To my children Veronica, Giuseppe Maria, Bianca CĂŠcile, for they give me courage to follow my heart. To my wife Alessia, heaven of my life.
PrimiDieci â€“ USA, 2016 by Riccardo Lo Faro ÂŠ PrimiDieci Society, 2015
Photographs kindly supplied by the PrimiDieci 2016 Awardees, if not otherwise specified on the photo. Translation by Malin Cordisco Graphic layout and editing: Marco Puci, Cantieri Servizi Editoriali Italy Publisher for the Italian Edition: Europa Edizioni
All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author and PrimiDieci Society. Printed in November 2015 Made in Italy
PrimiDieci SOCIETY: WHAT WE DO AND WHY PrimiDieci Society is the elite club of the most successful Italians currently in the USA and the UK. From 2016 onward, also in countries such as Brazil, China, India, Russia and Australia. Every year the International Selection Committee of the Society selects the ten most successful individuals in each country. The life stories of the official nominees are celebrated in the annual PrimiDieci Book with which nominees are awarded during the Annual Award Gala. Galas take place in New York and London and starting from 2016 also in other cities around the world. The aim of the PrimiDieci Society is to share with the world the outstanding accomplishments of Italians who have been successful abroad. The Society’s vision is to create a legacy that will educate and inspire the next generation of young leaders today to benefit the global community of tomorrow. Through the Under40 Section, the Society’s Awardees and Advisory Board members are encouraged to share their valuable insights and professional expertise to benefit the young, talented individuals, members of PrimiDieci-Under40. Regular professional gatherings with U40 members, including targeted face-to-face consultations, social and business functions, seminars, think-tanks and an annual international forum are much valued highlights of PrimiDieci Society’s activities. PrimiDieci Society and its annual books are cultural and editorial initiatives under the official patronage of the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., USA, and the Embassy of Italy in London, U.K.
November 6, 2015
It is an honor to extend greetings to the readers of PrimiDieci USA.
By honoring ten extraordinary individuals of Italian origins or nationality every year, PrimiDieci Society is drawing attention to the indelible mark Italian Americans have left on every sector of our nationâ€™s life. Whether running successful businesses, pioneering new frontiers in medical technology, empowering our youth or composing timeless classics, the awardees it singles out epitomize the talent and tenacity that define both New York and Italy. We are fortunate to live in a city that attracts people from across the map to its shores because each wave of immigrants enriches our neighborhoods, strengthens our economy and inspires our evolution. As one of hundreds of thousands of proud Italian New Yorkers, I commend PrimiDieci Society for celebrating the Italian diaspora throughout the five boroughs and around the world and sharing the success stories that embolden the next generation of leaders to rise. On behalf of the City of New York, I offer congratulations to the honorees. Please accept my best wishes for continued success. Sincerely,
Bill de Blasio Sindaco della CittĂ di New York
PrimiDieci: it’s all about appreciation I dedicate this book to the Americans people because they know better than anyone who the Italians in America really are. Today, after having travelled extensively the US and for so many years, I know it for sure: anyone in this great country appreciates the exceptional professional contributions Italians every day make to the American system in areas such as culture, science, research, art, justice, industry, medicine, politics, cuisine and so much more… Everyone appreciates this, or just should if well informed. And here I come! Essentially, this is the goal of this book of mine, making sure we are all informed of what these amazing individuals are achieving. Professional and human accomplishments that do make our world a better place to live in. My profession of biographer and ghostwriter for many years in the United States has given me the opportunity to realize the enormous amount of Italians who are experiencing huge success in every state and industry in the United States. That is how the idea for ‘PrimiDieci’ was born. After years of meeting and writing for extremely successful people in their industries, I thought it was important to select and gather their wonderful stories in a book. A precise, accurate and reliable example of the current importance of Italians in this extraordinary country: America. An example that will certainly be useful for not only the current generations, but the future ones, because they need a way to be informed about who the Italians in America during this time were. People with incredible courage in current times and long gone-by, either natives or those who abandoned the customs and systems in their homeland and completely adapted and dedicated themselves to the efficiency, meritocracy, personal and professional honesty, respect and giving back: all characteristics of a system that works and rewards, as it has rewarded each one of them. It rewards with a life that is of a better moral, economic and quality level. Without making huge presumptions, with PrimiDieci most of all I hope to inspire the young readers, especially those who are still undecided on what they want to do therefore who they want to be. Just read, be open to understand the touching thoughts each 2016 awardee has shared with you in his/her Letter to the Young. See if this book could somehow come of any use to you. And if it does, I’ll be living happily all the rest of my life. Riccardo
A book that is nothing but a chance PrimiDieci is a dream that gives us the strength, will and courage to believe in what is truly important to us: our identity. PrimiDieci gives a voice and a face to the amazing personalities who represent Italy in the United States and throughout the world. One of our main objectives is to make Italy’s rich human resources known, resources that are not often recognized “at home,” but which become extraordinarily evident in the foreign countries these people choose to live and work in. Amazing Italians who are not looking for fame, but only to do what they are good at. Personalities that the PrimiDieci Society will join together as though part of a club which is at the same time exclusive, yet open amongst them for spreading new joint initiatives, ideas, proposals, conventions and, most importantly, open to young people. PrimiDieci is therefore a reference point, a window into the current excellence of our Italians here in the United States and throughout the world, but it is also a chance. It is an opportunity for young, talented Italians to have exceptional and courageous examples to follow; role models who open up their eyes and allow them to see the light at the end of the tunnel of mediocrity and impotence that the Italian system often traps them in. For next year and the years to come, it will be the young Italians to whom our initiative will offer an essential tool: creating a link between the people chosen as PrimiDieci each year and the talented youths in Italy. The PrimiDieci honoree will become a concrete and direct role model that the young Italian will be able get close to and intern with. Telling the stories of people being honored abroad is the passionate work of Riccardo Lo Faro, my husband! With an entirely sincere respect, I recognize him as an extremely joyous and positive person, always reaching out to others and having a strong sensibility that allows him to find the most hidden sides of whomever he encounters. He has a long experience working as a biographer-ghostwriter, which has always been characterized by an innate aptitude to describe people and places with acumen and expressiveness, as well as rare and amusing analytical abilities. I find his greatest gifts to be the way he writes and describes feeling, events, people, and he does it by creating images. When you read his writing you have the sensation of being able to see what it is you are reading, as though right before your eyes the words are transforming into frames that create a scene from a movie. PrimiDieci Society and the cultural-editorial initiatives that are part of it are the result of a long work that all of us are very passionate about; a work with which Riccardo’s pen gave a face to a truth that deserves every honor. Not so much for self-glorification as Italians, but certainly to make known to our current and future generations the people who, with their courage more than any other quality, represent us and bring us honor throughout the world. Alessia Pertosa Editor-in-Chief
Acknowledgments PrimiDieci USA, the Book is made possible every year by the financial support of the founders, individual benefactors and sponsorships. In 2013, the Year of Italian Culture in the USA, PrimiDieci Society published the 1st edition of its two books: PrimiDieci USA and PrimiDieci-Under40. Both books were presented in Manhattan, New York, with the Award and Gala Dinner of the IACC (Italy-America Chamber of Commerce). In 2014 the new editions of both books, PrimiDieci and PrimiDieci-Under40 were published and presented with the Award and Gala Dinner of the IACC, in Manhattan, New York. For the past two years the ‘Under40’ edition was financially sustained by the I.A.C.C., thanks to the vision and cultural values of its past president, Claudio Bozzo. While financial support for the 2015 Under40 edition hasn’t been available by the current Board of the IACC, PrimiDieci Society is deeply grateful to the IACC for still supporting this editorial initiative by honoring its 10 Awardees with the Gala in Manhattan, NY, also for the 2016 edition. PrimiDieci USA 2016, the Book was made possible thanks to the financial contributions of the author, his wife Alessia, Enzo Carputo (La Reggia, Secaucus, NJ), Saclà Italia, and benefactors such as Mariafrancesca Carli, our 2014 Awardee. Mariafracesca for several years and until early 2015 has been the Managing Director of J.P. Morgan’s Financial Group in New York, after 15 years at Goldman Sachs. She is today the managing Director at BDT & Company, LLC, a merchant bank that provides advice and capital to family-owned companies. Ms Carli is also generous supporter of Bocconi Alumni Association New York where she Chairs the Events Committee. She also led the Global Bocconi Alumni Conference Steering Committee in 2014. Thank you Mariafrancesca for your support and your precious advice and suggestions to our organization’s initiatives. We honor our sponsors and benefactors, for their understanding of the extraordinary social, editorial and cultural significance of the PrimiDieci Society’s initiative. Deep thanks from the bottom of our hearts go to Eleny Wagner, our constant benefactor. She runs one of the most elegant and prestigious couture in Manhattan, for those special events that require a one-of-a kind dress with unmatched elegance, craftsmanship and style. Eleny has been renowned for designing couture evening and wedding gowns, cocktail dresses and suits at her private atelier for the past 35 years (tel. 212-564-1515). Above all she’s our dearest friend: we love you Eleny! A huge thanks goes to Benito! For the longtime friendship he honors me with, for being THE person who made possible for PrimiDieci Society to be established and successful also in the United Kingdom, for his devoted volunteering and his enthusiastic commitment. Benito Fiore, currently Director at A.T. Kearney, London, and previously Chairman at Eni and Montedison in Canada, the US, and UK. Un vero amico.
A special thanks! goes also to Rhuna Barduagni. Rhuna is the Societyâ€™s Director of Strategic Partnerships, actually the heart and the engine of our work! Energetic, brilliant and professional, Rhuna does not spare courage and determination in a continuous work aimed at increasing the global success of the initiatives of the Society. My last Thank You to my first: Alessia. Alessia Pertosa is my wife and the Societyâ€™s hard-working editor-in-chief. My paradise on Earth. The best companion ever in life and the meanest, the most meticulous and strict editor-in-chief an author would ever want! But she does that with love, and love rules.
Un grazie di cuore a tutti! Riccardo
PrimiDieci USA 2016 is presented by
Index Foreword by Bill De Blasio Mayor of New York Pg. 4 Foreword by Riccardo Lo Faro PrimiDieci Society, Founder and Author 5 Foreword by Alessia Pertosa PrimiDieci Society, Editor-in-Chief 6
Chapter 1: Antonello Bonci NIH, Scientific Director 15 Chapter 2: Martha De Laurentiis Movie and Television producer 31 Chapter 3: Frank G. Mancuso, Sr. Paramount Pictures and MGM, Former Chairman and CEO
Chapter 4: Monica Mandelli KKR â€“ USA, Managing Director 63 Chapter 5: Joe Mantegna Movie, theater and television actor 77
Chapter 6: Giorgio Moroder Record producer, Composer, DJ 93 Chapter 7: Marco Pelle Choreographer 107 Chapter 8: Roberto Pieraccini Human-Machine Communication/Scientist, Technologist 125 Chapter 9: Frank Serpico NYPD Detective (retired) 141 Chapter 10: Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini Conflict photographer 155
Under the Official Patronage of the Embassy of Italy in the USA and in the U.K.
PrimiDieci Society proudly present “PrimiDieci USA 2016” THE TEN MOST SUCCESSFUL ITALIANS IN THE USA TODAY
NIH, Scientific Director
Martha De Laurentiis
Film and Television Producer
Los Angeles, CA
Frank & Faye Mancuso
Paramount Pictures and MGM, Frmr CEO
Los Angeles, CA
KKR, Managing Director
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Former NYPD Detective
New York. NY
New York. NY
please note: PrimiDieci is not a contest: there is no 1st and there is no 10th. Awardees are simply listed in alphabetical order.
Scientific director, NIH - National Institute of Health - Washington, D.C. Among the leading researchers in Neuropsychopharmacology in the world, he is known worldwide for research that has recently led to therapeutic strategies for the treatment of diseases and drug addictions. • Scientific Director ofNational Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute of Health, Washington, D.C. • Professor in the Neurology Department at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF): chair “Howard J. Weinberg” in Addiction Research • Assistant Professor of Neurosciences and Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine • President of the Scientific Committee, at Presidency of the Ministries Council (Italy), Department for Anti-Drugs Policies • Member of the Scientific Committee for Drug Addiction, United Nations • Member of the American Neurological Association
Main awards • Jacob WaletzkyMemorial Award - Society for Neuroscience • Daniel Efron Award - American College of Neuropsychopharmacology • Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity – Italy • Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Award • European Journal of Neuroscience Award
Antonello Bonci We have developed a technique to treat cocaine addiction.
I was surprised by his youthfulness and disconcerting simplicity. He was sitting with his wife, his beautiful wife, together on a red sofa that was not that comfortable. It was one of those narrow sofas, soft but small, where two people can barely sit. The location, however, was among the most striking: in the heart of the Dolomites. We met in Cortina d’Ampezzo, a magical landscape, surrounded by more than a meter of snow. It’s true, I should have met him in one of his impressive laboratories in Washington, I should have had to follow him among the many conferences, between meetings with his followers and graduate students, but it was not so. I decided to meet him in a neutral zone, taking him away from the vortex that envelops him seven days a week due to his commitments at the NIH. I really needed to know the Bonci man, not the illustrious Scientific Director of the giant US National Institute of Health. In fact, I was completely blown away when I found myself in front of that laid back figure, poised and modest, smiling and with such a polite demeanor. This is always my favorite impression for first meetings, especially when they occur with personalities with public roles of great importance. The pleasure to experience that feeling of positive surprise because the other party proves unexpectedly “normal” when you were actually expecting a certain tone, distance, a veiled and silent superiority not really hidden. Antonello gave me this great gift quickly, to let me know who he is, even before we got to know each other. He has lived in the United States for twenty years. Antonello Bonci left Italy after completing his medical training and specialization at the Università Cattolica. Since then, he has never stopped working on the possible medical and scientific solutions for treating diseases considered completely invincible, and he focuses mostly on eliminating cocaine addiction. Over his many years of research, he first directed the Department of Neurology at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and, more recently, he transferred to the scientific
direction of the National Institute of Health in Washington, DC. His research has shown how drug abuse, such as cocaine, alters the strength of the connections between neurons, shedding new light on the phenomenon of drug addiction and highlighting how this affects the regression of the learning process. As he explains, the research that he has coordinated over the past two years in the Italian and American laboratories have led to a greater awareness of the technique known as optogenetics. In lay words, this indicates the “bombardment” of specific areas of the brain. This technique was discovered in 2005 at Stanford University by Karl Deisserothe and recently, Professor Bonci’s team has been among the first to experience with it, the results are extremely encouraging. But to understand more the extraordinary results in the treatment of cocaine addiction and other narcotics, my words must give way to the details of his information, his story.
How I became who I am â€œAfter 20 years of research, today I can finally say that we have developed a new technique to treat cocaine addiction. For the first time ever, we completed clinical trials on our discoveries and the result was exceptional. This was achieved by my clinical colleagues in Italy who believed in our idea, developed in my laboratory in Washington. Everything is based on a technique created and developed directly from a study on mice that we published two years ago and it is amazing that within two years, the results obtained on humans have been so exceptional. This may be the first treatment on cocaine addiction with virtually no side effects. Albeit still at a very preliminary stage, it is working really well and already hundreds of patients are benefiting in these very early experimental stages. No doubt, it is a revolution in the treatment of cocaine addiction. We are talking about human beings, of people who have attempted suicide, people who have children but did nothing else but think about cocaine, their families often destroyed. Instead, we have given these people a way to change their lives, giving them the opportunity to finally get out of this nightmare. â€œThe research work was of course huge and is rooted in a branch of science known as optogenetics, which is undoubtedly the revolution in neuroscience. Optogenetics combines molecular biology, genetics and laser stimulation and is the science that has led us to understand precisely how to intervene in the care of drug addicts. The amazing aspect is that this science can lead to almost immediate applications in humans, a very different experience from pharmaceutical research, where it takes on average 10 years to move from the laboratory to the patient. This is due to the fact that it has been amply demonstrated in recent clinical trials that the application of these techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, has no side effects at all. We would not have been able to conduct such a quick and substantial research had it not been for the strong investment support, from federal funds by the administration of US President Obama. The Brain Activity Map Project counts with $ 300 million a year and is planned for ten years. Thanks
to this, the optogenetics research aims to find final cures for diseases such as Parkinson, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, and even depression and addictions in general, typically through the direct intervention on individual neurons or specific areas of the brain that regulate the functions of the nervous system. “Not only the National Institute of Health, that I direct, but also MIT, Stanford University, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and every major research center in North America are constantly engaged in clinical development on how to apply optogenetics to neurological and psychiatric conditions, depressions, chronic pain and, in general, to nervous system disorders. In general, however, the goal is to complete the mapping of the brain. I would say that, most probably in a few years, we could have many new therapies aimed at healing different diseases affecting the nervous system “Certainly it was not easy to get these results. Since 1995, when I completed my specialization and I had the opportunity to settle here in the US, in San Francisco, the factor for me was consistency. I have not missed a day, if I had the opportunity I did not miss a single minute, anything that I could do, I would devote myself, I threw myself in completely. Well, this has been the constant of my life, a very assiduous, constant commitment. I say this for modesty, it is not that I started here and in three hours, I invented something. Perseverance and hard work every day without losing a minute, giving all I had to give to science, every day in the laboratory, always connected with my students who years later have become so many. It’s all here, so much effort and hard work. I certainly have never felt more intelligent than anyone, and for this I have always worked like crazy.
