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Florin Piersic Jr.
Born in 1968, Florin Piersic Jr. is a Romanian actor, director and writer. He translated, directed and performed in "Dice and Cards" by Sam Henry Kass, "Opposites Attract" by Bruce Kane, "Tom and Jerry" by Rick Cleveland, "Sex Drugs Rock and Roll", by Eric Bogosian, "Brothers!" by Dave Williams. In 2013, he wrote and produced the one-man-show entitled "Freak Show".
His performance (13 characters) has been acclaimed both by the public and the critics. Florin Piersic Jr. is the author of the novel "Romantic Porno" (2011), as well as of the collection of short stories entitled "Complete Works - Volume One" (2009) and "Complete Works - Volume Two" (2015).
Currently, Florin Piersic Jr. is working on the feature film called "Nothing About Love", written and directed by himself. Florin Piersic Jr. has received numerous prestigious awards, the most recent including the Best Actor of the Year for "The Escape" in 2015 at Gopo Awards; the Jury's Prize (for "Freak Show") at Festco Comedy Festival, Bucharest in 2014, the Best Experimental Movie ( for "Killing Time") at UCIN (Romanian Cinematographers' Union) in 2013.
Florin Piersic Jr. plays the lead part in Comrade Detective, an American buddy cop series created by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka released on Amazon Video in 2017.
For the Romanian-speaking audience, Florin will perform a one-man show Freak Show on November 18, at Kirkland Performance Center at 7:30pm. For tickets and information: http://www.kpcenter.org/event/freak-show/
Mona Nicoară is a filmmaker, curator, writer, and educator. She started working in film in 1997 as an Associate Producer for Children Underground, which received the Special Jury Prize at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary. Her directorial debut, Our School, premiered in the US at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, went on to over 70 festivals worldwide, was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Best US Feature at AFI SilverDocs. Her latest film, The Distance between Me and Me, received the audience award at Films de Cannes à Bucarest, screened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Trieste, and is currently distributed in cinemas in Romania. Nicoară also works as a festival programmer, and has been teaching film, writing, and literature at Columbia University, the Cooper Union, New York University, and Rutgers. Her writings have been published in The Guardian, Decât o revistă, Dilema, and Scena 9, among others.
Teodora Totoiu is a Romanian-American director and cinematographer focusing on documentary and scripted-narrative film. As a member of the International Collective of Female Cinematographers, she has garnered a substantial body of work, including Waterschool (2018), an international collaboration with Swarovski that is currently streaming on Netflix; and Into Moria (2020), a documentary capturing personal stories from one of the largest refugee camps in Greece. Most recently, she has lensed a feature film directed by Academy Award-nominated Evgeny Afineevski. With a passion for visual storytelling, Teodora strives to continue her work by helping shape stories that celebrate all perspectives and embrace multicultural acceptance, respectfully captured through an artistic lens.
Ion Borsh was born in 1990 in Chisinau, Moldova. He graduated Acting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chisinau, in 2013. ”Plus Minus One” is his debut short film as a director. He starred in ”What a Wonderful World”, ”Beautiful Corruption”, ”Salix Caprea” and ”Opus Nocturn 2”, also he was 1stAD in the short movie ”Now”.
"Through the movie Plus Minus One I want to show the situation of the medical system in my country, the attitude of the medical staff towards their patients, and the conditions imposed on the young resident doctors who try to fight against a corrupted system. The storyline is based on real facts, situations that most of us have had to deal with. The characters resemble us, our confrontation, on a daily basis, with the acute problems of our society. Our national cinematography should reflect more on these matters in order to create social change and put an end to corruption".
Monica Filimon was awarded a PhD in Comparative Literature by Rutgers University. She is Associate Professor of English at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY. She has published articles on French, German, and Romanian films. Her research focuses on the New Romanian Cinema, its sources, evolution, and major representatives. Her first book Cristi Puiu: Ineffable Experiences of the Profane World was published by the University of Illinois Press in February 2017. She is currently working on a second book tentatively titled Corneliu Porumboiu: Notes on the Absurd.
