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Alice Kanterian

Alice is a correspondent, covering Venice and other international film festivals.


"Women Empowerment" through Cinematic Art at the service of humanity”-The Better World Fund-80th edition of Venice Film Festival

"Women Empowerment" through Cinematic Art at the service of humanity” at the 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival


Isabelle Huppert and many other celebrities show their commitment at the Better World Fund



Auction for the Maria Callas Foundation




The Hope Giver Campaign and the story of Anwar Elkamony




Interview with American actor Jeremy Piven who receives the Best Commitment Award

Manuel Collas de la Roche and Jeremy Piven among guests



from left to right: Tarina Patel, Solanges Vivens, Manuel Collas de la Roche and Elisabeth Moreno


Statement by Scarlett Baya Avedikian

Scarlett Baya Avedikian with Mischa Aznavour


BWF Awards at the Gala Dinner





Manuel Collas de la Roche, President and Founder of Better World Fund stated: “In the heart of the magic of La Mostra, the BWF edition in Venice will celebrate women, and raise awareness about the place and power of women in the film industry. Today, we are convinced that the cinema industry holds a statutory role as a vector of social, educational and environmental values. It is therefore essential to continue supporting and encouraging the involvement of women in all aspects of the film industry in order to create a more equitable and inclusive society for all.”


American actor Jeremy Piven gave an inspiring presentation at the Better World Fund in Venice in the morning of September 8, as part of the master classes session. I later interviewed him. During the gala evening, that took place in the evening of the same day at La Scuola Grande Della Misericordia great French actress Isabelle Huppert was the star of the evening. Many other celebrities like polititian Elisabeth Moreno, president of Tech-Foundation and former Minister in charge of Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal opportunities, moderator Nadia Farés, entrepreneur Keira Chaplin, the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin who works with the Derser Flower Foundation, or guest speaker Karine Gros, they all support the commitment of Manuel Collas de la Roche and his dedicated team. How can we change the world? I meet Tarina Patel, a South African actress, film producer, model and television host, born in Cape Town and raised in Durban. She later will hand out The Best Commitment Award to Jeremy Piven. She speaks about Ubuntu. Ubuntu can best be best described as an African philosophy that places emphasis on 'being self through others'. It is a form of humanism which can be expressed in the phrases 'I am because of who we all are', Tarina has embraced this philosopy, we should all support eachother. “We should collaborate with other women, get connected, we are not a single entity.” Tarina says, Tarina has projects in healthcare and education. She was part of the panel: “Empowering Women in the World of Cinema”, talking about challenges and the support for eachother with French actress Nadia Farès, German director of Turkish origins Yasemin Samdereli, entrepreneur Kiera Chaplin (the grandaughter of Charlie Chaplin), presindent of Quinn film studios Valentina Castellani and Euzhan Palcy. Throughout her career, Palcy has explored various genres, often breaking ground being the first female black director to do so. She is the first black director to win a César Award and the Silver Lion at Venice Film Festival. In 2022, she was given the Honorary Oscar for her contributions to cinema. And at the Gala Dinner later this day she receives the Best Achievement Award from the Better World Fund.


Among the international guests I recognized Mischa Aznavour, He participated at the auction in order to raise money for the Maria Callas Museum in Paris. Maria Callas was such an extraordinary woman and a great role model. I know Mischa from Cannes where he presented the documentary „Aznavour by Charles“ about his father Charles Aznavour. He introduced me to his French-Armenian friend actress and dancer Scarlett Baya Avedikian, and I got the chance to find out what brought her to Venice in order to participate at the Better World Fund,


Avedikian: „Tonight, in Venice, I had the privilege of taking part in an evening celebrating women's empowerment, which I was warmly invited by the "Better World Fund", which honored the Maria Callas Foundation.


As a dancer and actress, I'm deeply aware of the challenges facing women in the film industry. The inspiring speeches given by remarkable women at this event resonated with me in a special way. Their journeys and their accomplishments are a source of inspiration to me, and I felt connected to their struggle to succeed as women.What made the evening even more special was that I was supported by my lifelong friend, Mischa Aznavour. He also understands the fight for women's rights and wanted to be by my side for this meaningful evening. Mischa even generously participated in the auction that took place, showing his commitment to the cause. Together, we listened attentively to the words of Minister Elisabeth Moreno, which particularly struck me as they underlined the crucial importance of solidarity between women. We firmly believe that we must support each other, rise together to break down the barriers that stand in our way.