As Bach used to say ‘I am not better than others, I work harder than others’. “And for me it is exactly and simply so. However, I must say that I have always had a strong passion, a very deep interest in the subject. When I was 12 years old, I was already fascinated by psychiatry, by the complex behavior of human beings! Since the early years of study and research, I have never believed in psychoanalysis as a solution,
but I always believed in neuroscience, in the chemical bases of human behavior. I always wanted to understand, not at the analytical and philosophical level, but on an organic level what determines the complex behavior of human beings. This has always been my game!” “My work as Scientific Director of the National Institute of Health is divided into two full-time commitments: the first is the direction of the entire institution which is a palace of scientists, a neuroscience institute of which I am the Director. I coordinate 30 heads of laboratory, 30 lab directors with their students who are PhD students, with their Post Doctoral Celo, the professionals who have already obtained their PhD or doctors who have already completed their specialization. Then there are all the technicians, all varied staff. Here, as the Director, I am in charge of those 30 laboratories. The second commitment covers the laboratory that I lead, which is one of the 30 laboratories that I oversee. Here I have a total of 20 people, including 4 PhD students and 8 researchers Post Doctoral Celo, who already are doctors or medical specialists or PhD. The latter are like the engine of the laboratory, the center of the lab and around them, there are also technicians and assistants. As Director for the Institute, my work focuses on the long term mission, that is to make available in time the concrete results of my research, conducted worldwide in the field of addiction; and as Director of the laboratory, I must carry out my research in scientific and clinical trials. “In my position, I must constantly make sure to give all the space and resources needed to the people working with me. They are great people, as capable as me or better, so my real concern is to help them, often asking “do you have everything you need?”! They may require a new equipment, I can help with a suggestion, an idea, or discuss how to direct the research; the laboratory is very dependent on the guidelines provided by the laboratory Director and the Institute depends on leadership from the Scientific Director. Without any presumption, what I want to do is teaching them all I can. This is creating a new generation of researchers who have to become much better than me, and the same goes for the administrative staff. I give them all the space that I can to help them, because I am convinced that this is the foundation of the success of the scientific enterprise I run: surrounding myself with people as smart as possible, as or better than me, and them be
their support, providing a platform to help them express all the potential they have. This is the measure of success on the job. A little bit like the orchestra conductor, who does not play instruments but chooses the best people, I support all my collaborators, from the laboratory to the administrative staff of the entire institution, so they are able to express 150 percent what they are. In a sense, it can be said that my position is semi-invisible! “ “To be the scientific director of such an important government institution is still a great opportunity, even from a human point of view. I love that in America, the leader must lead by example, you have to be there and give the best example. I wake up in the morning, wondering what I can do to serve others. They may sound just sweet words, but I really do it. For example, with my students in the lab and the students in the institute, who for me are all my children. And not only with them, even in my relationships with all different levels of management in the institute, the director, the NAH director, my attitude is always the same: education and kindness. I may even publish articles on “Science and Nature”, but for me, the most important thing is actually setting a good example. This is how you create generations of kind, respectful people, because I am convinced that those same guys in the lab one day will behave like you with others. It’s almost an obsession for me to interact in the best way with all the people in my institute, treat everyone equally, giving them the same message. At the end, your example is the only thing you leave behind, not words”. “This PrimiDieci initiative is an example by itself. It is really beautiful. In my opinion, in Italy there is a strong sense of disintegration, lack of goals, especially the younger generation quite often lacks the vision, lacks the dreams, and I think one of the positive aspects of PrimiDieci is that it reunites Italians abroad. It offers the opportunity to people like me, who live outside of Italy, to meet and discuss, because you know, the doctor, the scientist, the banker, everyone is super-channeled in their own lives, in their own four specialties worked upon from morning to night. And this is a wonderful opportunity to build bridges between us, to allow us to exchange information between diverse areas and improve one another. This idea had an absolutely spectacular timing, and I am convinced that it will acquire an increasing importance over time, becoming an essential reference in the future. Just think of the young generation: people like me, who received this recognition,
immediately understand that somehow they must be available for others, particularly young people who, let’s face it, feel the need of a little guidance, hope for future like never before. There is a future, the world is getting smaller, and we as “PrimiDieci”, we acquire a unique position because we can be available to others and with no interest in profit. We can really give a strong support to the new generations. To anyone who wants to have access to our experiences, our mistakes and successes. It is important for us to meet young Italians, or at least Italians who want to have an idea of what the opportunities are, both abroad and in Italy. Not because we are in America, we have to drag Italians here but, because we are Italians or Italian-Americans, we can do a great deal for Italy from here, for example by organizing meetings or seminars, where we can offer our evidence on the positive and negative aspects of emigration and the possible new opportunities at home”. For example, I had just returned to the US from Italy, where we organized for the first time with a dear friend, Franco Monti, an orientation course for students on the fourth year of high school, those who basically have to decide what to do with their life! During the opening, I was able to get in an interview with Nobel laureate Arvid Carlsson, who was also a dear friend, a wonderful person. I had arranged to have the interview in Gothenburg conducted by a high school female student, who was so excited. The course was held in Rimini and it was a success beyond all expectations All the speakers were Italians, as Aldo Parini from Karolinsca and others from Bologna and Potsdam. We only had 80 places available and within an hour of registrations online, eighty kids had already registered! An extraordinary experience that lasted five days, spent in conversations on many types of sciences, not only neurology, and we were there available to them and without any compensation”.
Career Milestones Antonello Bonci is the Scientific Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute of Health, in Washington, D.C. He was a professor on the Department of Neurology if the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), where he held the prestigious chair “Howard J. Weinberg” in Addiction Research. Currently, besides the authoritative position of scientific director of the NIH, professor Bonci is an assistant professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; President of the Scientific Committee of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (Italy), Department for Anti-Drugs Policies; Member of the Scientific Committee for Drug Addiction (United Nations); Member of the American Neurological Association. In these years of a still very young career, he has already received numerous prestigious awards, such as the Jacob Waletzky Award from the Society for Neuroscience (innovative research on addictions), the Daniel Efron Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology; the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity – Italian Republic; the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS) Award; and the European Journal of Neuroscience Award. His scientific training began in Italy with a degree in medicine at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome and an specialization at the School of Neurology at the University of “Tor Vergata” (Rome). He completed his PhD in Biomedical Research at the Vollum Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research (Portland, Oregon, USA). Antonello Bonci is considered today one of the leading researchers in the world in Neuropsychopharmacology, globally known for the breadth of his multidisciplinary studies on the long-term exposure of the brain to drugs. The main objective of the research conducted by Antonello and his laboratory is to understand the synaptic properties of neurons in brain areas involved in the drug addiction, as the ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), and the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The chronic exposure to drugs causes many cellular and behavioral
changes, such as tolerance, dependence, and sensitization. The laboratory directed by Antonello Bonci was the first to prove that the abuse of drugs such as cocaine produces a form of synaptic plasticity defined as Long-Term Strengthening (LTP). The investigations of many years aimed at understanding the basic mechanisms at the synaptic level that cause the long-term effects of these drugs has led to todayâ€™s effective therapeutic strategies for the treatment of related diseases and addictions, caused by the chronic use of such substances.
His family, his passions Is it possible to deal with neuro-science, have the responsibility to manage a research institute with 500 people, to pledge to cure diseases considered completely unbeatable, and have a life on your own? For Antonello, it seems so. As he says, he can do it by relying on all very solid and very capable employees, researchers, doctors, students and assistants. After many years in San Francisco, he was offered the position of Scientific Director of the NIH - National Institute of Health. In order to accept, he had to repack his bags, with the whole family, and move to the East Coast of the United States, to the capital of capitals, Washington, DC. And every evening, punctual as perhaps only a scientist can be, Antonello comes home at 19:30 sharp. Even if the world is falling, at that time he puts the key in and opens the door. The table is laid, little Bianca, his eleven year old daughter, is all sweetness and love and his life companion, his wife Maria Chiara is there. They got married in 1994, less than a year before leaving Italy. They settled together in San Francisco. â€œMy wife, my daughter and helping others are what make me go forward. The only
things that I can think in the morning when I look in the mirror or while driving the car or going to work, is: what can I do to be a better person, to be able to help others a little more? Everything else, honestly, I do not give a damn. I owe to Maria Chiara for everything I’ve done, her confidence gave me the strength, the sacrifices, the separation from family and from Italy that we miss so much, if it were not for my wife and her support, I don’t think I would have done anything of what I achieved in the United States. The family gives you an immense strength, I think of the confidence my parents gave me. They are two simple people, always devoted to their work. When they were young, both were the two oldest children in their respective families, and they were not allowed to study, they could not afford it. They started working when they were eight to keep their parents and siblings. Then one day I arrived, the only child, and without a good understanding of what I was saying, I told them, “Mom, Dad, I want to go to study at the Universitá Cattolica!” They never discouraged me, as a matter of fact they replied “okay, we will find two pennies and we will send you.” Then, one day I said, “Dad, I want to go abroad” and he replied “agreed, and there you go! Antonello, we do not understand exactly who you are, you’re an alien for us, we do not understand you, but we are here, we will do as much as we can to help you, we have a few bucks, if you need them to study, we will give them to you. Want to go to America? We do not understand what you will do, but go to America, we trust you. “Deep down, I don’t think they fully understand, but they believed in me with all their sacrifice. And coincidentally, today I do the same with everyone, with my daughter, with the guys at the lab ... I dedicate myself to them, I support them, where I can encourage them when I can, I give them advice”. On top of all this, as if work, family and dedication to others were not enough, somehow and God knows when, but Professor Bonci even manages to engage in a series of personal passions. The first of them is Bach. Johann Sebastian Bach. Antonello has a real obsession for the famous German composer. And he not only listens to music, he also knows how to play the cello. This is the second of his passions. He blended Bach and cello together for 15 years to learn all the suites of Johann Sebastian. One at a time, a little bit at a time, of course.
Art is the third of his passions, and he lives it in two ways: by collecting the most wanted paintings, and running around every weekend through the antique markets of half America, chasing pieces of exquisite Italian antiques. It may seem rather absurd for an Italian in Italy, but whoever knows America, knows how ancient and modern art, especially Italian, enriches the desks of the sought after antique markets of the most elegant cities in North America. And if you looked for him in the laboratory and could not find him, if you did not find him with the cello or among the antique markets, then start pedaling. But pedal a lot, because Professor Bonci’s fourth passion is bike racing. Not just any bike, but strictly Italian, brought from Italy and with which each weekend he cycles many, many miles at top speed. This is Antonello Bonci, the man who is inside the scientist. The man who lives out his mission of “good example”, the semi-invisible scientific director as he calls himself, the mentor constantly available to young people and dedicated to offer them any best perspective. The family man, loved and very lovable. Meeting and listening to him was my journey of inner analysis, a life lesson to learn from, if the great can be so humble as to make themselves invisible, we small can, must do the miracle of our life every day.
For Antonello Bonci, Beauty is “simply being alive. Be there and be surrounded by my wife and my daughter, who give me the joy of helping others. Life, my wife, my daughter, and my parents, helping others: this is beauty for me. The beauty of being”.
The Letter to the Young by Antonello Bonci
ernad Show said “blessed the convinced, they will be the last to know.” He was probably right.
I’ve always been focused like a train, I asked myself why and how. I knew what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be. But as I always say, whether we know it or not, it is essential not to be afraid to jump ahead, to focus on as “a train”. Go as it goes. Never be afraid to pursue an opportunity, wherever, wherever it leads you. Because everything in the end goes as it should. If you have the perfect opportunity to stay in Italy, stay in Italy! If the opportunity for what you want to be is in Australia, the North Pole, in Russia or Canada, go .... Do not be afraid, don’t think of the world as in black and white, either remain in Italy or fail. Think instead about what you want to be and go find the place in the world that allows you to be who you want to be. Do not be afraid to show your enthusiasm for your passions, and to seek help from people who have already made your path. And if the opportunity drives you to leave Italy, do not be afraid to leave to follow your instincts and desires, and come back when you decide to. Similarly, do not be afraid to remain in Italy, if you want to change it from within. Do not be afraid to believe in your dreams because they can achieved, even if often they require so much effort and perseverance. At least it did for me. Help others, because you will find many people who will help you. Do not be afraid to say, do and think about simple things (like these that I just wrote) because the lack of common sense and reflection often makes you get lost on the road.
The world is small, and is waiting for you.
Martha De Laurentiis
Movie and TV Producer - Los Angeles, CA She created the De Laurentiis Company (DDLC) with her husband Dino. In the last 35 years, she has produced or co-produced more than 40 movies and miniseries, including: ‘Breakdown’, ‘Hannibal’ and ‘Red Dragon’; fortv: the famous show ‘Hannibal’. Ongoing productions: the ‘Barbarella’show for Gaumont International TV and Canal Plus; the ‘Gateway Frederik Pohl’ show; The Seventh Day; a remake of the series ‘Sandman Slim’.
Through the De Laurentiis Company she has created and manages directly 3 international movie studios:
• “Screen Gem Studios”, Wilmington, North Carolina - USA • Warner Bros. Village Roadshow Studios, Gold Coast - Australia • CLA-De Laurentiis Studios, Ouarzazate - Marocco
Martha De Laurentiis Dino, a person who was love.
Martha is not Italian, and the recognition of “PrimiDieci Awardee” is for Italians or people who have Italian origins. Martha is American to the core. The beauty of rules is that there are exceptions, and Martha is the nicest exception that we could do. Beautiful because she herself is beautiful, inside and outside, but also beautiful because in honoring Martha, we want to honor a woman with an energy, sympathy, joy, and unparalleled business acumen who continues over time the work of her husband Dino. Dino passed away a few years ago, on November 10th 2010, and he took with him the glory of the powerful Italian style in Hollywood. He had created it, he spread it, and he publicized the quality of Italian cinema in the world. Thanks to him, starved talented actors became world stars, Dino could do all this, even though, unfortunately, he had to leave his country. The protagonist of the history of Italian and international cinema since the early 50s, Dino De Laurentiis had wings so large that a bureaucratized country and long as a boot was too tight, Italy as magnificent as he himself acknowledged, bound their wings to all, without distinction. Telling the value and the cultural and social importance of Dino De Laurentiis’ work over 60 years of famous film productions would be very long and is not really the point of this story. Recognizing that his work, his commitment, his integrity and professional principles and values are still alive and are valued daily by his wife, so this is the goal of this story and the “PrimiDieci” recognition for the talented Martha De Laurentiis. Let’s honor the exceptions then, honor her who is not properly Italian but who treasures our cultural heritage, our values and our language in raising their family, educating their daughters, and developing their work. Martha speaks Italian perhaps even better than me, born and raised. Blonde and radiant as the sun, always smiling as if life was only joy, when she stands there and looks at you, it is hard to tell her age. She has that timeless beauty and elegance that transmits a surprising simplicity of manners. You admire so much her human quality, that allows her to be able to face the duties of business life as well as the everyday family life with an always positive philosophy, always looking for the improvement of herself and of those who surround her. This is Martha De Laurentiis, the Martha I have had the pleasure to know and the honor to listen to.
How I became who I am “I am a lucky woman because I married a very intelligent man. I was married to a man who understood what love was, who understood the quality of life and knew what respect was. Having these qualities, to understand what it means to respect one another, both in marriage and at work, as well as in any other kind of relationship, to me this means doing Bingo! Having learned all this from Dino, a person who was love, he knew what respect was and he knew how to prove it, this is the best you can expect from your partner. Respect is essential, receiving the same respect that you give to others without ever being hurt, it is the balance of life. “When we were together, Dino realized that what he valued the most was being able to count on the security of having a healthy loving life with me and our daughters Carolyna and Dina. He was aware of the importance of the family he had had before us, and at the same time he took immense care that we would want for nothing, if anything would have happened. In the 80s, his production company had to declare bankruptcy so he lost almost everything, at that point he did not stop until he was able to ensure our safety again. His goal was not economic wealth, but to be able to provide for us no matter what happened, that is the kind of human being he was.
He wanted to be remembered by us not as the “Great Dino” but as the person who cared for us, who loved us. Whatever he did, he did it from his heart, and that is what I want my daughters to seek in their partners. “Our relationship started in 1980, when I was working in the accounting department for the production of the film ‘Ragtime’, with director Milos Forman. The shooting was completed in the streets of New York and New Jersey, as well as other parts shot in Shepperton Studios in the UK. I worked in the productions of Dino for about three years,
taking care of other films for him as well. At that time, the most important thing I will always remember is the confidence that he showed to me. He had a lot of confidence in how the work was done. From there our relationship was born, based on trust. I already had experience, because I had worked in New York in the accounting department for a production of a television show since 1976, and my job was bookkeeping. That job catapulted me into a world that was unknown to me; coming from Ohio, I knew nothing of the film industry and, of course, I was fascinated. In the ‘70s, New York was very busy and so it happened that movie after movie, I graduated from college and worked with different casts. The more I worked, the more I liked to focus on accounting, I have always found it the heart of the entire production. The economic aspect is essential because, like in any other business, it all starts there and ends there. You know when you have to spend money, or whether you need to turn to someone as an investor, then you must be able to explain why this money was spent and why. It is a constant confrontation with the producer, to whom you have to account for it in order to understand how much the project will cost. “On his side, Dino had always been involved in all aspects of management of the company to produce the films. As a matter of fact, I do the same today, and for a successful production, the most important thing always is to have an excellent script. Our job is not to write the screenplays for television or cinema, it is essential for us to count on excellent writers. Scripts that when you take them to the big screen as a film can be of interest and hit today’s audience. Since we are not the screenwriters,
we have to understand, interpret the tastes of the public, what fascinates the audience, to better define what film or television product will be successful. In order to get a good story, for the most part we head for the books, and reading the book, you realize if the story has value and if so, then you will need to turn it into something very enticing to the general public. It is the process, you have to know how to bring out of the story the mes-
sage the writer wants to give, in order to get it on television or on the big screen. The goal is to create a product that can cross the borders of your country, which is suitable to the international public. This is why all the work of market research is so important. “Success is then based on excellent written work. It can be a piece of a story, an idea that comes from an article that was read in Time or the Economist, regardless what it is, it needs to have a heart, to be touching, a story that somehow relates to the person that wrote it. You have to meet several screenwriters, so you can realize the diversity of methods, the different quality of work. Just because you have already worked with one you liked, you cannot say ‘oh, he is the perfect screenwriter and he has the perfect idea’, no! It is not so simple. It takes time to read, understand and then judge the work of the screenwriter, it is equally important to have confidence in your own judgment, so you’ll know if that job can be transformed to the screen successfully. “Therefore, the important factors are the right idea, the right material and being able to bring out the best from the script, if you know that you have a great job in front of you. It is a bit like throwing the dice, it seems that the thing will not work, and then it works. Maybe it seems that the role is fantastic and wonderful, and then it is not! The issue here is that in truth, at least in my experience, really good writers are rare; there is real talent out there, but it is not so widespread as one might think. “Dino was exceptional in this as well. He had an incredible vision capacity. Anyway,
he always regretted having to leave Italy in the early 70s, but he realized that it was unequivocally a market too bureaucratic. He had plans for major international motion pictures, but he could not find funding for them. He would not stop, did not want to give up, he knew he could do more. He knew he could develop his projects, he was convinced that if he had the right funding, he could produce fabulous movies counting on directors and actors of international renown. He had the vision for epic films! As it is known, he was able to achieve all this the United States.