Raluca Negulescu-Balaci is the Executive Director of UiPath Foundation, a global non-profit organization, founded by UiPath in January 2019, to empower underprivileged children from Romania and India to reach their potential through equal access to quality education. Previously, Raluca coordinated comprehensive educational programs under the umbrella of the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities for 9 years. In 2007, she worked as a Junior Consultant in a World Bank-supported national program, focused on enabling 250 disadvantaged communities in Romania to keep up with fast-technological challenges. In 2013, Raluca was a Legislative Fellow in the US Department of State professional program “Building grassroots democracy in minority communities” and she received the Annual Human Rights Award of the Embassy of France in Romania, for her local women empowerment initiative – Mothers' Club. Raluca is a fellow of Aspen Institute Romania’s Young Leaders Program and a member of the Global Shapers Community, an initiative of the World Economic Forum.
Akila Somasegar is a finance professional and a philanthropist, with a specific interest in empowering women and children. She manages her family foundation through which she drives her philanthropic activities, both in the US and in several developing countries. In 2014, she was chosen to be an advisory board member for the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up initiative for educating and empowering the girls around the world. The “Girl Up” initiative currently has investment projects in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, Liberia, India and Uganda. Akila launched Girl Up in Sri Lanka with the help of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Children’s welfare and Sri Lankan ministry of Education. A nationwide launch was held in Colombo in October of 2015. Akila Somasegar is also a Board Director for YWCA Seattle|King|Snohomish and Bellevue Life Spring.
Margareta (Magda) Matache
Margareta (Magda) Matache is a Roma rights activist and scholar from Romania, director of the Roma Program at Harvard FXB, and also a Harvard instructor. From 2005 to 2012, Margareta Matache was the Executive Director of Romani CRISS, a leading Roma rights organization that defends the rights of Roma. In 2012 she was awarded a Hauser postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard FXB where she founded the Roma Program. In Spring 2017 she co-edited Realizing Roma Rights, an investigation of anti-Roma racism, with the goal to set the foundations for a more inclusive Europe. Her other publications and research have ranged from the rights and agency of Romani children and adolescents to early childhood development, anti-Roma racism, reparations, segregation in education, and participatory action research.
Cristiana Grigore is a research scholar and the founder of the Roma Peoples Project at Columbia University, an initiative that spotlights Roma peoples (erroneously called Gypsies) and expands Roma studies by examining topics such as identity and stigma, mobility and displacement, archival research and digital scholarship. Herself a Roma, she has firsthand experience internalizing stigma and concealing one's ethnicity. Her experiences have been featured by The New York Times, NPR, Newsweek, CNN, Al Jazeera America, PRI, and Voice of America, among other outlets. In 2008, Cristiana co-founded a nonprofit organization, Link Education and Practice (LEAP), which promotes informal education as a way of helping Romanian college students bridge the gap between higher education and the demands of a changing 21st-century workforce. She is currently writing a book that explores how her immersion in American culture enabled her to grapple more fully with her Roma ethnicity.
Award-winning journalist Jacqui Banaszynski is an emerita professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and faculty fellow at the world-renowned Poynter Institute. She serves as editor of Nieman Storyboard, a global website which celebrates and examines the art and craft of narrative journalism.
Banaszynski’s newspaper career took her to all seven continents, including three trips to Antarctica. She has written about corruption and crime, beauty pageants and popes, AIDS and the Olympics, dogsled expeditions and refugee camps, labor strikes and political strife, traffic fatalities and family tragedies. While at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, her series “AIDS in the Heartland” won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. She was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer in international reporting for coverage of the Ethiopian famine and won the nation’s top deadline sports reporting award for coverage of the 1988 Olympics.
Banaszynski has edited numerous award-winning projects, including projects that won ASNE Best Writing, Ernie Pyle Human Interest Writing and national business and investigative prizes. In 2008, she was named to the Association of Sunday and Features Editors Features Hall of Fame. She now coaches reporters, writers and storytellers in newsrooms and at workshops around the world.
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