In (belated) Memory of Christiane Riera

I feel very stupid about this because I had no idea that one of my classmates at Yale, Christiane Riera had died of cancer 4 years ago at the quite young age of 44, leaving behind a son and husband in Brazil. (At least I knew she had moved back to Brazil after Yale.).

chris riera I just came across an email about a Facebook post from a few months ago where a theatre in Brazil was named after her. It’s beautiful that someone so young was beloved and had accomplished enough in a relatively short life to be so honored.

So, I just want to honor, late and after the fact, but well deserved with pictures of “her” theatre. christiane-riera-teatro-municipal-in-itajuba-brazil

Obviously the bulk of her theatre, film and TV work was in Brazil, but a very good film she worked on was “The Constant Gardener” which many people should know. Here’s another person’s blog post where she goes through some of the details of Chris’ career and how she gave to her as a writer and person.

christiane-riera-teatro-municipal-in-itajuba-brazil-interior-2

But I also feel so sad because Chris was such a nice person. In the arts, there are always people with egos and insecurities that lead them to do nasty things. She was SO the opposite of that. Kind and generous. I can’t think of a moment in New Haven when she wasn’t so. She had a shared apartment down in NYC and let me stay there, which allowed me to stay so much more connected to the NY art and theatre world while I was in New Haven.

And of course, it’s impossible not to relate her death too young to some other friends who died too young like Vivi Friedman – a talented film director I knew – who also died of cancer in her early 40’s. And friends and relatives who died (and some who survived) of the same disease. And of course, my own mortality and what seems like so little accomplished. And how we fool ourselves that our time is forever but in truth we’re sitting on the ledge of a figurative Grand Canyon. The awesomeness of life is before us, but our balance is always precarious and ephemeral.

So, the one message of it all, however trite it sounds but isn’t trite at all, yes carpe diem but also seize the connections with others just as much. Do it all with love.christiane-riera-teatro-municipal-in-itajuba-brazil-interior-1

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“No man is an island…”

Two days ago, over 40 people, mostly Muslims, died in Beirut because of an ISIS suicide bomber … their lives: as important, as real, as human, as the people murdered in Paris last night. Two days ago, listening to the radio, I thought “that’s awful” and continued getting ready for work. Now last night, as I listened to NPR and watched CNN and absorbed exactly what happened in Paris, it impact me, to my shame, in a much more concrete way, as after all, I’ve been to France; I’ve been affected deeply by French literature, art, film, culture and food; and intellectually I am well aware, America wouldn’t exist as a country without French help. But that’s not good enough. I should have been more conscious about the Beirut attack 2 days ago too. These extremists, who actually don’t follow/honor the religion that they claim to kill in the name of, WANT to divide us into Us and Them. That’s the point of terror. So, I can’t help thinking right now of John Donne’s beautiful poem that we collectively don’t strike at the innocent in the name of revenge against the guilty: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

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Five Awards Nominatons at the Tenerife International Film Festival for “All Things Chicken”

tenerife_film_festival_new_5_small
“All Things Chicken” screened in Madrid on the 7th of July at 8 pm as an official selection of the Tenerife International Film Festival. It was honored with 5 Awards nominations:

– Best Short Film

– Best Short Screenplay

– Best Producer

– Best Lead Actor in a Short Film (Matt Mercer)

– Best Support Actor in a Short Film (Drew Nye)

Tenerife Official-Selection 2015

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ALL THINGS CHICKEN – Spain premiere today – TENERIFE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Tenerife Official-Selection 2015“Chicken is now showing on July 2 in Room 2 in the DormirDcine hotel at 20:15 i.e. 8:15 pm as part of the Tenerife International Film Festival (but actually showing in Madrid in conjunction with the Madrid IFF):

http://www.madridinternationalfilmfestival.com/festival-programme/

At this festival, the film is nominated for Best Short Film, Best Short Screenplay, Best Producer of a Short Film, Best Lead Actor in a Short Film (Matt Mercer) and Best Supporting Actor in a Short Film (Drew Nye)

more info. on ALL THINGS CHICKEN at my other website: www.allthingschickenthemovie.com

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