“The De Laurentiis Company today is always committed to constantly maintain my husband’s work philosophy, that vision and quality. We often say that our productions are of high quality, but I am convinced that in our industry, there is a kind of quality and other types of quality. Surely we do not put our name on everything that comes to us, it must be something of value, that we feel has a particular value. “There is no doubt that making an excellent work in film or television is exciting and highly satisfactory. All the people who work with us are deeply involved. If you just think of how many people have worked on our productions, how many people’s lives were changed to the better by Dino, by his love for the art of making movies, by his constant dedication. He was a person who was busy and never gave up, he had the ability to read people at a glance by just observing them. He always full of energy and people felt it, and got inspired by his example. For me, being in this field for forty years, I got to know many people, a multitude of people that we introduced to this film world and many of them later established themselves with great success. Since then, their lives have changed and this continues to happen every day. I myself am one of them, even my life changed working with Dino, I am very grateful, and I thank God every day for everything I have learned from his love and his way of working.
“I am grateful and I feel very fortunate t o have worked with my husband. My role was to help ensure that Dino helped Dino, to make Dino to continue to be successful. He was a force, absolutely, and no one could tell him what to do, he knew how to manage himself, he always solved every problem with the goal of making his dreams a reality. And we can say that he was very successful! When we got together, he was about 65 years old, by then already established himself as producer but immediately I realized how it was even more important for him to have a family and have it together. When our daughters arrived, he lived that moment a little like a second youth, so really magnificent. Although life changed when I had to spend a lot of time with the girls, however, we were
able to spend a lot of time together and we were lucky, because our house was very close to the offices. The girls were very young and we went home even at mid-day, to spend with them the afternoon nap, and take advantage of this break to concentrate on reading scripts. Then they reached school age, for example I was always home by the time they came back from school, I wanted them to know that that if they needed me, I was always there. We always spent the holidays together and, even during business trips, if it was worthwhile, they were always with us. For example, if we needed to choose a location for a movie, the girls were traveling with us. And always in Italian! Since they were young, we have always spoken Italian with them and still I speak only Italian with my daughters”.
Career Milestones It is okay that Marta to be the wife of the legendary Dino Laurentiis, a true icon of Italian and world cinema, but this film producer with unstoppable success also has a name of her own and is Schumacher. Martha Schumacher was born in Ohio, in the beautiful area of the Great American Lakes. Since she was a girl, she has always been a specific person, a born manager, who believes that in her life, her talent would eventually take her to contribute to ambitious companies, to people capable of great achievements. She worked on film productions already in the mid 70s, working on accounting, the heart of everything as she calls it. In the early 80s, she started working in New York for the Dino De Laurentiis Company during the production of the wonderful film ‘Ragtime’, by Milos Forman. And then she met Agostino (Dino) De Laurentiis and the love between the two was inevitable. And she is capable, of impeccable precision and skills, and she is also so beautiful, but above all also soon she became very loved. So beloved that the union between the two became formal, soon it became marriage. Married since 1983, their love story has always been exciting and founded on mutual unconditional trust. A relationship that brought the two of them not only to restructure the
company after a past of extraordinary successes and deep failures, but even restart it more glorious than before. Until today, there are about 40 major productions created by the De Laurentiis Company in the last period, that is since the talented Martha took the reins. The list of successful productions in these last 35 years is endless and it can be found easily on the Web, but it is worth to recall the most recent international successes, films like Breakdown, Hannibal and Red Dragon, or the famous television show ‘Hannibal’. Under the direct supervision of Martha, the De Laurentiis Company has recently built three major international film studios: the ‘Screen Gem Studios’ in Wilmington, North Carolina; the Warner Bros. Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, Australia; and the CLA-De Laurentiis Studios in Ouarzazate, Morocco. The heart of the De Laurentiis Company has always been and remains within the Universal Pictures in Hollywood, the operational headquarters from which Martha continues the production of the now famous television show ‘Hannibal’ for the national television network NBC, as well as numerous other film and TV productions film, including the show ‘Barbarella’ with Nicolas Winding Refn for Gaumont International TV and Canal Plus; a serial based on the novel ‘Gateway Frederik Pohl’; a film called The Seventh Day; and a new production based on the serial ‘Sandman Slim’ by Richard Kadrey.
The Letter to my Daughters (and to all young women) by Martha De Laurentiis
ear Carolyna and Dina,
Often I’m asked, “What makes a good producer?” Your father had a funny sound-bite answer, “The three C’s. Cervello, cuore, and coglioni.” Head, heart, and balls. It’s certainly not wrong, but whether it’s because I’m a woman, or born American, I feel like the answer today is a lot more complicated: to make peace with the never-ending struggle to reconcile conflicting demands, hone your instincts, and embrace that uncertainty to fuel your ambitions. The business of entertainment is not quite like any other, because it’s one solely of prototypes. Each movie, every show, is different, and as much as Hollywood may seem to be dependent on sequels and formulas, success can never be replicated in exactly the same way. I’m so proud that you’ve each found other passions to pursue. But I wonder if maybe some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way might be useful to you. Keep your eyes on the big picture, but sweat the right small stuff. In almost any managerial job, there’s an endless amount of productive work that needs to be done, but your real job is to keep pushing forward the big things that drive the business and the bottom line, to provide vision and enthusiasm, and to assemble a talented team that’s supporting that vision and helping move things in the right direction. Micromanagers are never beloved, and rarely achieve any proportion of return on their busy-ness. But, as a producer, the buck also needs to stop with you. When I was starting in the film business, that “buck” was literal. I met your Papa by working in the accounting department on his film, RAGTIME in 1980. First thing ev-
ery morning, we went over the cost reports of the previous day and week on whatever movies were in production. We figured out, department by department, budget line by budget line, whether we were on target, or hopefully even better than target. Nothing is ever perfectly as expected, and when there were discrepancies, I needed to have an answer for why there was a discrepancy, and whether that discrepancy was indicative of a deeper problem on the show. Then, we’d go beyond the objective numbers and talk about whether the money we were spending was showing up on the screen and whether that ultimately was working creatively. It was amazing training 35 years ago, and it’s a process that still needs to be done on every show, even if my role in it is different. Similarly, you don’t want to take on people’s jobs or unnecessarily hover over their shoulders, but you need to recognize when you do need to intervene and take the reins. Your father worked with some of the most gifted directors in the world and held them in almost godlike esteem, yet he refused to ever contractually give up final cut on a film. There are points when you need to go through a script line by line with a writer, or even take a red pen to it yourself. There are moments when you need to sit down in the editing room and roll up your sleeves. Letting gifted teammates do their job with minimal supervision, but correctly identifying those moments to step in is the essence of being a good producer, and more broadly, a good manager. Follow your passion, but see the market clearly. In every business, the breakthrough idea is the one that no one else is seeing. Following the little tickle at the back of your brain is not a recipe for sure success, but it is a way of staying excited about coming in to work every day, and most of the really big successes come from these gambles. Whether in terms of entertainment, products, or services, we live in a busy, noisy world, and the ideas that make you passionate are much more likely to get traction from complete strangers. But, you have to know yourself -- and the market -- well enough to make smart gambles.
So many people’s passions are too specific to connect widely. I have a fondness for classic noir private investigator stories, but I recognize that most of the viewing audience finds that old-fashioned in an off-putting way. I haven’t yet heard a take on how to reinvigorate that genre that has a real shot of breaking through. Conversely, when we first announced doing HANNIBAL for television, there was a collective groan from people who follow entertainment news. There’s real exhaustion in the all the remakes out there. However, my instinct was that the source material had an enduring richness that hadn’t been fully mined, and I knew that fans of the books had a hunger for Thomas Harris’ world and characters that hadn’t been fully sated by the CSI’s and CRIMINALS MINDS of the world. And, I didn’t sign off on doing it until I found a showrunner who saw that same potential, and was insistent on doing it in a way that was fresh and compelling. That process -- of honing your instincts, admitting when something you love doesn’t connect, and evaluating why it didn’t connect -- can be painful, but it’s necessary. No one can see the future, but keeping your childlike enthusiasm and sense of wonder alive, while acknowledging where and why you’ve been wrong in the past is a lifelong journey, one that keeps you relevant. Be bold and put on a good show, but always tell the truth. A producer needs to drive a project, and so much of it involves inspiring enthusiasm and confidence. No one was a better showman than your father, and since he has passed, I have worked to find my own personal pitching style independent from him. Selling the sizzle and telling a fantastic pitch that captures the greatest potential is the heart of the job. In this business, however, there are a significant number of people who create enthusiasm not only by being excited and optimistic, but by telling outright lies. They often have meteoric rises, but always flame out quickly.
Business is about relationships, and respect and trust are inseparable. Your father often told the story of his first film… to filmmakers, heads of state, powerbrokers of industry, dinner guests, business partners, even his shoeshine man. After the war, Papa learned that the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro was lending money to filmmakers to reboot the industry. He went in to pitch a movie and ask for money from an important banker, Pacciani, who was about to retire. While Dino had never produced before, Pacciani liked the pitch… and handed Dino papers to document his collateral. Dino had not a penny in his pocket, and he told Pacciani outright: his only collateral was his face. Pacciani thanked him for coming and said that his office would call. Papa never expected an answer but to his surprise, he was called back. Pacciani told him that no one had ever, ever, offered their face as collateral. And, in fact, he trusted Papa’s face and would loan him the money. Papa went on to make the film, bicycle the print to theaters and two months before the loan was due, he paid it back in full. But you won’t always succeed, and you’ll need that trust and goodwill. When Papa’s ambitious financing and distribution company, the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group, collapsed in the late 1980s, the numerous financing arrangements and arrays of movie and distribution deals were too complicated for any one individual to fully understand. Dino’s mantra was to always tell the truth, and always admit when he didn’t know something. I quickly saw how right he was. If we hadn’t told the truth at every step, we couldn’t have possibly kept our stories straight. In turn, we were treated respectfully by the bankers. And, while the setback was massive, we emerged with reputations intact, and we were able to rebuild our business as producers.
The world is a complicated place today, and getting meaningful things done requires sizing up the landscape with unsentimental eyes, while nurturing your passion and always putting in the hard work. To never let the push and pull of the day leave you paralyzed or accomplishing only the bare minimum. Any job that’s worth your commitment requires so much of your life and effort; at the end of the day, all you really have to show for it is what you’ve personally achieved there. Luck is a factor in every field of endeavor – probably none more than entertainment - but focusing on what you’re adding and creating, ends up making your future opportunities. Buona fortuna! I love you, Mom
For Martha De Laurentiis, Beauty is “the light coming from inside, your inner light ”.
Frank G. Mancuso, Sr.
Former Chairman & CEO of Paramount Pictures and MGM Studios - Los Angeles, CA • Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures (35 years) • Chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn Mayer (6 years) • Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture & Television Fund (current)
The most acclaimed movie and TV successes during his tenure: Top Gun; Fatal Attraction; The Untouchables; The Hunt for Red October; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Crocodile Dundee; Santo; The Godfather III; The Addams Family; the Indiana Jones series; Beverly Hills Cop; Star Trek; Stargate; Species; Get Shorty; Leaving Las Vegas; The Birdcage; Ronin; The Thomas Crown Affair; and the return of the “James Bond” franchise with Golden Eye; Tomorrow Never Dies; and The World is not Enough. Some of his TV successes: Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek; The Next Generation; Entertainment Tonight; The Arsenio Hall Show. He partnered with Universal Studios & MCA to build the “USA” cable network (one of themost watched cable networks in the USA); He created the Paramount Broadcast Group with the acquisition of 6 TVX TV stations. He established an international theatrical exhibition circuit, United Cinemas International, in conjunction with MCA, with theaters in England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Spain.
Frank Mancuso Teamwork and total availability: my principles as President of Studios.
The beating heart of Hollywood during the last 40 years was pulsed by Mancuso. Yet I wonder how many out of the â€œworldâ€? of cinema have ever heard the name. How many in Italy or elsewhere know that behind the most popular Hollywood movies there was almost always Frank. Al Pacino, Barbara Streisand, Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron, Kevin Costner, Angelina Jolie, Sean Penn, Richard Gere and countless others, who does not know them? Even the fish and dolphins in the ocean know who they are. But, aside from the Hollywood circle, tell me who knows who Frank Mancuso is. Beautiful blue eyes that you would like to stick on to your loved one, an armored face, always between serious and just smiling, a level of professionalism and morality as rare as gold in the desert, this is the first impression that you get from Mr. Mancuso. The man who, (in) all of our current era, has been the president of Paramount Pictures for 35 years, and Metro-Goldwyn Mayer for other 6. Now ask who has not worked for him, instead of what actors and actresses have done it. And the count will show that you can count with little more than a hand the actors and actresses known to all of us who have not worked under contract for Frank Mancuso. I am one of those who live the world of film exactly like that the theater, like a fairy tale, as that inexistent place where thoughts and concerns are suspended, left out of the door, and there is only me inside the story. Current, ancient, beautiful or even ugly, it is still the magic where I want to go in, and do not interrupt me! As if I were a sleepwalker who must not be wakened up, I could kill when asked a question during an exciting scene, I might curse those who bring me back to Earth, who stops the moment reminding me that Iâ€™m just living a fairy tale. Just ask my wife or my children: should they try to ask me questions during a movie, should they try to break that spell where I dive in without brakes, without embarrassment and with a hand drowning between snacks or popcorn. So getting to know Frank Mancuso, to talk to the author of those fairy tales, the one who decides the form,
substance, timing and content of the magic that continues to charm me all my life, well it was like finding myself in the middle world. Not the ground, but neither paradise, where I hope to end up as late as possible. But the world of magic indeed. That place that you know does not exist and yet somehow you find yourself living it because thatâ€™s what you want. A place embodied by a man who turned out completely different from the imagined person, once you get to know him and listen to him in real life. After all, fairy tales apart of course, you can imagine the president of Paramount Pictures taken by a thousand passions, overwhelmed by a thousand distractions, involved in endless gossip. In short, all those who want to become somebody court him, in order to get the part of many scripts, the scripts that he examines daily with his team. So, you can imagine him surrounded by a bevy of subjects at court, and he who escapes to the closed walls of his villa in Beverly Hills, listens to blaring classical music and dives into the pool on the transparent mat with lots of green palm trees. And there, finally alone, he puts on large sunglasses and swallows a tropical cocktail. Although there is no doubt that there is some affinity between him and these characters who are drawn to Southern California in infinite numbers, if you know Frank Mancuso, you know he does not sound remotely like one of them. Morality, family values, a rigorous professional training and being constantly at the service of its team, Frank is the substance and consistency that are the essential structure to the world of celluloid. PrimiDieci Society is honored to have appointed he and his wife Faye among the â€œPrimiDieci 2016â€?, for their well-known professional merits of course, but also for the values of Frank the man, his wife Faye, for their wonderful life together, for their constant dedication to the family. Frank Mancuso, a loving husband before anything else, a careful and devoted father, a fond and always available grandfather.
How I became who I am “Every Sunday, at four in the afternoon, our two children, Maria and Frank Jr., along with all our grandchildren, come to visit us here at home in Los Angeles. It ‘a regular event, every week we meet on Sunday afternoon and have dinner together, and it is the most important opportunity to share all our moments, we try to talk, to communicate and help each other. It is also a way to teach the family values to our children and grandchildren, values that Faye and I learned when we were children. I am an only child and I remember well that my whole family, cousins, parents, did everything they could so I understood the importance of the value of spending time together often. The importance of supporting one another, because in this way you become individually stronger, making decisions together, in consultation with all of us, which lead to be better, to do things better. “Later when I began my career in the entertainment industry, I immediately realized that I was acting according to those same teachings lived in the family,
I passed on that sense of security and the importance of tackling decisions together as a team. I have always maintained this approach, either during my first jobs, and later when President of Studios, I have constantly tried to create the right environment for people to grow, learn and understand. I used to say to employees that you should always take the ‘right decision’, but you know this is not easy because in the real world, there isn’t always the right decision and it is normal to make mistakes. So, I always insisted on the debate. I always told them that if at any time there were an indecision, anytime they realized that a mistake had been made, they had to talk to me about it right away, because that was my purpose. I told them “this is why I’m here. I’m here to support you, so if you make a mistake, come to me at once, do not try to fix it on your own because you can make the situation worse. Come to me, tell me, and there are no problems, I can help
you!” My management team at the studios, of course, knew they had more work experience among them, and we insisted on make them feel always at ease in dealing with us as much as possible. These are the kinds of values I tried to instill in the Paramount and MGM organizations during all those years, and I think they were appreciated, as can be inferred from the comments I often received from people, even now that I am retired.” “It must be said that not a day passes that I do not think about how lucky I am. I have done a magnificent job that is exactly what I dreamed since childhood. I can say that I have truly lived my dream! It was such a dream, that even today I would jump out of bed to run in the Studio!
The most amazing part was working every day with creative people, and that happened as early as my first job in the company Alafia, in Buffalo, and then throughout my career in the entertainment industry. The ability to create something having nothing more than an idea, an opportunity to create something that would remain for posterity, maybe forever ..., to work with people like that was the most exciting part of my career. The bond with them, to share their time and responsibilities, since as, it happens in any job, there were always problems, to face them has always been very exciting “The passion for show business started the first time I saw a stage. As a child, I lived in Buffalo and Saturday afternoon I happened to go to a theater, where they made different performances; I remember that I was captivated, observing what was happening on stage. I looked at these people who played and led those stories before the public and it gave me wonderful emotions. As you know. Buffalo is in the area of Niagara Falls, and it is very cold in the winter, then you go around wearing many layers, coats, gloves and everything else, and I still remember this story indelibly: when I arrived in the theater, I was so taken by what was happening on stage that I forgot I have a head! In short, I took off my jacket and gloves, and every time I left them there, and then did not remember where I had left them. One day my mother - who by the way was one of the sweetest people in
the world - she said “Frank, if you lose another hat or another pair of gloves or another scarf, you will not go to the theater again”. That was a lesson I had to learn: from that day, every time I went to the theater, before sitting down I turned around with my back to the screen and took off my coat, gloves, scarf and hat, and with meticulous attention, I would organize everything so I would not lose anything.