The evening reinforced my determination to persevere in my career, to make my voice heard and to contribute to the empowerment of women. Not just in show business, but everywhere. Together, with friends like Mischa, we can create a more egalitarian and inspiring future for generations to come.“


Tom Volf, President of the Maria Callas Foundation thanked Manuel Collas de la Roche and his team of the Better World Fund for organizing an auction for the benefits of a planned Maria Callas Museum.


Volf; „It is a great honor that the Better World Fund has decided to support the Maria Callas Foundation on the 100th anniversary of her birth. Since the Foundation was established by Callas’s closest friends and myself, it has initiated and supported several major projects such as the award-winning film « Maria by Callas », the eponymous exhibitions created in Paris in 2017 and Monaco in 2018, three books: Maria by Callas (Assouline), Callas Confidential (La Martinière), and Letters & Memoirs (Albin Michel) which was adapted to the worldwide successful theatre performance featuring Monica Bellucci. As a non-profit organization, our continuous goal is to further protect and promote Callas’s legacy. A prime example of this is the extensive collection acquired over the years, including the largest archive of her personal letters, photo albums, private recordings, and other memorabilia. The goal of our organization is to establish the Maria Callas Museum with a permanent collection freely accessible to the public, scholars, and future generations. We also aim to support young artists and musicians,“


And then Egyptian tennis player Anwar Elkamony takes the stage. He is here to support the engagement of Manuel Collas de la Roche and to speak about hope, about not giving up and the new collaboration between The Hope Giver Campaign and The Better World Fund. This is his mission and story of his life. Diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, leading to a bone marrow transplant, Anwar is the only professional athlete who returned back to sport after 7 years of thickness. Inspired by his own journey of overcoming, Anwar founded The Hope Giver Campaign - a global movement born from his indomitable spirit, that reaches across borders and cultures, embracing those who have faced adversity, He is an inspiration for all of us not to give up, Anwar's vision transcends borders, inspiring volunteers, organizations, and communities in more than 23 countries to join hands and make a difference. Anwar said during his speech: „As an international charity partner, we are honored to support the “Better World Fund” in its mission to raise awareness and funds for humanitarian causes and sustainable development. Together, we can create a better world that embraces compassion, equality, and environmental stewardship. Let's join hands, inspire change, and build a world where hope reigns supreme.“ With his campaign he is supporting women who have breast cancer and homeless women in MENA to find work. Manuel Collas de la Roche is one of the ambassadors of The Hope Giver Campaign. Further details you find here; . Dr. Solanges Vivens who earlier this morning presented her book „From educated girl to empowered woman“ receives an award presented by Anwar Elkamony as the official Charity Partner of the Better World Fund.


The current edition is dedicated to the empowerment of women. Jeremy Piven receives the Best Commitment Award from Tarina Pavel. Jeremy spoke about his mother and his sister who always supported and encouraged him. It was his mother Joyce who started teaching him acting at a young age, he was only 8 and playing Chekhow on stage at his parents Piven theatre. He then studied acting in London at the National Theatre and in the States at the NYU. It was also his mother who understood how condinioned an actor can get with all the audiciens and saw an opportunity for her son to explore new territories by introducing him to the short story titled „The performance“ by Arthur Miller published in The New Yorker. It was then his sister Shira Piven who adapted and directed it. „The performance“will premiere at the Rome Film Fest 18 to 29 of October as part of the main competition. You just presented the trailer of your new film at the Better World Fund. How did it all start?


Piven: My mother who is my acting teacher Joyce Piven gave me a copy of the short story„The performance“ by Arthur Miller. She said: „I think you would like this“, she thought I might like tp ülay the tapdancer, she knew what she was doing. I'm a drummer, this was the only way I could transition. It still took me 10 years to get to the point where I could feel comfortable to be able to play the role. My sister Sheira adapted the short story and she directed it. The world premiere is at the Rome Film Festival and we are in competition.


