jehan Noujaim copyright

Jehan Noujaim

And then there is a young, successful Hollywood actor, who gave it all up and joined a monastery and has written a book about her journey. Meet the delightful Mother Dolores Hart, who is perhaps the only nun who is voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

From technology and arts, we shift gears to diplomacy. Meet Ambassador Nirupama Rao, who served as  India’s Ambassador to the US, China, Peru and other countries. She served as India’s Foreign Secretary and retired from the Indian foreign services in 201. In this 2-part interview Ambassador Rao shares her love for music, poetry and working as a diplomat.

You can watch all these interviews, and more via this playlist.



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.