I could not risk to be forbidden to go to the theater! There, that was the time when I started falling in love with show business and I was so caught up that I had no doubt; in my life, I only wanted to work in that sector. I did not necessarily think to be an actor, but something that was still connected to the world of entertainment. Later on, I tried to get a job in that same small theater but, fortunately, there was no place for me. I say fortunately because then I got a job at Alafia, which was a film production company that was two or three blocks from the theater, and it was thanks to this first job that I started my whole career. From there I went to Paramount Pictures, which had a distribution branch in Buffalo and later we moved to Toronto, Canada, where I spent five years dealing with the Canadian activities of Paramount. “Along my journey, I also have always had the good fortune to be able to count on an extraordinary force.
A force that was given to me, and has been given to me every day of my life until today, by the love I share with my wife Faye. We met when we were 12 and we grew up together in every sense, every step we have made in our lives, we did it together. We got married very young, we were 22 and, since then, she has always supported me, she has always been very helpful also at work, when there were very difficult moments, she always did everything she could to help me. We have been together for 58 years and we have a wonderful loving relationship, there is a really strong ‘chemistry’ between us.
â€œA marriage that began our journey together, step by step, and that has never lacked love and mutual respect, something that obviously allowed us to move forward in these 58 years tackling challenges of all kinds, in every sector, but always together. The bond is so strong that we have always overcome all tests, and we are still here ... brilliant and passionate! â€œIn my job, I had to travel often and Faye has always supported me in this, together we traveled everywhere. And when the children came, to me the true sacrifice was to be apart from her and from them. I could not stand being away from family, even if it was for an hour or for a month, and my wife understood that. Sometimes, she followed me on the road when some of our parents could stay with the children, but when it was not possible, I traveled alone and I repeat, it was a great sacrifice to stay away from them. Today, they are adults and are happy and successful in what they do, Mary is a very good mother and high fashion designer, while Frank Jr., who is also a wonderful parent, has an independent production house in film and television.
My strong sense of family undoubtedly comes from my being Italian. â€œBoth my father and my mother were born in Buffalo, as I am, and my two children, but my grandparents, the mother and father of my father were both born in Sicily. This issue of origins is essential for me and my family here in America, so much so that last year I made everyone a nice gift, including myself! It was an extraordinary experience: I brought my entire family in Sicily, there were 12 of us, with my wife, my two children, and my grandchildren. At this point of my life is very important, especially for my grandchildren who were born and raised in Beverly Hills ..., to know our origins, from where it all started. They need to learn about the courage their great-grandparents had, the courage to leave a country where they did not have a great future and then the enormous sacrifices they endured to move and settle in America. It is important that my children and grandchildren know well that all they have today, and all that will follow, was started
by their great-grandparents in their two towns: Valledolmo, where my grandfather came from, a town near Palermo, and Calton, the village of my grandmother, also in the province of Palermo. So one day last year, we got together to Palermo, where we waited for a guide that I had booked who picked us up at the airport; from there, we started the holiday that took us around Sicily, including Taormina. We visited beautiful places and, of course, first of all we visited the towns of origin of my grandparents and told my grandchildren the story of their lives, which were not always easy. While we were in Sicily, we also got together with my dear friends, brothers Jack and Tonino Dragon who have a chain of restaurants in Los Angeles. Their family is originally from Galati Mamertino, in the province of Messina, and were there during our holiday in Sicily. They made me a wonderful surprise birthday party. Practically everybody, my family, their families, the inhabitants of the town -is a very small town- went to my party, over a hundred! A truly wonderful, very beautiful experience, and it seems my own grandchildren have treasured it, because I am told that they still talk about it”.
Career Milestones Frank Mancuso’s career has been simply brilliant. Since that communication with which he began in the field of entertainment, his experience spans four decades and came to the leadership of Paramount Pictures Corporation and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc. During his 35 year presidency at Paramount, he brought memorable movie triumphs such as Top Gun, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Crocodile Dundee, Fatal Attraction, The Untouchables, The Hunt for Red October, Santo, The Godfather III, The Addams Family and historical films such as the Indiana Jones series, Beverly Hills Cop and Star Trek. There were also many successful television productions, including Cheers, Family Ties, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Entertainment Tonight and The Arsenio Hall Show. And if it is true that do more and do better is the foundation of Frank Mancuso’s person-
al and professional philosophy, then we must also remember his achievements outside the purely film and television industry: in the same period of his presidency in Paramount, he collaborated with Universal Studios & MCA to create the network cable “USA”, which became one of the most-watched networks in the United States. He founded Paramount Broadcast Group with the acquisition of six TVX television stations. He created the United Cinemas International, an international network of movie theaters in collaboration with MCA, with theaters in the US, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Spain. After leaving Paramount, he was appointed president of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he devoted himself to its revival, and obtained absolute success, both in the film and television sectors. This new experience earned him other extraordinary successes in a few years, both from the critical and commercial standpoints, with films such as Stargate, Species, Get Shorty, Leaving Las Vegas, The Birdcage, Ronin and The Thomas Crown Affair. Between the 90s and early 2000s, he was the one who brought back the much-heralded new film series of “James Bond” with Golden Eye; Tomorrow Never Dies; The world is not enough. Furthermore, it is under his leadership that MGM acquired Orion Pictures Corporation and PolyGram Filmed Entertainment. After six years, he decided to conclude his tenure to retire, Frank did so after having completed the historic task of transforming the studio into a public company. Although he went through a breathless life of professional commitments, Frank Mancuso has always given time and contributions to non-profit organizations, in some way related to the film and television industry. Often as a board member or as directly responsible, Mr. Mancuso is dedicated to institutions such as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, the Variety Clubs International, the Will Rogers Memorial Fund (affiliated with the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center), the Sundance Film Institute, the Television and Radio Museum, the Motion Picture Pioneers and the American Film Institute, of which he was president for ten years. In March 2007, he was elected Chairman of the Board for the prestigious Geffen Playhouse. He was also honored by the American Jewish Committee as Man of the Year in 1985 and in 1987, he was named “Motion Picture Pioneer of the Year.” In 1991, he was named “Man of the Year” by the UJA-Federation’s Entertainment Industries Division. For
his many contributions to the field of international entertainment, in 1997 he was awarded the Medal of Merit from the City of Paris; in 1998, he was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and, in the same year, with the Women in Film Mentor Award for his contribution to women’s careers in the entertainment industry. In 2001, he received the Jack Webb award from the Los Angeles Police Historical Society for the merits of his whole career, and in 2010, he in received a “star” on the “Italian Walk of Fame “in Toronto, Canada, always for the exceptional merits of his career. He also received a career recognition in 2011 from the prestigious Italian American Foundation NIAF (National Italian-American Foundation). Since January 2003, Frank Mancuso took over as chairman of the Corporate Board of the Motion Picture & Television Fund, a non-profit foundation established in 1921 that provides financial support, health care, social services and housing for disadvantaged people in the film industry.
For Frank G. Mancuso, Beauty is “it comes from the heart, it is what gives joy to your soul and inspiration to your heart. Beauty make you feel well”.
The Letter to the Young by Frank G. Mancuso, Sr.
believe that achieving success in any field depends on many factors and conditions. Some of which are under your control and others are not.
However, in order to improve your chances of success, you need to have knowledge of the industry you choose, and there must be a deep passion. A passion that needs to be added to other factors, such as a strong energy, perseverance and strength, everything useful for the long journey of your career. Often not easy. By rooting your career on that foundation, it will help you to recognize the qualities in the people you meet, you will be working with, talented people who will support you in getting the best success you expect. As a leader I have always held to strong moral values. I have always considered them very important. They generate respect for those who wish to follow your lead and allow you to be perceived as a open, available, honest and reliable person. Features and values are extremely important in creating a solid and stable foundation for a person who seeks to personal professional, and business success.
KKR - Kohlberg Kravis Roberts USA, General Manager - New York, NY
• Responsible for Family Office Coverage and Strategic Relationship Management Group, within the Investment Banking Division at worldwide level • Responsible for the sectors Publishing and Information Services and Theatrical Exhibition – within the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) Group • Co-Head of Firmwide Women’s Networkin Goldman Sachs Previous positions in Goldman Sachs: • Responsible for the recruitment, development and mentoring programs • Merrill Lynch International - London, Mergers & Acquisitions Group • McKinsey & Company - New York
Monica Mandelli Victory is never final and defeat is never fatal: what counts is courage.
There are people in this world who devote their lives, a good chunk of their lives, to make the rich richer. Normal people usually get enraged by this. Who would not get irritated by the idea that the rich want to be even richer and richer. Then I think. Unless the rich hoard all that wealth in their fortresses, as Scrooge McDuck does in his large vault full of huge glittering coins ready to dive in, the great economic wealth of some in some way, albeit very indirectly, does good to all. Nothing is created, nothing is lost, everything is transformed, explained celebrated chemist Antoine Lavoisier in 1778 and more recently Albert Einstein, the genius of geniuses of the 20th century and of all ages. So the economy, wealth is changing hands. Wealth creates goods and creates jobs. It creates opportunities and creates wealth. Definitely wealth with hiccups, and also very sharp, but still a wealth distributed in different areas of the earth, which is there to be pilfered. Following, managing, optimizing the great capitals of the wealthiest families in the world is a global responsibility for a woman in the heart of Wall Street, who happens to be Italian. A person who has nothing of venal, let alone any evident traits of the seemingly brilliant great managers of high finance. And to know her and to discover that she is fully occupied by commitments in non-profit organizations, fundraising for the children of disadvantaged families across the world, well that too in itself, is disconcerting. It is a surprise that you live with the pleasure of proving wrong a preconception, which comes to your head with a thud, as would Remo say, the driver of the Hermitage minibus that I took as a child in Maremma Toscana to go to the beach.
In my conversations with Monica, I met a woman who uses the global economic empire to do good deeds, which helps to make it run far and is motivated by a sincere, profound communal sense. I understood how assisting the rich, making them feel even better thanks to his work, does good directly and indirectly to me and all the regular people of this world. No, I have understood more. I understood the human value of this exciting Managing Director, the woman to whom the most affluent families in the world entrust their heritage, thanks for almost twenty years of dedication to Goldman Sachs (17 years) and even more so today, since this year she moved to what it is considered the most prestigious of the big investment companies in the world, KKR. I happily broke to pieces those easy convictions, although quite human, that whoever moves capital and is involved in major business empires can only have the coldness and the substance of a large, sturdy marble slab. Other than marble, here I met a woman who leads moral and business battles for the professional respect of the female sex. I discovered dedication to humanitarian operations that are secretly hidden in her amiable discretion. I heard a woman talk about shyness, oddities, of smallness and humility, a mother completely dedicated to the four people in her life, her children Michelangelo, Manfredi and Maddalena and her husband Marco. Here, displaced and surprised, happy for this new life lesson, I sink into the comfortable velvety green chair and I will let her own words tell her story, to make herself known for the extraordinary woman she really is.
How I became who I am “I have always been convinced that by moving money around, the big capital, it contributes to global growth. That money is put to work by investing in manufacturing companies, growing companies, in companies that provide jobs. Those people who do finance, mostly they do it with the goal of putting together people and money to create growth. It is important to finance those companies to help them grow and open new markets. New markets that then employ people, and more and more people in various parts of the world more, sometimes even in unimaginable ways. When financing activities are done right, then, it means to support financially companies that have an interest to develop, expand, we can help them to overcome difficulties. Clearly the goal is not profit only, but growth. Growth that is synonymous with progress in this case, this is what everyone really wants. So, if we can help to finance a company that then creates jobs, the benefit goes to all at the end; the same thing happens when we support financially companies with a diffuse ownership. This is because if the pension fund invests in a growing company, the individual retiree will reap an economic advantage, with higher returns and a better life. This is created by people like me, who put together ideas and capital to make society flourish and develop, this is what we do: we put together ideas and capital and, ultimately, create progress.
“The key to good work certainly must be values and high motivation. “You have to have a very clear objective of where you’re going, have a big goal, have an important goal. This is essential for any career. For example, I always think of where I want to be in 5 years, and then where I’ll be in 10, and it is a strategy that helps me to focus not only on myself but also on my business… If I’m working on financial management, if I am making a business grow, I have to have clear objectives, a strategic plan
of where I want to go, this is the first thing. Then I believe that intensity and tenacity with which we dedicate to our work are just as important. And then you need to keep in mind that every day that you go into the office, the battle being fought is door to door, you can never be under the illusion that a victory is final, it never is. What one needs to do is to work hard every day to give the best of oneself. Every moment, every meeting is important, every meeting must be managed as if it were the last of your life, you have to give everything every minute, every day. That is intensity and tenacity. They are essential! Last but not least, there is honesty. It is a very important value in every working environment, and more than ever in ours. When you are managing the business of your customers, I am convinced that they will soon realize if you’re honest, if you’re someone that you can trust and who cares. Once a customer told me “I’m glad it’s you, because I know that you care. You care.” When I go to a customer, I do not think the money that our company will gain from that customer, but I focus the meeting on understanding their financial needs. What I care about is understanding what we as a company can do to help him achieve his goals, and then everything else follows. When customers understand that you are a capable person, who can be trusted, a professional that they like because we get along well, I think they open in a way that would not otherwise happen. The ability to give everything to the customer so as to say, selfless, is really important, and at the end, this way of being will lead to success. “Then it is also true that when you have been so successful, it is because you’ve also been lucky enough to make a path enriched with excellent opportunities and people who knew to value you. In this job, as in many others, you cannot do anything by yourself. In life and therefore also at work, first of all luck counts a lot, but what you also need within the context where you work, it is essential to always have around you a group of people that helps you at various times of the journey. If I, after graduating at Bocconi, had not had the opportunity to go to work at Merrill Lynch in London to start my finance career from scratch, if I had not met that someone who liked my interview enough to offer me a first chance, if I had not had a boss who gave me a way to go to different meetings around Europe, certainly nothing would have happened in my career.
Of course, there are many obstacles along the way, as there are people who help you and there are also people who will block you. But I always say that it’s really important not to fall and always have the courage to be consistently very clear headed, understand the people who are your allies, those friends who can help you and those who never will. Although you will you try with the best attitude, you can try again and again, but there are and there will always be people that somehow will hinder you. Try to avoid these people if the situation becomes difficult, have the courage to change, I think this is the basis of your own success. “Along my way I myself have been fortunate to have worked with both men and women who have helped me in that sense, and were undoubtedly fundamental. And, in my turn, I try constantly to do the same. Through my work I help others, I try very much to help women and men, especially the juniors who come to ask advice, asking me for help, I’m always direct, I try to be available and the door to my office is always open, I say to all “come and see what I can do for you”. In short, as I have been helped, I do everything possible to pay it forward and I do it with a really great pleasure. It makes a big difference. “I try to make a difference by supporting several non-profit organizations in which I am involved, particularly in areas that interest me, such as women. The question of gender is close to my heart and I have always dedicated a lot of energy to make this ‘difference’: to show that women can have it all, can have the profession and can have a family, without necessarily having to choose between the two possibilities. They can succeed, even if with great effort, to do both. Since I was a girl, I grew up in a family where women did not go to college, they stayed home while the men worked, like my father engineer or my uncle doctor and my other uncle lawyer. None of the women in my family went to college, I am the first! At that time, the woman had to be a wife, mother, hostess, dedicate themselves completely to manage domestic life, a very traditional family. As a child, I felt this environment was too tight, it was not acceptable and that is why I always dreamed of a career, a profession, to show that you can be a woman, be professional, and be a
mother. This belief for me has always been a huge boost, so much that when I landed at Goldman Sachs, in addition to my day job, I was constantly involved in following the career development of women in the bank. Could I not have a position in this regard? Well, I am also responsible for the “Women’s Network” within Goldman Sachs, which is the organization created to engage, motivate and promote the professionalism of all women. It is a network that incorporates virtually all professional women within the bank and organizes different development activities and mentoring, supported by all forms of sponsorship with the specific goal of helping women, given that finance is one of the last male ramparts. The vast majority of professionals in leadership positions are men.”
The family “As a manager and as a mother, I always say that in order to succeed, you need to have an absolutely strict balance. You must be able to count on your organizational skills, the ability to handle more things throughout the day, the so-called multi-tasking, you have to be very determined, because the truth is that in order to succeed in both roles, and succeed well, it is really so difficult and arduous. But absolutely possible.
I have three young children and my most significant sacrifice is to spend time away from them, a sacrifice that all career women must do. But I also know from experience that if you know how to organize adequately, you will be constantly present at certain times of the day and of the week; maybe you will never be the mother who makes the cake for school children or accompany them to school every day. How to spend together entire weekend and make the most of the workdays, when with them maybe an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. And again,
when you’re not traveling, you try to do everything possible to make every day a special day, one night a week to be your night ... Okay, for some it will seem pathetic, but once a week I have a dinner party out with my husband Marco, when he is in town, and our children Michelangelo, Manfredi and Maddalena. That is sometimes on Wednesdays or Thursdays; I take them out to a pizzeria and enjoy it as a special moment for all of us, when we talk about our lives, our things. During the week, Marco travels a lot for work and so, we spend time together mostly on weekends but we got organized in a way that is fun and it is part of our lives. “There is no doubt that in order to do the job at the highest level and devote to the family the rest of the time, you have to give up other ambitions. For example, I would love to learn Portuguese, but I have no time. There are some things I’d like to do but nothing! Sometimes I tell myself that I’d go back to school and study a PhD, but of course I do not have time to do it. My family and my career are the two most important things in my life and it is to these that I dedicate all my energy to ensure that the two can co-exist with the best balance”.