Jeremy Piven starts spontaneously dancing and doing all these steps, like Fred Astaire. You dance like Fred Astaire. Amazing!


Piven: People when they see the film they wonder if it's me doing. The reality is, even after 10 years I'm not as good as the greats. So you are exercising since 10 years?


Piven: It took so long because I had to find the money to finance the film. You produced it?


Piven: Yes. And every time they said no I got better! You didn't give up. What a great lesson.


Piven: This is one of the many reasons why this film came up. Hopefully I will be able to be an example for people for really not give up. It's not as simple at all to get a movie made. I's a very American think you know if you believe in yourself you can make it happen. But I do really think it's real. And I wouldn't give up! And here we are, it's a miracle. And you know all clichee all roads Rome leads to Rome, they do! We are going to premiere there and I can't wait for people to see it. Bradley Coope is here in Venice in competition with „Maestro“. It is the second film he is directing. You are the producer of „The performance“. Would be the next step for you to direct a film?


Piven: Both my parents are directors and my sister is a director too. So I guess I'm from a family of directors. I alwasy loved acting and been lucky enough to perform my whole life. I've directed on the stage. I have this movie which I'm promoting at the Ferrara Film Festival 16-23.09. It's called „Sweetwater“ directed by Martin Guigui and it's about the first African American to play in the National Baseball Association. It was the director's his first film and I was lucky enough to mentore him. And to answer your question I would love to direct. We are here at the Better World Fund to celebrate women creativity and support p empowering women. You said earlier on stage that your mum has always been a great inspiration. She was the one who stands at the beginning of your carrier. She was your acting teacher right?

Piven: My parents have their own theatre, called The Piven Theatre. So at the age of 8 I got up on stage with my mother. So you had no choice?

Piven: I did have a choice but it was so fun. I get up on stage and make people laugh. Have a great time, and I can still play sports and play drums. I was doing Tschehow with my mum at a young age and butchering it. I'm very lucky to have her. She teached me the method Story Theatre. She was also the one who gave me the short story. This a breakthrough role for me, it's the best role of my live. And my first time producing. And my mum got me into this. so it makes sense. Why do you think she thought it would fit you?

Piven: She saw the pararells in Harold's life, the lead performer in the movie, and my life and she knew this is a role that I would love to play, There is this tap dancer in 1937 who is a real artist, he would do anything to progress. And Harold May is faced with a challenge. How much of yourself would you sell out. How much of your sole would you sell for success? I think we are all compromised in our lifes.


And then Jeremy talks about how conditioned you get as an actor when you audition. And the pressure: I must get the next gig. Actors must stay in a specific lane, you can get stocked in that very nearer lane and not see the whole picture. You must break free, And you must create your own opportunities in this life. This is the great lesson he learned and this is the one he can illustrate for the others.


Piven: This is a movie that affects everybody. You could say it`s about antisemitism, but it's much more than this, It has many layers, it can reach everyone.


It took 12 years to do the movie but Piven didn't give up. Giving up this project would have meant to give up at all. „The Performance“ will premiere at the Rome International Film Festival November 2-5. He is currently attending the Ferrara Film Festival which takes place from 16 to 23 of September. He is here starring in the movie „Sweetwater“ by Martin Guigui, It's the story of Nat „Sweetwater“ Clifton, who makes history as the first African American to sign an NBA contract, forever changing how the game of basketball is played.


This interview took place during the Better World Fund on September 8 at the Gran Scuola della Misericordia. Jeremy just got of the plane couple a couple of hours ago, after performing as a stand up commedian in LA. Stand up commedy is his new passion, he is touring since 2017 and performs currently in the Brea Theatre by LA, Here in Venice he still wants to see the „Daaaali“ movie, the movie about Leonard Bernstein movie [Maestro is directed by Bradley Cooper and he is also playing the leading role], He then mentions that Roberto Benigni is an inspiration for him, that he loves jazz, same as me! And then his water taxi arrives and he must run, Jeremy said twice during our conversation: This is a very unic interview, I love it. Thanks Jeremy and good luck for the premiere in Rome!


Alice Kanterian







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