Storytellers: Nirvan Mullick, Filmmaker of “Caine’s Arcade”.

Nirvan Mullick stopped in at a car parts store in East Los Angeles and stumbled across a story for his next film.  Toiling away in the back of the shop he found a genius.  Not the car parts guy (who happens to be a very likable guy named George), but his nine-year-old son, Caine.

Caine was spending his summer vacation coming to work with his dad to keep him company.  In short order, Caine began building a business of his own. With cardboard boxes, tape and a powerful imagination, the boy created Caine’s Arcade and opened for customers.

Nirvan had to play.  And then the filmmaker had to tell the story of this terrific father and son team.


The 11-minute film has been a huge success and has helped to raise money for Caine to go to college and also to help other imaginative young entrepreneurs fund their dreams.  Learn more by clicking here to get to Caine’s Arcade.

Caine’s tips for entrepreneurs.

By the way, if you have dreams of opening your own business, here are 5 suggestions from Caine.

Nirvan tells us these were written on an Air France barf bag as the two returned from a trip to Paris.

1. Be nice to customers.
2. Do a business that is fun.
3. Do not give up.
4. Start with what you have.
5. Use recycled stuff.

I’m going to print this out and stick it up on my desk.

Thanks, Caine.

Storytellers: Daniel Karasik wins Canada Writes Prize

One of the things Canada’s public broadcasting company, the CBC, does well is encourage Canadians to read and to write.  There are recommendation lists, interviews, contests and hoopla that all quietly support a sense of national pride in the simple act of enjoying a good story.

Today the winners of the short story competition in CBC’s“Canada Writes” competion were announced.  Out of more than 3750 entries, the grand prize was awarded to Daniel Karasik, an Ontario poet and playwright.  His marvelous story, Mine, is well deserving of the honour.   You can find it here, on the CBC website.

Here’s what the CBC shared on their website about Daniel Karasik:

Daniel Karasik’s award-winning plays have been seen in Toronto, New York, and Germany. He is the author of The Crossing Guard and In Full Light, a volume of plays published by Playwrights Canada Press, and is one of eleven poets featured in Undercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry, a Cormorant Books anthology; Cormorant also plans to publish his first poetry collection in 2013. He recently completed his first novel, for which he received the Alta Lind Cook Prize and the Norma Epstein National Literary Award.

Discovering Ari Seth Cohen

It’s wonderful to start off the New Year with an exceptional find. For me it was discovering Ari Seth Cohen who blogs about fashion. This is not your regular take on what you need to buy, or which shoes are the latest “must have”. This is about attitude, storytelling and embracing life. Visit his blog at and be inspired. Here is a delightful trailer for an upcoming documentary on Ari’s work. It’ll make your day.

The trailer for the Advanced Style Documentary debuted at a Paris film festival in 2011 called A Shaded View of Fashion.  Cohen has teamed up with Lina Plioplyte, a New York-based freelance videographer for the production.

According to the New York Times, Advanced Style gets 100,000 hits a month and has 5,ooo followers.

Lynn Dell believes living is a party to be enjoyed and she dresses every day as if she was invited to the biggest and best of them. Her credo: "Dress for the theatre of your life." - Ari Seth Cohen

I started Advanced Style to present a fresh perspective on aging.

The ladies I photograph take pride in how they look and their style is a reflection of their vitality and spirit. One of my favorite ladies, Debra Rapoport, believes in the healing power of style. Dressing up gives her joy and in turn her colorful outfits inspire creativity and merriment in others. Debra lives by the mantra, “Look Good, Feel Good. Feel Good, Look Good.” The fashion she and the other advanced style ladies display is merely a reflection of the care and thought they put into every aspect of their lives. The energy they expend towards dressing is manifested in their passion for living life to the fullest.The Healing power of style is a reciprocal process that can benefit each one of us. Let’s all try a little harder to dress up, feel good, and appreciate beauty in others.

-Ari Seth Cohen, from his website.

Storytellers: Gillian Laub – Take Care

Gillian Laub is a photographer and multimedia storyteller whose work deserves a wide audience. From striking portraits to documenting the lives of families, she compels us to stop and think as she brings us to places that are often far removed from our own reality.

I am starting a new category- Storytellers- on this blog so that I have a special place to share the work of outstanding artists, writers and filmmakers.

As someone who has worked in television journalism and related pursuits throughout my career, I have a deep appreciation for strong storytelling and especially for the talent of the person looking through the lens. Documentary production is a team sport and the strength of the story is ultimately dependent upon the images that are captured.

The works I intend to feature here will largely be films that bring us a glimpse into the daily lives of ordinary people. I call it social history in the present tense. Most important, these works represent moments that most of us would miss because we don’t know how to see them, or because we don’t go to places like this to meet people like this.

I’ve chosen Take Care, to be the first film to feature because to me, Gillian’s gift is the blend of a fearless approach with a compassionate touch in bringing truth to her audience.

Click on the image below to see the film.

Take Care was produced in a one-week work shop by MediaStorm. The workshop team included Gillian Laub, Henrik Björnsson, Elena Ghanotakis, and Laura Varma, as well as associate producer Brad Horn. It caught my attention because it was selected by Time magazine as one of the best of 2010, in Time’s list of Top 10 Talented Web Videos. Good choice. Great film. I would have ranked it much higher than 9th.

The following bio was written Bernstein & Andriulli, who represent Gillian’s work.

Gillian’s love of storytelling and family narratives led her to begin photographing her own family while studying at the International Center of Photography in New York. 2005 she was the recipient of the Nikon’s Storyteller award for her work in the Middle East. With the support of the Jerome Foundation Laub’s first monograph “Testimony” was published by Aperture to critical acclaim. This body of work is comprised of portraits and testimonies of Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians all directly and indirectly affected by the complicated geopolitical context in which they live. In 2007, Laub received Aperture’s Emerging Artist Award. Her work is widely exhibited and her gallerist is Bonni Benrubi. Laub graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in comparative literature and lives in New York City. She is currently working on a project in the American South and continues to explore the family with her camera.

To learn more, see Gillian Laub’s website.