Career Milestones Since 1998 until this year, as Managing Director at Goldman Sachs in New York, Monica Mandelli led the Family Office Coverage and Strategic Relationship Management Group globally, within the Investment Banking Division. She was responsible for a team of over 20 people, with whom she worked primarily to develop the bank’s relations with important families and manage their shareholdings. Prior to assuming the leadership of SRM Group, Monica had been in charge of the Publishing and Information Services and Theatrical Exhibition sectors - as part of the Technology, Media and Telecom (TMT) Group. At Goldman Sachs, she was also the Co-Head of the firmwide Women’s Network, a position also held earlier in the Investment Banking Division. Among the positions she held in the past, she was also responsible for of recruitment programs, development and mentoring.
And it was in the news just in the last few months that Monica decided to leave Goldman Sachs after accepting an offer for a similar position in KKR. Formerly known as Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages investments across multiple asset classes, including private equity funds, energy, infrastructure, real estate, financial markets, credit strategies and hedge funds. Monica was born in Monza and graduated with honors in Economics and Social Sciences at the Bocconi University of Milan in 1994; she worked for Merrill Lynch International in London, in the Mergers & Acquisitions Group, mainly dealing with European transactions. In 1996, she moved to the United States, with a first job at McKinsey & Company in New York. In 1998, she received her MBA with honors from Harvard Business School and in the same year, she joined Goldman Sachs. Among her commitments to which she contributes assiduously, Monica Mandelli serves on the Board of Directors of Good Shepherd Services, a nonprofit organization that annually provides education and other services to twenty thousand underprivileged children in the city of New Yorkâ€?.
The Letter to the Young by Monica Mandelli
I am one of you. Raised in a small town that was too tight for me, with a great desire to do and to help change the world for the better. I do not presume to be able to teach anything, but I only have a few suggestions that I would have liked when I started my career twenty years ago. 1) Set great goals. You have to have the courage to dream. If you can get even half of what you set, it will always be much more than what the vast majority of people reach. 2) Give the best in every circumstance. Success is not improvsied. I tis important to become highly trained experts in your field, that you learn other languages, to not spare yourself, to face each day as if it were the last, with intensity, energy and determination. 3) Have courage. My favorite motto says that â€œvictory is never final and defeat is never fatal: what counts is courage.â€? Career, like life, is more often a winding road instead of a straight line. You have to have the ability to seize opportunities when they arise, even if at first glance they intimidate you, or to modify your course without fear: a job in an unfamiliar country, a position for which we do not feel fully prepared ... Have the courage to make tough choices, to take uncomfortable positions, leaving a comfortable work if you think you have no chance of further advancement, to express an opinion against the current, to change because you do not really love what you are doingâ€Ś
4) Remember that you do not win alone. Create a network of people to support you in achieving your goals. Choose a partner to support your career choices, find people at work who believe in you and can help you, advise you “sponsor” you … If you allow me, finally, for girls in particular, I just want to invite you not to believe those who say that it is not possible to reconcile family life with a career at the highest level. I think it’s very difficult, but definitely possible. I hope to be a model in this regard. Just be extremely tenacious and organized. Having a larger female representation at the top of the business world is a battle that we still have to win and that’s worth fighting for: a work environment where talent is really “diverse” benefits everyone, men and women, and is representative of a more advanced and fairer society. Good luck, Monica
For Monica Mandelli, Beauty is “the laugh and the hugs of my children, that is my beauty. The unconditional love of children who tell you ‘you are great mamma’, ‘you are my best friend mamma”. And beauty, the great beauty, is inside each person who does what he can of his life to make the world a better place”.
Joseph Anthony Mantegna, Jr
Movie, theater and TV actor - Burbank, CA More than 40 years acting and more than 100 movies, such as: ‘Celebrity’, ‘Forget Paris’, Alice and Celebrity’ by Woody Allen, ‘The Godfather III’ by Francis Ford Coppola, ‘Liberty Heights and Bugsy’ by Barry Levinson, ‘Searching for Bobby Fischer’ by Steven Zaillianand ‘Forget Paris’ by Billy Crystal, ‘Up Close and Personal’, ‘Baby’s Day Out’, ‘Airheads’, ‘Queens Logic’, ‘Wait Until Spring Bandini’, ‘Eye for an Eye’, ‘My Little Assassin’, ‘The Rat Pack’, ‘Lakeboat’, ‘Laguna’, ‘Pontormo’, ‘Johnathan Tucker’, ‘Nine Lives’, ‘Elvis e Annabelle’, ‘West of Brooklyn’, ‘Lonely Street’, ‘The Starter Wife’, ‘The Runner’, ‘Thinner’ by Stephen King. He has earned several awards as an actor, like Best Actor Award, 3 Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and several nominations. Among his most famous TV roles are: ‘Joan of Arcadia’, ‘The Starter Wife’, and the ongoing success for 8 years as David Rossi in ‘Criminal Minds’.
Joe Mantegna I have played roles as Joey Zasa in ‘Godfather - Part III’ for my Italian-American pride.
A beautiful person. I have always believed that the eyes speak more than any words. If you observe a person’s face and dedicate a moment to scrutinize the intensity of the eyes, you will be able to understand his soul. Look at them, focus on them and hear them talk. And if you perceive goodness, you know that what they say will be silent serenity. Joe Mantegna is above all a nice person. His eyes say it right away, eyes that speak for themselves and you realize it, when his voice then comes. He speaks without preamble, without digressions, and instead of that veil of vanity that maybe is expected from such a famous actor, serenity hits you at once instead. A wave of inner balance which comes over you because he is so, he is a quiet man in the finest sense of the word. Actor, celebrity in film, television and theater, one of the funniest voice actors too, Joe is truly a real man, one of those so rare that you know what he really is. He has nothing of the slick, distant and unapproachable character, as the majority of celebrities behave. If it is true that he embodies the clear idea of an elegant, powerful actor, the image of the Italian-American character of all kinds and always positive in films, we do not really know his real job. The job that takes place in total privacy, away from noise, defended with such determination from the lights of the entertainment industry, it is the work of father and husband. A priority that has cost him immense choices in terms of professional choices. Like rejecting movie roles that would have kept him too long away from his family, thus taking him away from his true every day role, to be at the side of his daughters and his wife. So many theater plays, so many films, so much television, Joe Mantegna has done all that you can do in the fairy world to grow in experience and achievements, but one day he was able to figure out who he was and determine who he would be. The man and father, counted before any ruckus and it counts enormously more than more
fame or greater material wealth. And this is how I met this beautiful person, this amazing actor who, through his roles, aims at one thing only: to make Italian-Americans known as positive people, people who have made America and the world. I met him in his story, in his talk about life and passions, his daughters and his love for his wife. Greatness of spirit and tenderness of love that is not for me to explain, but for him to tell.
How I became who I am “This year, I celebrated with my wife Arlene our 40th wedding anniversary; we have been together for a long time. Before we got married, we were engaged for four, five years, we were already together when my career was just beginning and she has been with me for the duration. Then in 1987, when I was 40, we had Mia, our first daughter, and in 1990 Gia was born, our second, but we still traveled the world together following my work. Having a family has never been a problem for my career, rather, one of the requests I had every time I was offered a part, was to be able to take my family with me wherever the shoot was. My first daughter was born autistic, we knew immediately after birth and in those years my career was about to take off; since then, I have always made sure to be even more present in the family, either I with them or they with me, always together. And so we traveled everywhere my work took us, in Russia, Australia, all around Europe, everywhere in the US and Canada, always together as a group. As my children grew, it became more and more difficult to continue to do so, my first daughter struggled when traveling and there was also school and they started to have their own life so, I decided to make some changes “I decided to switch from film to television, and it was a choice that I wanted with all my might, because I wanted to take more care of my family. And at that time, I got my role in the cast of “Criminal Minds”, because it gave me the chance to stay for ten months a year in Los Angeles. I could go home every night, we could move around and travel on our own time, as there were only two months of work on the set, May and June.
I set up my career in order to accommodate my family. “Some might see it as a sacrifice, that is the choice to organize your professional life, your success based on the needs of the family, but I’m very glad I did and I would not change anything. When my daughters were young, it was great to be able to travel with them, even the frequent school changes brought benefits to them since they got new
experiences, friends in other states, in other countries of the world. We also spent time in Italy, where I still have part of my family and the job gave me the opportunity to spend several periods there. There, my daughters have come to know the continent and be close to my parents, who are their origins. It was a very positive experience for everyone. “My origins are half Sicilian and half Pugliese. My mother’s family is from Acquaviva delle Fonti, in Puglia, near Bari. I’m very close with them and we are often in touch. My cousin Nicholas Acquaviva directs a beautiful agritourism, ‘Masseria Molfetta’, and we have stayed there many times. While my father’s family is from Calascibetta, a town in Sicily that is near Enna, but there I do not have many relatives because almost all are gone. My father, Joseph Anthony, was born in Oklahoma, where my grandfather relocated after emigrating from Sicily. There is a long history about this, because many inhabitants of Calascibetta left Sicily early last century, between 1905 and 1906, and immigrated to Oklahoma because of the coal mines, in a town called Krebs. So many Sicilians settled in this small Oklahoma town to work in the mines and save money to buy small farms. Even today, you can find a lot of Sicilian culture in this small town, where my grandfather worked at the beginning of the 1900s, and my father was born there! My mother, Mary Anne Novielli, was born in Chicago instead, where her father settled after moving from Acquaviva “Italian culture, being Italian has an absolute importance for me, and have always proved it with my work. Just look at most of the roles I’ve played:
it was not by chance that I’ve played so many Italian-American characters in my career. Characters like Joey Zasa in ‘Godfather - Part III’, Pippi De Lena in ‘The Last Don’, Fat Tony in ‘The Simpsons’ I played those because they were all characters that reflected the Italian stereotype and I did not mind, because those characters exist. But at the same time, I tried to balance things out, in many other roles I made sure to give a positive image to Italian-American characters. I did this intentionally in many films, such as in my
first television series ‘First Monday’ with James Garner. It was 13 episode long and I had deliberately chosen the name of my character, the name that was actually my mother’s father, Joseph Novielli. The protagonist was a judge of the Supreme Court, but in the original script he was not Italian-American, so I told the producer that I would only play the part if he have it changed to Italian-American.
This role was an opportunity to show the public another side of Italian Americans, all the talented people who definitely are not part of the mafia! Even in Woody Allen ‘Alice’, I purposely played the character of ‘Joe Rufolo’, an ItalianAmerican, because he was a positive figure. When I took part in the series ‘John of Arcadia’, a show that I found beautiful, I was playing the role of a detective who has two daughters who speak with God, and the producer told me about it I had to play an ItalianAmerican, which I did. In the case of the show that I’m shooting now, ‘Criminal Minds’, I had the opportunity to choose to interpret the Italian-American, David Rossi. Here my Italian background comes up a lot, and the idea is to present the Italian-American role as a positive figure, I am one of the good guys at the FBI, and is very important for me to give this signal. Also in the movie ‘State of Emergency “, I chose to highlight my Italian side; I was a surgeon, and I again chose the name Dr. Novielli, always in honor of my grandfather and mother. That film went on to become the popular television series ‘E.R’, written by the same screenwriter of the movie. I always try to interpret these parts, so that people who see the film do not just think that Italian-Americans are all gangsters. All right, one percent is so, but the vast majority of Italian Americans are very positive, healthy people, honest workers, who often occupy important roles at every level of the American system. Italian-Americans, and Italians in general have built a world. “People, who like me, have nevertheless started from the bottom. My career began over 40 years ago when as a boy, still a high school student, I almost by accident at-
tempted to join the cast of ‘West Side Story’. I was not able to, but I was so attracted by the world of acting that I knew immediately what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to become an actor. Since then, I have never turned back on my feet; I focused in every way on the goal of becoming part of the entertainment world and become an actor.
It was as if I had received a call for this! “It was not easy to get to the level I am now, but I’m happy of course. Like all, I had my moments of doubt, wondering if I was kidding myself, difficult times that you go through during the difficult path of success, but I was always focused on what I wanted to do. “Life then absolutely rewarded me. I’ve always done the roles that I have chosen, roles that I loved, I could always have my family with me. What more can a person ask for? I am so grateful to life. Then what can I say, every one of us must also face problems, they are part of life. No one has everything easy and I have always lived with total serenity the autism of my daughter. There are people who face much heavier problems than this and fail to address them in a simple way, like I do. Of course, in a perfect world, my daughter would not have autism but she does, and that’s fine. Life is not perfect and I accept it because, as I said, everyone has their own story, no one lives a life where there is only perfection, and for me and my family, this is what was given to us and is fine. Families who ask me what life is like with an autistic daughter I reply that it is life. It is life and that’s it! “A life that I say again, that has been fortunate in every aspect. Both my daughters give me always more satisfactions, Gia, the youngest, is more active in acting, Mia makes me more and more proud, she is active in many activities in which she is naturally followed and she is focused in many interests successfully. And then my wife!
Arlene, my favorite cook! She is not of Italian origin but Czechoslovak, she cooks fantastically, and she has a natural gift for the kitchen. She opened her own restaurant, the ‘Taste Chicago’ in Burbank, near North Hollywood. She is one of those people who can taste a dish and tell
you how it was done, what ingredients were used and where it came from. She uses my mother’s recipes which she really likes, however, most of the recipes are hers. “That’s why I repeat to myself over and over how lucky I am. I am almost 68, I have been on this earth for a long time, and I can say that life is beautiful. Although there are hard aspects of course, although people sometimes find themselves in very bad situations, but when I get up in the morning and look out of the window, I see the trees and the blue sky, I think of the beauty that there is inside every person and in everything, everywhere. From the South Pole to the North Pole, wherever in the world you are, you can find beauty in the skies, landscapes.
“Looking at the rising Sun, beauty like Tuscany, people realize what beautiful is and that we are privileged to live as human beings. It is something that we feel inside, even without being able to explain it, but we can be thankful for it, we appreciate it. It has certainly to do with spirituality, and I believe in spirituality because I am convinced that there is something behind all this. Simply there must be a reason behind our surroundings, for example such a beautiful day. I hope that when we pass away, in the afterlife, there is something that allows us to continue to appreciate all this. In another place, in another way, in another form, you can call it heaven or whatever you like, everyone has each own beliefs and each own way of seeing it, but I hope for all that even after, we can continue to do so”.
Career Milestones Joe Mantegna was born in Chicago, where he dedicated himself to acting since he was young. After his Broadway debut in the Stephen Schwartz’ musical ‘Studs Terkel’s Working’, he got a Tony and a Joseph Jefferson Award for his magnificent interpretation of the cynical real estate agent Richard Roma in the theater show ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’ by Pulitzer Prize David Mamet. He has maintained a strong artistic collaboration with Mamet, Joe starred in the first stage of ‘A Life in Theater’, ‘The Disappearance of the Jews at the Goodman Theater’, and in the production of ‘Speed the Plow’ with Ron Silver and Madonna. He later confirmed his talent with an ongoing series of thetaer successes in Los Angeles, where he directed the production, including ‘Lakeboat’ authored by Mamet, with Ed O’Neil and George Wendt. A passionate fan of baseball all his life, in later years he also co-wrote ‘Bleacher Bums’, an off-Broadway play, which earned him his first Emmy Award. His film debut was in 1985 on the movie ‘Frank Perry’ in the role of a philandering dentist. One of the first films where he had a co-starring role were ‘The Money Pit’, ‘Weeds and Suspects’ and ‘House of Games’, now a cult classic. With ‘Things Change’ he received the coveted award for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival in 1991 and he achieved much success with the famous thriller ‘Homicide’. Most recent roles in which he got great appreciation from the critics are for his roles on movies like ‘Alice and Celebrity’ by Woody Allen, ‘The Godfather III’ by Francis Ford Coppola, ‘Liberty Heights and Bugsy’ by Barry Levinson, ‘Searching for Bobby Fischer’ by Steven Zaillian and’ Forget Paris’ by Billy Crystal. Others among his many films include ‘Up Close and Personal’, ‘Baby’s Day Out’, ‘Airheads’,’ Queens Logic ‘,’ Wait Until Spring Bandini ‘,’ Eye for an Eye ‘,’ The Runner ‘and’ Thinner ‘by Stephen King. The lead role in the CBS miniseries ‘The Last Don’ from best-seller author Mario Puzo earned him an Emmy nomination and, even though he works tirelessly on film and television, he even finds time to double the fun Fat Joe in ‘The Simpsons’:
‘Nothing interferes with my doing the Simpsons!’ Joe Mantegna has also been the lead actor in a number of films based on true stories, like the role of George Raft in the film ‘Bugsy’, Fidel Castro in ‘My Little Assassin’ and Dean Martin in the movie ‘The Rat Pack’ for which he was nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe. In 2000, Joe made his directorial debut with ‘Lakeboat’, written for the big screen by David Mamet and presented as the opening film at the Film Festival of Los Angeles, with great appreciation by critics. Among the actors were Charles Durning, Peter Falk, Robert Forster, Andy Garcia, Denis Leary and George Wendt. In the following years, he traveled often to Europe for the filming of several movies, such as ‘Laguna’ in Venice, and ‘Pontormo’ where he played the role of Jacopo Pontormo, an Italian Renaissance painter, a film made with the historic costumes of the Costumearte in Rome. There are many movies in the US in which he was protagonist or co-star, as ‘Johnathan Tucker’ with Val Kilmer, Carrie Fisher, Penny Marshall and Diane Venora. Also co-starring in ‘Nine Lives’, a film by Rodrigo Garcia presented at the Sundance Film Festival and also starred by Glenn Close, Amy Brenneman, Holly Hunter, Dakota Fanning, Sissy Spacek and Kathy Baker. Other independent film credits include ‘Elvis and Annabelle’, ‘West of Brooklyn and ‘Lonely Street ‘. He also starred with Deborah Messing in ‘The Starter Wife’ by Gigi Levangie Grazer, getting another nomination for the Emmy in the category of Best Supporting Actor. But the man Joe Mantegna, father and husband, puts a single value ahead of his love of cinema: family. So, since the 2000s he is increasingly active in roles for television, so he does not have to go away often and he can be more present with family. This choice has proven to be a success, like his role in the popular CBS series ‘Joan of Arcadia’ in which he played police chief Will Girardi, and a few years later to today as the star of ‘Criminal Minds’ in the role of David Rossi. Both roles have earned him several Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe. In April 2011, he received his star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, located right next to his childhood hero Errol Flynn.
And he is dedicated and constantly involved in several charities, particularly in foundations supporting research in the field of autism, including: ACT Today - Autism Care and Treatments; The Barbara Sinatra Childrens Center; Easter Seals Chicago; Actors for Autism; Autism Speaks Tutor / Mentor Connection; ACT Today for Military Families; Home Boy Industries.
The Letter to the Young by Joe Mantegna I would not call it advice, maybe opinions, or rather my experience, I can offer this to you, youngster who wants to enter the world of acting, be it film, television, theater. Whether you’re thinking about a career like this or something else, follow what feels best for you. My daughter Gia, the youngest of the two, has embarked on an acting career and I must say that she is quite successful, she wanted to follow my steps and when she told me, I said ‘well, go and pursue what you want to do! ‘. The nice thing is that she began when she was still in school, which is the same way I started. My training continued in college, where I continued to do theater, attending the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago for two years; it was a great opportunity for me. I had little money and I went on with my studies thanks to a government subsidy for students, I was studying in Chicago, because I could not afford to go to study elsewhere. Since I had to stay there, I did everything I could to take advantage of every opportunity of study the city offered and my first acting experiences. To become an actor it does not matter if you have money or not, it does not matter where you live, it can be done by attending community college, by learning at school, because even experiencing this world, you will be able to understand how things work and that’s how you learn, that you go ahead. There is no time limit, you do not have any collateral, you cannot say in two years I’ll be a big star. But if you like what you do, nothing will stop you from getting where you’re going. But if you do not like what you’re doing, you’d better be trying something else, because acting is a passion. Passion is what makes you be loved, what makes your talent come out, the talent that today you don‘t even know you have. If you have passion, nothing will stop you, then go ahead and keep doing what you’re doing and do not be afraid to try different experiences, because experiences are important. For example, do not be afraid to work for free because too many acclaimed directors began to work for free shooting movies while studying. David Mamet is a talented writer for film, theater, and television. I met him when we were boys in Chicago in the early 70s, he was a writer who was struggling to establish
himself, and I was an actor in the same situation! We worked together and we both were nobodies, but when he became important, he did not forget about me. So he told me that he wanted me to work with him as an actor. The continuation of our life has seen us working together to make beautiful and very important work. By this I mean that you should leave no stone unturned, it is important to be open to any working experience no matter how hard and maybe poorly paid. Do you understand? You must go on, if you find an opportunity to do the job you want to do, well, take it. Because when you’re famous, there will be errors but they are part of the game, it is normal and you gain experience. This is harder after you gain some notoriety, because every failure you have is immediately before the eyes of all. Unfortunately, you cannot do any kind of experience anymore because if it is done incorrectly, it can ruin your career. Go, get out, experiment, get it wrong and start again. The force that you instill believing in your professional passion unrelentingly will repay you with a lifetime of satisfaction. Joe
For Joe Mantegna, Beauty is “in life itself. We are surrounded by beautiful things, beautiful landscapes, beautiful people, relationships, family, friends. From the small snowﬂake up to the universe, everything is beauty”.
Record producer, Composer, DJ - Los Angeles, CA • Pioneer of electronic music and father of Dance Music, inducted to the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2004 • Artistic collaborations with many artists, like: Donna Summer, David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Bonnie Tyler, Irene Cara, EdoardoBennato, Japan, The Three Degree, María Conchita Alonso, Adam Ant, Pat Benatar, Berlin, Blondie, Daft Punk • 3 Oscars: best original score for “Midnight Express”; best song for Flashdance “What a Feeling”; best song for Top Gun “Take My Breath Away” • 4 Grammy Awards • More than 100 gold and platinum records • “Lifetime Achievement Award” from World Soundtrack Academy (2011) • “Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” • “Grande Ordine al Merito”of BolzanoAutonomous Province
Giorgio Moroder I was lucky, I composed ‘I Feel Love’ sung by Donna Summer.
The best thing about this ‘story’ is that it is timeless. It is one of those stories that writers love to write, because of the inner pleasure of breaking the wall of time that can be felt. To tell the story of the man who practically invented disco music is like trying to learn something of the life of extraordinary men and women who have made our time. The illusion of knowing something or pretend to know a lot of things in life is not between these lines, that is left to others. But the pleasure of touching, even caressing, a musical journey that has no time, that I do want. I danced to disco music at its most vivid and true time, the early ‘80s, and I remember very well that force, that freedom in moving the body in an uninterrupted harmony, a dance never really broken or disorganized, in a few words, a beautiful dance, indulging in rhythms that still today come back, and who knows for how or even always. But I had never heard about an Italian born in a village perched in the heart of the Dolomites, who was one of the major architects of the sound. Then one day, during a summer lunch in Italy in the beautiful Cortina d’Ampezzo, a dear friend, Franco Vecchiato, famous director and documentary producer with his Aleya Film, tells me of a character of those mountain areas who really marked the history of music. He spoke about Giorgio Moroder and the importance he has had and is still having today in the lives of so many generations. I thought of a sort of Mother Teresa of the Dolomites, in short, somebody essentially spiritual and spiritualistic, if he was famous among several generations. But no! He spoke of Disco Music. He spoke of how people of all ages, today as yesterday, enjoy the lightness of being alive, thanks to the rare but precious moments of fun to the sound of synthesized music, the music of Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, Bonny M, KC and the Sunshine Band, The Tramps, Gloria Gaynor and Chic, to name just a few. In short, nothing much spiritual and spiritualistic, but it is also true that Heaven is gained simply by making others feel good.
And now I know, Giorgio Moroder, the boy who left home and family in Ortisei, in Val Gardena, with guitar in his hand at age 13, has made many generations feel really good. And do not think that today he has lost any punch, he has really broken through the wall of time. We have physical ailments, complain of smog, gas prices, climate change and global terrorism, but in this same world, there is one who continues to live and make us live to the sound of disco music. He continues to give the idea of lightness and movement of the body or mind, as you prefer, which is and must remain balanced, rhythmic, never messy, never untidy. Because this world is a little too upset, it also needs this. It needs many Giorgio Moroder, not just one. Moroder’s artistic journey has gone through a remarkable diversity in terms of musical experiences in the past four decades. An exciting musical era of disco music, that just last year celebrated with a “toast” the 40 years of Disco (1974 to 2014), as recounted in an article in the Italian weekly “Panorama” by journalist Gianni Poglio (June 2014). Poglio remembered that “exactly 40 years ago, in 1974, the radio station WPIX in New York aired the first radio program dedicated to disco music, the underground music genre that was taking off in the clubs of the Big Apple. The audience of disco music at the beginning of the seventies was mostly black, but in a few years, the commercial sound that originated from soul and funk conquered the charts of an entire generation, not just in America. “And indeed, even before its worldwide diffusion, disco music had during the late 1960s and early 1970s an audience made up almost exclusively of African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Latinos and gays, especially in areas of New York and Philadelphia. Initially it was a true counterculture musical phenomenon, as a reaction against the domination of rock music and the type of ballroom music of the previous years. But this sociological analysis, as they say, can be left behind to allow him, who contributed so much to this era, to speak. The man from the mountains who created, performed and disseminated Dance Music in every corner of our round earth.
How I became who I am “I must say I’m pretty lucky, I had the idea to write a song called” I Feel Love “sung by Donna Summer and, based on mock and synthesizer and luck, it was so liked that it immediately became one of the top dance tracks ever made with the synthesizer. In those years,
Donna Summer was not known and she wanted to go to America and I did not want to. I did not want to because it seemed too big of a life change! I was already having success in Europe, including Berlin, Monaco, then London, I was very young and I had a lot of satisfaction in what I was doing with my music. But then I convinced myself, it took me two years to make up my mind, but it was right to follow her, because I was working well with her and, as they say, you go where the bread is! So off we went and what followed is well known, thanks to the music I made, Donna Summer had a worldwide hit, not only in America, and I with her. “All my beginning was an adventure, a complete do-it-yourself. I left Ortisei when I was 13, to spend some time in a Salesian school in Rovereto and four years in Bolzano. When I was home, I remember that my two brothers played the guitar and used to say ‘ah we are good and you will not play the guitar’, in short, they challenged me as if it were a competition to see who would learn to play it better. So while I was at school in Rovereto, I bought a guitar and a chord book to learn how to play it. Christmas came and when I went home for the holidays, I played the guitar much better than them! Given the speed with which I had learned, even better than my brothers who played for years, from that time I began to realize that perhaps I have some talent. Those were the years when I was convinced that in my life, I wanted to just play guitar! I tried right away the experience of composing music, I was 15 and made my first recording in my own hometown, Ortisei. I
was with a friend who had a recorder, one of those typical back then, absolutely “mono”, there were three or four of us and I remember we recorded my first piece. Years later, I took part in the first band, the “Happy Trio,” and not long after that, I got my first job offer abroad, in Switzerland. I was 19 and I had never thought before that someone could take me as a musician because I was not good, maybe I was not very good, but they offered me the job in a hotel. Then followed Berlin, Monaco, a succession of other beautiful experiences in the next 6, 7 years when I toured Europe not stop. A long journey, never stopping for many years, but with the constant of having always maintained a good relationship with my brothers, then as now. They are in Italy and we speak every week, while I’m in Los Angeles. I always love to go in Val Gardena, partly because that’s where my son Alexander, 26 years old, lives, so this is a way to spend some time together. I went through so many phases in my approach to music and, in addition to the pleasure of composing my music,
at some point I discovered that I liked DJing. “I did it for a long time and then returned to compose music until the meeting with Daft Punk, when I threw myself completely into composition. It was like playing with musical instruments, but always there was a guitar used like a synthesizer. And doing it today, like yesterday, gives me a great pleasure. I have never imposed any special “rules” in my work, one day I’m in Italy, four days in Turkey, then in Santiago, Chile as a DJ and as a musician in Los Angeles. Each day is different, and for composing my day cannot start before 10 or 11 in the morning. Today’s music-making is much easier. When I started, you could make a song with a guitar or piano, but then you had to go into the studio, you had to pay the musicians, it was more complicated and much more expensive. Today, with two / three thousand dollars, you get a digital system to record and you can work all day on a piece and then do it technically perfect. It’s definitely easier today. You can work well, look for perfection, and record the song when you’re convinced. You could not do that before in the studio. It takes talent and it takes willpower, but if a young person has both, he now has every chance of success.
“The most beautiful part of composing is when you do the mixing, that’s where you finally feel the piece like you just imagined it. There is you, your music, and your creation. Then it is natural, when you’re working with great artists there are also times when there is a good deal of stress, you never know what the artist is thinking. For example,
working with David Bowie as a producer has not been easy, having to tell David don’t sing this way but sing it in this other way ... well, you do not know whether to do it or how he will take it, because he’s a perfect artist. How can you! I can say that I have enjoyed all the creative satisfactions in music. I just have a goal left: a musical. But I’m working on it! This project is already well under way, and I’m doing it with Kloser, a dear friend. He is a film producer and is always so busy, but we have a plan just in the coming weeks to get together and start it off”.
Career Milestones His music for synthesizer and his famous soundtracks have made Giorgio Moroder known throughout the world, he is considered one of the most innovative and influential musicians in electronic music and disco music. And he is considered without a doubt the pioneer and father of electronic music and Father of dance Music, inducted in 2004 in the Dance Music Hall of Fame. Among the many awards received are the three Oscars in Los Angeles: in 1979, for best soundtrack for the movie “Midnight Express”; in 1984, for best song for the film Flashdance “What a Feeling”; and in 1987, for best song “Take My Breath Away” for the movie Top Gun. There are also two “Bambi Award” (1984 and 1988), four Grammy Awards, and over a hundred gold and platinum records. In 2011, he received the “World Soundtrack Lifetime Achievement Award.” Of course, there also the authoritative awards from the Italian government, with the two honors: “Commendatore dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana” (May 26th 2005), and “Grande Ordine al Merito della Provincia autonoma di Bolzano” (September 5th, 2010). Giorgio gave us all the amazing hits of Donna Summer, that started with the piece he composed “Love to Love You Baby” (1975). This important collaboration was later increasingly enriched by countless other exceptional collaborations, such as The Three Degrees, New Dimensions (1978 and 1979); Japan, “Life in Tokyo” (1979); David Bowie, “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” (1982); Irene Cara, “What a Feelin ‘” (1983); Philip Oakey, “Together in Electric Dreams” (1984); Sigue Sigue Sputnik, “Flaunt It” (1985), creation of the “Cyberpunk sound”; Big Trouble, Big Trouble (1988); María Conchita Alonso, “Vamos a Bailar”; Adam Ant; Pat Benatar, “Here’s My Heart”; Edoardo Bennato; Berlin; Blondie “Call Me”; Bonnie Tyler; Freddie Mercury; Daft Punk, Random Access Memories (2013). And if you have to continue with the long lists, I cannot omit so many movies for which he composed dreamy soundtracks, including “Midnight Express” starring Brad Davis and Randy Quaid; “Thank God it’s Friday” with Donna Summer; “A women with friends” with Laura Dern and Jodie Foster; “American Gigolo” with Richard Gere and Lauren
Hutton; “Cat People” with Nastassja Kinski and Malcolm McDowell; “Flashdance” with Jennifer Beals and Michael Nouri; “Scarface” with Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer; “The Neverending Story” by Barret Oliver and Noah Hathaway; “Metropolis” with Larry Von Dohlen and Virginia Madsen; “Top Gun” (the song Take My Breath Away); “Over the Top” with Sylvester Stallone; “The Neverending Story 2”; “Inglourious Basterds” (the song Cat People). In 2015, Giorgio Moroder turned 75, and he celebrated it with a new album titled Déjà vu, produced by Sony Music. This record includes 11 new songs which are the result of collaborations with pop stars such as Kylie Minogue, Mikky Ekko, Charlie XCX, Kelis, Sia, and other famous names, there is also a duet with the talented Britney Spears on the notes of the cover Tom’s Dinner. The first single is titled “74 Is The New 24” which is a direct reference to his age at the time of the composition: a beautiful return to youth, certainly in talent and spirit. The artistic origins of Giorgio Moroder go back to the years between 1953 and 1959, when he attended the art school of Ortisei, then he continued with his studies at the Technical Institute for Surveyors of Bolzano. Shortly after that, he toured Europe with several bands between 1959 and 1966; and among these, the most famous was The Happy Trio, which even played at London’s Savoy Hotel. In 1967, he settled in Berlin for a while, writing songs and demos for himself and other artists, and maintaining various collaborations like the important one with his cousin Alex. His first hit song dates back to those years; it was Ich Sprenge At Ketten, attributed to Ricky Shayne. He continued his activity as pop singer (1968) when he made presentations under the stage name George, Giorgio. Arabella House was his first studio, founded in Monaco in 1971 and, after the success of his song Son of My Father, written with Chicory Tip, he moved to the United States. It was 1972 and his goal was the promotion of the song Giorgio, which scored a good success. That year, he started his collaboration with Pete Bellotte, with whom he published several records aiming to attract the interest of some artists. These recordings included collaborations with younger artists of that period, like Donna Summer, which turned out, as you know, as a definite success, first of all the recording of Hostage, followed in 1974 by the album Lady of the Night and in 1975 by the single Love to Love You Baby, that was an international success.
There were several important partnerships in the following years. And there was the historic day when Brian Eno and David Bowie were in Berlin in 1977 in the recording studio Hansa Tonstudio as they worked on “Heroes.” Addressing Bowie, Eno said: “I heard the sound of the future” making him listen to I Feel Love, by Donna Summer and composed by Moroder. And the answer of David Bowie was: “Here it is, look no further. This record will change disco music for the next 15 years ... “
The Letter to the Young by Giorgio Moroder
ife is made up of personal choices that need to be made. For a young man, or a young woman who wants to succeed in the music business, either in composition, singing or even as a DJ or other, I can only say to understand oneself. Understand first of all what is the “world” in which one would like to succeed. If you want to have a strong success in Italy, then you should definitely stay and get busy. If you are happy being a good singer of success in Italy, that’s great, then remain in Italy. If you point to an international, global, successful career, then you must take it seriously and make every sacrifice to look for opportunities abroad. Catch all the opportunities, even playing in a hotel as I did early in Switzerland. To be successful abroad, as in America or other countries, you have to be there. This is not up for discussion. It’s all about the philosophy of life and, in my case, of course I can only talk about music. Cases like that of Gianna Nannini and many others, who are in Italy and have decided to establish themselves in Italy, they are doing it beautifully. Then, other artists such as Eros Ramazzotti and Laura Pausini have pointed to the success abroad, and this is great as well. Specifically, Eros has a great success especially in Spain and Latin America but as mentioned earlier, if you want to succeed in Italy you must remain in Italy. And it is also true that if you really want to achieve worldwide success while staying in Italy, it is very difficult. To try to get a worldwide success, maybe you should do what Jovanotti is doing, for example, who told me that he now lives in New York. He is trying to approach the American market, and he does it well, but then in order to do it, you have to somehow settle on site, create a lifetime of contacts and collaborations in place. This is not to say that an Italian pointing to worldwide success must necessarily move abroad completely, but there is no doubt that he cannot think of achieving it while staying in Italy.
For Giorgio Moroder, Beauty is “a beautiful musical note, a beautiful G. It is a very beautiful note, I really like it, I play it when I play C major, and E ﬂat. That is beauty!”.
Choreographer - New York, NY • Classical Dance dancer: • Choreographer of the New York Theater Ballet • Artistic Education: - Vicenza (Italy) - Montecarlo Academy “Princesse Grace” (France) - Merce Cunningham Dance Studio (New York) • Fundamental mentors of his training in Classical Dance: - Maria Berica Dalla Vecchia (Vicenza, IT) - Marika Besobrasova (Montecarlo, FR) • Artistic collaborations - Fabrizio Ferri, director - Federico Pelle, composer • Ballet Choreographies - Roberto Bolle - Luciana Paris - Isabelle Ciaravola - Beatrice Carbone
Marco Pelle By choreographing for the New York Theater Ballet, I found my inner eye.
There is something absolutely childish about Marco that I loved. It was exciting to listen to him, moving his hands as if caressing the air, while he converts memories into stories. His words seemed to literally dance between the hunger experienced in the early days and the sweaty, even glorious satisfactions of recent years. For people like me, the world of fame and theater is somewhat fabulous. It is the universe of enchantment, the suspension of the soul. A fantastic world, but also unknown from the artistic point of view. Marco stares right into your eyes while he speaks, his face cannot hide the pain, the suffering, the embarrassment suffered during the long course of his professional career. The face does not lie, and neither does his frank testimony. Speaking without any filter, he recognizes the many difficult years lived before achieving the amazing artistic results today. He confesses of nights spent sleeping in the streets, of asking humbly for help in those first years when he wanted to live his own choice. He knew in the depths of his soul that New York would restore his life, perhaps at a very high cost, but it would happen. From that experience, he would come out a whole new person, a Marco that would shape himself according to his principles, his passions and aspirations. The sincerity with which he reveals his secrets is as deep as the light that illuminates his eyes when the thought goes to the results. The hunger for affirmation proven in tough Manhattan was supported by an innate determination to resist that surprised himself. And the result rewarded him. Even though the theater and dance world can be fascinating and somehow magical from the outside, there is no doubt that experiencing them first-hand, as an ambitious young artist, must have been unspeakably hard. The countless doors that once and again closed in the face in the many attempts to establish himself must hurt
badly. Rather than impressive and fabulous, the impact of the early years must have a bitter taste due to the many humiliations suffered by minds that we know are particularly sensitive. Every harsh word, or a refusal that maybe was even insulting, is received by the artist as a stiletto blade that sticks deep in the innermost pain. For a young manager, any rejection, lack of confirmation of employment or of a promotion, pisses him off, making him even swear or grieve. The negative judgment on the artistâ€™s commitment, or a negative outcome of his performance, is a piercing humiliation. It is hitting the very meaning of his existence. Every time. Marco brings the signs of all this baggage when he jumps and rolls. Today he is a dancer and choreographer of international success on stage at the New York Theater Ballet. The hunger for stability and the desire for success that drove and then balanced his artistic endeavors are now expressed by Marco with his honest, straightforward smile. The smile of a boy who became a man during a very hard journey, without any assistance, as hard as the wooden boards of a bench in Manhattan. What you hear is the story of a dreamer who has had the courage to leave a foreign trail and rewrite his life with his own hands. Thanks to this courage, today Marco Pelle is happy and the established choreographer of the prestigious New York Theater Ballet. He is responsible for the most famous ballets that he sets up with equally famous dancers such as Roberto Bolle, Luciana Paris, Isabelle Ciaravola, and Beatrice Carbone. Wonderful dancer, loved choreographer and requested all over the world, Marco remains a pure and simple artist, without any awareness of his own celebrity status. This is his story, and I leave it to him to put it into words, with the twirling of his hands and the sparkle in his eyes.
How I became who I am “I arrived in America when I was 22 years old. I was sleeping on the streets, I was up to all sorts of things, I really threw myself into the world. It was as if I had cracked a wall, a barrier, and I finally got in my life. It was very fast ... “My Dad did not want me to become a dancer, he was fiercely opposed. He is a businessman, who first made a great career in banking, then he switched to the gastronomy industry, where he has had continued success. He has changed a lot over the years and I have no hard feelings but, in fact, at one point I rebelled! He set me up to study economics in Venice but I decided with all my strength to dive in my life-long passion and began studying classical ballet. The problem was that by then, I was 20 years old! Exactly 19 years and 10 months old, it was February 1995. I studied in a school in Vicenza linked to the Monte Carlo Academy, traveling constantly between the two schools. In two years, I obtained the ‘’2nd degree Excellence” at the Monte Carlo Academy, which is practically the second professional level. At that point, the academy set a limit, they said
“you are too old to be a dancer, if you want to study with us, you have to go back to third grade”. “The 3rd grade is the last pre-professional level, but in the meantime I had already got the 4th grade, with “1st Excellence” and “2nd Excellence”. So to be honest, at that point I sent them a bit to hell! I returned to Vicenza and talked to my mother, I did not know what to do, I was undecided whether to go for an internship in London or other European cities. My mother told me “look, don’t take up the internship; you will come back in a few months just the same. Just pick up a city and make a real experience.” So I immediately thought of New York, because it seemed the place where my name could be erased and rewritten, a place so far away, where I had no contact, no connection to Italy. I left almost immediately, it was September 25th, and when I found myself sitting in the plane, I realized I did not know a word of English. I had studied French at school and I chose to
do theater instead of languages in high school. On the plane, I chatted with a man, an Austrian university lecturer who spoke Italian. He asked me what I was doing, I said that I was going to New York and I did not have a place to stay, but I felt sure that I would find it easily ... He said, “Look, when you arrive at the airport, I will get you to board the bus to Grand Central Station. When you get there, ask for the lockers, where you can leave your suitcase. He practically put me on the bus, and I got to Grand Central Station, which is an amazing thing for us Italians, especially for me, since I grew up in a provincial town. I remember that, all of a sudden, I found myself in the midst of thousands of people walking around, and me with my bags, my huge green dance bag that I carried everywhere, and all these people around ... I kept saying “ Lockers, Lockers! “(lockers for luggage, author’s note) to find this place, and I pretty much arrived and found this shack. It was there then, I do not know if it still exists, after September 11th. Anyway, I left my suitcase, I kept my dance bag and began to walk around the city. It was dark by then, it was night and only then I realized that I had walked into something bigger than me. I was really overwhelmed by discouragement, by a strong sense of repentance. I was almost halfway around the world and I did not know anything about where to go, how to get my bearings. I remember walking in the straight, long, streets lined only by huge skyscrapers, and then I arrived into a huge green area. The more I walked, the more I repeated to myself “What have you done! But what you have done!”. At one point I almost arrived to York Avenue, where I learned later that there is also the mayor’s home. There was a park with benches, I went and lay down there, I was shaken up. I spent the first night on the bench. I collapsed in a few moments, I was exhausted. With a broken back, I woke up at first light and decided to explore the city. The discouragement was still there, but with the morning light, those colors, I was fascinated. I was very young, full of excitement of life. I went into the discovery of the Big Apple. “I had a plan, find a home and then find a dance school to study. I did not want to become a dancer right away but to find a school, get a visa and from there, enter the job market. It eventually worked up like this. In the meantime, however, I still did not know where to go to sleep on the second night. I remembered that, in Italy, the emergency department also accommodates homeless people, drug addicts, and I wondered if it would be the same here. Not that I considered myself in any of the two categories...
I was just hoping for a roof over my head. “I kept walking up and down Uptown Manhattan because even if the worst happened, I would have known how to return to the park. Then I learned that it was not the same in America. The ER (Emergency Room, note) is available mostly only at hospitals, and not all are directly accessible from the street, open 24 hours on 24. So, while walking around looking for an accessible Emergency Room, I ended at Betty Roe, that back then was in Uptown. I went and lay down on the long benches, trying to sleep. Thankfully in those days, it was easier because there were guards outside, not like that today that it is full of police everywhere. At one point, at midnight, they made me leave but I was so tired, that I began to cry in front of this guard who wanted me out. I begged him not to do it in my weird English. He was very nice and told me to follow him. He took me behind the Reception desk where at that time, there were all the insurance forms sorted and someone had to take them individually and put one over the other. It was the typical form that everyone in America must fill in when they arrive at the hospital, where it says if you have or do not have insurance, all the data, etc. Well, that night I busied myself! The guy made me work late into the night until I finished everything, after which he said, “Now come with me” and took me to a closet full of boxes of the hospital’s computers. He gave me a pillow and a blanket and made me sleep there. “That is where I spent my second night in New York. Looking back now, it seems more and more incredible. However, on the third day I met an Italian, I heard a guy speaking Italian, I froze and said, “Look, look, help me if you live here.” He is a very friendly and sympathetic Romano, today we are still friends, his name is Gigi and h immediately said, “Come, come tonight to a party with me!”. So on the third night, I slept at his house and then I found a Neapolitan lady who lived in Queens who could offer me a room. This lady was cute, had no children and took a liking of me. It was an important moment, because having a place to sleep gave me a chance to find a school, the first scholarships, even a job. I got a job as a stevedore for a moving company because even though I did not speak English, at least I could download stuff! The accommodations with the lady in
Queens did not work out for me, because it was away from Manhattan and I was young, I needed to stay where the action was, where everything was happening. Several times I thought I almost preferred to sleep the street! I did not resist more than two weeks, then Gigi helped me again and found me a room, paid this time, by a lady he knew in the Village. She was an alcoholic black woman. She had a daughter who was sleeping in the room with her, I was sleeping in the room of her daughter and paid $ 125 a week. The living room was leased to a terminally ill man with AIDS, at the time there were still so many. It was then that I discovered this peculiarity of the people living in Manhattan, in short, the kind of people who need to split the costs: the couch or the living room sofa are rented out as sleeping berths. This is still very common todayâ€?. This was Marco Pelle just after landing in the US, as countless other Italians before and after him. Each one with a fascinating history, often bitter, often sullen, but almost always with a brilliant side. And America does not offer you any alternatives: in the United States you can only maximize your qualities, the system itself offers it to you. As a matter of fact, it does not offer it, it imposes it on you, and Marco knows it. In this country, especially in a city as tough and competitive as New York, there is the absolute Darwinian law: you can stay only if you can adapt to the rules, to the system. Only if you know how to give as much as you can without counting working hours or days, only if you are ready to get in the game completely, adopting fully the mentality, pace and customs. Look at Manhattan: is it not the whole world? Races, cultures, religions, colors, everything is different, an absolute diversity in every aspect of the population that gives it life and yet everything goes along. And it goes along fast, faster than any other place in the world where there are more different ethnic groups, races and religions living together. Here they all do one thing: they work. Jews and Muslims and Christians, blacks, whites, yellows, and any shade in between, they are all living with a single goal, a better life, and greater wealth. You can argue whether this is completely good or not, it can be discussed at length, but here in the meantime, while others talk, people go forward and work, and the Big Apple shines with pure energy. That energy has given Marco the opportunity to become today one of the most respected choreographers worldwide.
“I’m still not successful in the full sense of the word, I’d say that today I am more serene than in the past. The first 14 years I spent here in New York, were really tough but I can say that I also experienced wonderful moments of satisfaction.
I started to choreograph the New York Theater Ballet when I was 27, when they gave me this huge opportunity to express myself. From there, a little at a time, I started to find my true expressive course. The experience encouraged me to let go of those outside influences and I managed to find my inner eye. I still don’t know if there is true success and what it is exactly, but certainly I can finally say that today I’m comfortable in my artistic self. “For some years, I have been carrying out a magnificent collaboration with Fabrizio Ferri and we are taking care of some unpublished works, different projects. For example, I set up a new choreography for Luciana Paris, a first soloist for the American Ballet. It was a world premiere at the Capri festival and I danced with her a ten minute Philip Glass solo. I have created several choreographies for Luciana and in the last two years, I have also extended into modern dance. I also choreographed a song by Battiato “la Cura”, I really loved its lyrics. I did the same thing with the beautiful lyrics by Jovanotti of the song “io ti amerò.” I love reading so much, especially poems, so at times song lyrics strike me, because I feel them like real poetry. That is how I also choreographed in Milan a poem about Alda Merini’s angel, that is a truly a wondrous beauty! The choreography was for Beatrice Carbone who was a first soloist at La Scala in Milan, followed by the adagio for piano.
“With Roberto Bolle and directed by Fabrizio Ferri, we did a short film called “Passage” that opened the Venice Film Festival in 2013. It proved so successful that we then turned it into a longer piece for theater, where there is an interaction with video on stage.
The theater version of “Passage” opened last year At the Arena di Verona and is now on a world tour. This year, we also had the first presentation here in the US, at the Music Center of Los Angeles. The success there was amazing, perhaps due to the fact that Los Angeles is the city of Cinema, the video / short film combination in the theatrical performance was really appreciated. Roberto was extraordinary in Los Angeles, I have had a strong friendship with him for years. There is a great collaboration between us and the artistic creativity has been and continues to be fantastic. In an article published in the spring of 2015 by the Spanish newspaper El País, it presented the 10 reasons why we love dance and “Passage” was listed as the seventh. What a pleasure for us! “Passage” moves the audience, people watch it and in some way, they are moved. For us, who created it putting heart and soul, is really a great satisfaction that this piece is perceived in such a profound way. “On Alessandra Ferri’s return to the stage in 2013 at the Spoleto Festival, I worked very well with her in the show called “Piano Upstairs” and I won the SIAE award as emerging choreographer. With her, I have a very strong human relationship, a fantastic artistic collaboration that we both put one in the service of the other. She and Roberto are really the best for me in terms of artistic collaboration.
I am also artistically in love with the famous French dancer Isabelle Ciaravola, a very famous Etoille of the Paris Opera. She is famous for her legs and feet! She has these crazy feet and incredible legs, she is a beautiful woman, so beautiful, and a crazy good dancer. I courted her artistically for a year, until she agreed to be choreographed by me and last year, I created three works for her, two light really funny pieces, made for the Paris Fashion Week, and a rather more serious piece called “the esprit libéré “ that she continues to dance. She continues to dance it even in these months, for example in Japan and I’m proud, because I gifted it to her. She dances around and sends me pictures and thanks. I must say that when I fall in love with the skill of a danseuse or a
dancer, I find very often that the choreography belongs to them, others may dance it but when the artist for who I created it interprets it, he or she becomes really the soul of the choreography. Deep down, in my opinion the choreography is nothing more than a form of channeling, it is something that comes from within. Over the years, I have come to understand that channeling is a choreography of two souls, the dancer and the choreographer, who share something that then takes shape as movement. It is the concrete result of total inner and artistic collaborationâ€?.
Career Milestones Marco was born in Italy and began studying classical ballet with Maria Berica dalla Vecchia in Vicenza. He continued at the Montecarlo Academy â€œPrincesse Graceâ€? under the direction of Marika Besobrasova, one of the most talented dancers in history. At 22, he decided to move to New York and in the following years, he won several merit scholarships at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio in Manhattan. During his years of artistic training studies, he studied with Francois Perron, among others. He is already a dancer in several companies, performing in the most important theaters in the United States. In 2001, he began his collaboration with the New York Theatre Ballet, first as a dancer, when he made several performances, and later as a choreographer. This ongoing partnership continues to put Marco in charge of the most successful shows nationally and internationally.
The Letter to the Young by Marco Pelle We all fight an inner battle. On the one hand desire, on the other hand ambitions. On one side the having, on the other side the being. This letter is a big hug from the man that I am, to the young man who almost twenty years ago left his home to follow a dream. When talking to that young man today, I talk to all the young people I meet every day and tell me about their dreams. I speak to all of you. The age of the first flight is a delicate moment in the life of a man; it is a precarious balance. On the one hand, you hear a voice within yourself that is well aware of where your happiness lies; on the other hand, always within yourself, there is an eye that studies how the other is watching us, looking at the garden of others, confusing a juicy fruit with a healthy plant. Behold, the voice inside yourself is what I call aspiration. The look within yourself is desire. Our big battle is to follow the first and not to believe in the second. When people ask me what I would recommend to young people, the answer is always the same: “Follow your inner voice, because it knows what makes you happy.” Follow it, without fear. And never be afraid to be ridiculous. Never. Enter the world aware that within you there is the key to true joy, the one that will take you into the world, that will make you wonderful human beings in a better world. Do not chase the dreams of others! Do not look for America only because there is something called the “American dream”!
You are the American dream, it’s me, it is within us. In any place, at any moment, under any sky. Because, if we listen to our inner voice when it tell us what makes us happy, there is our America. Anywhere. I was young, but I was already too old to dance. I was twenty. I had to study with 5 year old children to put together the necessary foundations to advance. I had never studied dance before. I was ridiculous. But I did not know, I was not aware of it. I was perfectly aligned with my inner voice, and I followed it. I did not feel fatigue, pain, fear. I only felt a great inner need to realize my ambition, to become the Marco I knew was alive and pulsing inside me. Each one of us has within this creature alive and kicking, but we often get duped by the dreams of others, the desire for fame, wealth, a different social status. That is not the voice to follow! That is the voice we need to silence! Fame, wealth, social status, do not give Joy. They are not the source of happiness. The only real source of joy is to follow their inner voice, the one that leads us instinctively to our flight. I have a very strong image of me: I’m 23, I already live in America, and I’m walking along the West Side Highway in Manhattan, listening to Alanis Morissette. It is a cold winter day, and I am going to the restaurant where I work to pay my living. I’m not sad. I’m not happy. I am just powerful. Because inside me, I have all the power of my dream, all the certainty that this is the only life for me. There is no doubt that can stop me, not a single doubt. I walk in the evening, I’m broke, but inside me there is an enormous treasure: the certainty of my inner beat, the sky where I can fly. Nothing distracts me from there. You know when I got fragile? One autumn evening, a few years later, when, falling in love for the first time, I felt someone’s gaze on me. And I decided at that time to become a perfect image.
Not perfect for me, but perfect for that look. In a moment, I lost touch with my inner voice. In a moment, I lost touch with my inner voice. It took me years, countless paths, strange and wonderful circumstances but, like Odysseus returned to his Penelope, one day I got back to my inner voice. It embraced me again, as if those dark years did not dampen either me or her. Where does this strange letter want to end? At my deepest wish: that you can always listen to your heart. And that you do not allow anybody to send you away from the voice inside you. I wish that you never feel shame in your eyes, to have no regrets nor remorse, but only one great certainty: to have followed your inner voice, aware that it comes from the heart and just wants your joy. There it is success, then, Life pays off. By doing so, I swear that you will never be children of the old world. But the fathers of a new world. I embrace you all, with all the affection I have. Marco
For Marco Pelle, Beauty is “synchronicity and coincidence. There is something in the perfect relationship in time, in looks, in the lines, combinations, intersections, which is the real beauty … A sunset is not beautiful unless it is completely synchronized with the clouds, the sky and the sea waves … The sun falling down by itself does not mean anything without the harmony of the world that embraces it. We are not beautiful either without the inner synchrony between body and soul. For me, beauty is in the synchrony.”.
Human-Machine Communication/Scientist, Technologist - San Francisco, CA Scientist, engineer and researcher on the fields of computer science, voice recognition, high tech.
Major professional tenures at: • CSELT (Centro Studi e Laboratori Telecomunicazioni); • Bell Labs, Murray Hill, NJ • AT&T Labs, Florham Park, NJ • SpeechWorks International • IBM Research (Thomas J. Watson Research Center, NY) • SpeechCycle • ICSI - International Computer Science Institute. • JIBO • Assistant Professor at California College of the Arts • “Fellow” award by IEEE and ISCA, International Speech Communication Association • Two awards “Speech Technology Luminary” by “Speech Technology Magazine” • Director of the Board at AVIOS (the Applied Voice Input/Output Society)
Roberto Pieraccini Language, the first invention of our species.
It has been over 40 years since the film Space Odyssey where a computer was able to hold interesting conversations with humans. It was the imagination of brilliant director Stanley Kubrick that made HAL 9000 talk, the machine with the big red eye that some still try to build, perhaps to exchange some arguments on the future and, why not, on the past. While it is true that at the beginning of the third millennium, we still do not have any computer able to understand language in such depth as to allow it to talk fluently, it is also undeniable that the technology since then has made great strides. And I am not the one saying this, he is. The man who gives voice to robots, automatons, our phones, our cars. Voice applications in modern technology became the life of this electrical engineer, and in a sense his past, his present and no doubt his future. Roberto Pieraccini, the Italian naturalized American who lives in the beautiful, European-like San Francisco and loves the portentous New York. A laboratory genius constantly dedicated, active and diligent in making more realistic the perspective of our daily life populated by multi-beings, namely humans and human-like machines, living together helping each other. While we cannot help but hope that such coexistence is translated only in terms of mutual help and a better quality of life for all, the only question that remains in the air ... itâ€™s still scary. What can we really expect? Is the progress of high technology robotics beneficial? Will we live more and more between robots and mutants? Humans who, as we know, use their intellectual capacity to a maximum of 10% of its potential cannot claim to give comprehensive answers, but there are those who use that 10% entirely to give concrete form to those answers. Roberto Pieraccini has worked for over 30 years on exactly this, to get robots and objects of all kinds to talk and make them to say only good things. He is the kind of scientist that I like to imagine with the springs popping out from the temples, completely absorbed among the fumes of ampoules and smoldering metal pieces
waiting to be assembled that even he does not know where. More realistically, he is an electrical engineer who grew between Viareggio, Pisa and Turin, who then exploded in his humanoid research through the opportunities offered by the great America. Thirty years and more devoted to research in the fields of computer science and high technology, such as voice recognition, speech synthesis, natural language understanding, voice biometrics. And the fascinating science of communication between man and machine is the present in the future or, if you will, the future in the present, where speech recognition is just one of many areas of application. Rivers of technology, an oceanic diversity of applications, to say the least, today we already live in a present dependent on machines. For a curious and enthusiastic person about life, this is a breakthrough that offers such convenience that only 10 years ago was science fiction. Progress. Yes, precisely that form of human evolution created by our hands, that intellect road that generates or should generate collective welfare. And this is a road that engineer Pieraccini drives every day and that can make you happy and scared at the same time, according to our curiosity, he holds that this is just the beginning
How I became who I am “If we look at the history of the world, even only the evolution of the last 100,000 years, we realize that the 3,000 years of human civilization are nothing. There is a certain logarithmic law for which it can be said that our real progress has only been achieved in the last 5, 10 years, or since technologies like Siri, Google, and the like came out. But this is not because we discovered something really new, but because the wide distribution of computers worldwide generated access to an immensity of data. This data then allowed us to break through barriers of technology that once seemed insurmountable. If we look at the technologies we have today, we realize that, in essence, from the 70s to now, it has not changed all that much; today, as then, we use more or less the same things. Of course, there have been major changes in voice recognition and speech synthesis, but the technology has not really changed, what has changed is the computer power, what has changed is the amount of data available to us for to create applications that can ‘learn’ to recognize your voice and speech. If we take, for example, just verbal communication, technology divides it into two aspects. The first is voice recognition, where I’m listening and I can understand you, which is initially to recreate the message in your mind; you try to tell me something and I recreate this message, this idea, this vision, in my mind. The second is the production, also called synthesis, that is, when we talk among ourselves, when I can produce a message on my mind that goes to the listener. In the past thirty, thirty-five years, since I started in this industry, evolution has been truly amazing, huge strides have been made, but we cannot admit that the things that we have not managed to replicate are not few! “What don’t we have yet? In the field of recognition, we have for example what is called ‘strength’ in the ability of human understanding, the robustness. That is, you and I can talk at a cocktail party with an incredible noise around us and still manage to understand each other, but today this is not possible with voice recognition. The ability to communicate in adverse conditions, the so-called acoustic adversity, has not been solved yet. Just do the test with Siri in a room full of people, in a restaurant, for example. It cannot
do it, it does not work. But the evolution of technology has been incredible over the last decade, so we can expect to solve this boundary soon.
Understanding the complexity of human language is still the basis of all my research, and it is the human component of my work. One of the aspects I most passionate about is understanding better how our communication works. After thirty, thirty five years of work on voice, the human communication, the complexity of language still amazes me. Our brain has somehow managed to mold itself, to be modeled on the language, and in this sense, scientifically speaking, it is often described as co-evolution: our color vision evolved as a function of the fact that flowers have colors. Similarly in animals, they have color-vision, a form of visual adaptation that has co-evolved with that of plants: animals and plants were attracted precisely according to the phenomenon of color-vision. A real quid pro quo, cooperation. The path of language was somewhat similar, and many researchers believe that this is our first invention, the first invention of our species: how did we invent it, how were we able to invent something so enormously complex that works so well? What is known is that
our language has evolved almost independently and our brain has evolved to understand our language. And that is what makes us a different species, in fact we are unique among the species that exist on Earth, since we are the only ones with a level of symbolic understanding. The study and understanding of these issues is one of the research lines that I have been following for years. My research range is wide and in many fields such as the elimination of barriers, another area that fascinates me. A world where there are no technological barriers; deep down, barriers are purely mental; people put them up and they become limits on the use of technology, this is also one of the objectives of the work that I carry out now.
For example, some barrier is the aversion of the elderly, frequently also of middle-aged people, against computers or smart phones, and before that against video-recorders or other electronic equipment. These people perceive these technologies as scary things! My mother lives in Italy and we talk very often while I’m here in San Francisco. She is 87 years old and still in good shape, but she does not think it is right to use the computer ... I spoke with her yesterday ‘Mom, you have to go on Facebook, because you can see what I do, we can look at each other as we speak ... ‘,’ no, no, I’m old, I only play the solitaire on the computer. “ “What I hope, and I have always wished for, is the ability to bring down these barriers that exist between machines, machines that were created to help. It’s true, they can also destroy us like any other technologies, but never forget that it is not the technology to be good or bad, but the use we make of it. Then, as the plane that you can use to travel between different places or to drop bombs, it is the same with the computers, we can use them to make war or to keep us all closer as I do - or would like to do - with my mother who is several thousand miles away, so we could talk as if we were in the same room in Italy! Breaking down barriers is one of the challenges that guided me in these years, surely one of the strongest incentives in my research. “Speaking of barriers that technology must help us overcome, there is solitude, no doubt about it. This is why I am working on now with Jibo, a small ‘social’ robot. We all realize that increasingly, global society produces loneliness, especially in the elderly, but also in people of any age. A phenomenon strongly felt here in the US but of course it exists everywhere, but in different proportions. The idea of having an object with which we can entertain in the emotional sense is an idea that I find very, very appealing and it is worth to continue exploring in the coming years.
There will be more and more lonely people, more and more older people who do not have any friends or children... Jibo is a companion.
You can ask it for help, you can engage in an emotional exchange if you’re feeling down, you can count on it for many other aspects. It is a social robot because it communicates using the rules of social communication: when two people talk to each other, they do not stay still, they move, their facial expressions change, if I say something sad I have a sad expression, if I say something cheerful I have a cheerful one, if I am called by my name, I turn around and the other person sees that I talk to him. Jibo does all of this. He communicates using expressions, he moves and he adds something that voice applications do not have. If you talk to Siri, Cortana or Google Voice, there is no emotion, while Jibo has many applications where emotion is expressed in an almost human level. Returning to the issues of elderly people, we must keep in mind the three main causes of death of an elderly person who lives alone: the first one is dehydration, amazing!
As a matter of fact, the older we become, t he more often we forget to drink, then having someone or something that tells you ‘hey, did you drink your glass of water?’ May seem silly but, hey, it saves your life! Forgetting to take medication and fall without anyone around to help you get up are the other two most frequent causes of death in the elderly. Robotic machines can help in this. Here, in the streets of San Francisco, I saw big bright billboards that say that 20% of people who are around us today will live to more than 100 years, so it is a certainty, the populations are becoming increasingly older. “Despite what we want to believe, living conditions have improved a lot over the years, fortunately the world is becoming less violent and we live longer, and it is very likely that we will be lonelier. In this sense, Jibo can be a useful companion, but obviously it has an infinite number of other applications, other uses. Basically, it is a platform that allows the world of developers to multiply applications, and thanks to this, we can expect it will be enriched by more and more applications of all different types, applications for children to learn languages and for storytelling, applications for supervision of a child sleeping in the upstairs room, where Jibo can warn you when he wakes up or when he makes some noise and so on ... Look at the iPhone phenomenon, when it came out, there were 5 or
6 applications, today there are millions, thus we do not know where the evolution of Jibo technology will lead. We hope to see a market environment with hundreds of thousands of applications. “The global market is literally starved of these technologies, just look at the current trend, with little robots for home use that will clean the house, like the ‘Roomba’, or the ‘WowWee MiP Robot’, a spherical robot, a toy that you can control virtually from your iPhone, recently put on the market by Apple. The French company Aldebaran Robotics has recently commercialized ‘Pepper’, a humanoid robot a little more than a meter tall, with long arms, with ‘emotional’ features, and companies like Google and Facebook have invested millions of dollars in robotics. Everything points to one thing: robotics is undoubtedly the next frontier. The frontier that will get us fully connected, connected: our houses will be fully connected via wi-fi and we will be able to take care of pretty much everything remotely. It’s called the Internet of Things, where the home robots will be the masters! Jibo opens the door for this development: it controls the temperature of the rooms, it opens the door, it can program your the TV to view or record shows, and much more. Today, virtually every object in the world can have an Internet address, with the expansion of Internet V6, anything. Here in the center of San Francisco, right next to my house, ‘Open House’ was opened, which I think is the first store of its kind: you can buy yourself a light bulb connected to the Internet, a light bulb! That is, you put this light bulb at home and remotely, you can control the brightness, intensity ... all from your smart phone. You can think of crazy things, but this is only the beginning. “ Behind it all, I think the concept of “invisible technology” is very interesting. We think about twenty years ago, if one walked around with a Tablet, people would look at him wondering what it was. Today, the tablet is common, in fact, if you do not have it, people wonder, ‘but don’t you have a Tablet at home?!’. And the same is true for smart phones and similar communication technology. We all have something like that.
It’s called invisibility, transparency of technology, that is, when the technology becomes truly pervasive, so much that we no longer see it, we do not realize that there is because it is part of us.
“These topics are fascinating and I analyze them in my recent book ‘The Voice in the Machine: Building Computers That Understand Speech’. It ‘a story suitable for any reader, where I describe the evolution of the processes of speech recognition and understanding of language, from sound waves up to the studies on artificial intelligence developed for statistical learning and the development of human communication based on a rigorous and specific mathematical model, the Hidden Markov Model (HMM). Far from wanting to be a scientific treatise, I present in the book the development of the principles of dialogue, the ability to develop speech, and the path necessary to get talking machines on the market, all in with words and concepts quite common and understandable to most. On the book, I go through time on the evolution of language to the present day and I look even further, by asking a question that I think we all ask ourselves: will the talking machines of the future look like the kind of HAL 9000 or should we expect something completely different? Believe me, I do not have the ‘right answer’! “Even if technology dominates the world or not, it is still technology. Man has not only practical needs and desires to be fulfilled perhaps robotically, the human being is above all culture.
We are the result of thousands of years of experience that make up our culture. If I think about my own case, as an Italian, I am terribly proud of my roots. I often jokingly say that I’m not monogamous in terms of nationality: while I certainly am in real life, when I think of belonging to one or the other country, I feel like a bigamist! I love them both, like if they were two mothers for me. I was born in Italy, I did not choose to, while America has been a rational, desired choice, and I am happy to live there. Two countries that I love equally for different reasons. Italy is deep in my nature, my most intimate culture, it is what has enriched me of the ability to see things in a certain way. Seeing the beauty of things comes from Italy. I think about my family, my parents, all they gave me in terms of sensitivity, understanding of values; they did not have the opportunity to
study, they grew up in times of war, but then my father began to study on his own and became a marine machinist, he traveled the world far and wide. He was a very cool guy and I owe him a lot. Without a formal education, he spoke five languages, knew literature and had a vast culture. When I was a boy, he often repeated the ‘song of Ulysses’ of The Divine Comedy, when Ulysses is in front of the Pillars of Hercules and the others tell him insistently ‘let’s go back, let’s go back! ‘And he says,’ You were not born to live like brutes but to follow virtue and knowledge ‘. A philosophy of life that has since remained part of me, and my children have also learned it.” In life the most important thing is not money nor recognition, but the experiences that are part of our culture as individuals”.
Career Milestones Scientist, engineer and researcher in the fields of computer science and high technology, expert in human-computer communications, photographer, artist, writer, this is only a short, concise, brief presentation of what engineer Pieraccini embodies. Born in Italy, he lived in Viareggio, Turin, New Jersey, upstate New York, briefly in Paris, and Manhattan. He now resides in San Francisco, California. He moved from business research (CSELT, Bell Labs, IBM Research), to start-ups (SpeechWorks SpeechCycle), and academic research (ICSI, Berkeley) and now, he heads a team of researchers in the field of speech recognition and speech synthesis for Jibo. Roberto Pieraccini got married just a few months ago. He has two children, Alessandra aged 24 and Daniel 30, who live in and around New York. Alessandra was born in the US, while Daniele was born in Piedmont and moved with his family to America at the age of three and, as dad clarifies, both feel and care a lot to be very Italian. For Roberto, family is of course an essential part of his path as an engineer who, at some point in life, decided to cross the ocean and settle in the United States. But as it often happens, it was not a premeditated decision.
After graduating in electronic engineering in Pisa, he worked at CSELT between 1981 and 1989 (Telecommunications Study and Laboratory Center) in Turin, where he carried out research in the field of speech technologies. He discovered his special interest for the study of language understanding and speech recognition, and a few years later moved to New Jersey where he planned to work for a year at Bell Labs (Bell Labs). Instead, he spent 10 years at Bell and in 1999, he moved the company SpeechWorks International (now Nuance Communications) for the position of director of the Natural Dialog Department, until 2003, when the company was acquired by Scansoft. In 2003, he held the position of manager of IBM Advanced Technologies Research Centre in the field of conversation. Later on, he became the Chief Technology Officer of SpeechCycle and CEO of ICSI (International Computer Science Institute) in Berkeley, California. Today, he is Head of the Research Center for voice communication for Jibo, the first “social” robot on the world market. He is also Adjunct Professor at the California College of Art, where he teaches a course on “Interaction Design” to Master students. During his career, he has written more than 120 articles, editorial collaborations to numerous books and publications for conferences on the subject of speech recognition, language understanding, optical character recognition, and dialogue systems. In 2011, he was awarded the honorary title of “Fellow” by the IEEE, the world’s largest professional association for the advancement of technology, for his contributions to the understanding of language statistics, research in the field of natural conversation and learning. He is also a Fellow of ISCA, the International Speech Communication Association and the AVIOS board (the Applied Voice Input / Output Society), a non-profit professional organization that promotes the understanding of the benefits of using voice recognition technology. He recently published the book “The Voice in the Machine” (MIT Press), based on the history, technology, and business of computer speech recognition.
The Letter to the Young by Roberto Pieraccini Hello, I would like to tell you some good news. At this time, when maybe you’re feeling dejected and depressed, fearful of the future, because when you look around, you think that there is no future for you. A future in which you can have a unique and beautiful life, chase your dreams, use your creativity, intelligence, and curiosity that nature gave you. A future in which you will never be troubled for not doing what you wanted most. Well, the good news is that this future is possible, it is in front of you, you just have to reach it. It depends only on you, and it’s your choice, either to pursue this future, or survive. I understand that life is difficult. Many of your friends have dropped out of school because ‘’ ... there’s no hope.” Many have adapted to do jobs they do not like, where they do not use their skills, just to make ends meet. Many have fallen into the deepest despair. But no. None of that. Believe me. Your dreams are the most important thing you have, and you owe it to yourself not to abandon them, and never stop dreaming. Now that you’re young, and until the last day of your life. And I’ll tell you a secret. Dreams come true, much more often than we have been led to believe. Indeed, almost always. It is hard to say when a dream will come true, but be sure that, if you do not stop dreaming, and do everything you can to achieve it, at the end you get what you want. And now, if you let me, I will give you a bit of advice that will help you achieve your dreams. First of all, have always an inexhaustible desire to learn. Do not believe those who tell you that studying does not matter, that culture does not pay. They are all falsehoods. Culture, and the ability to appreciate it, is the basis of everything. You can become rich and powerful, but if you lack the ability to understand beauty, good taste, to appreciate the complexity and diversity of the world, you have nothing, my dear. Go on and never stop studying what you love, instead of what you think will make you rich and powerful. Study science, technology, art, literature, music, history. Do not put yourself in a box. Expand your horizons. There is not a specific time to learn. Always learn, every day, every moment of life.
Second, do not let the difficulty or fear of unknown block your dreams. Live on the edge of your fears, and go beyond. Extend your limits. Your limits are far beyond what society and the environment dictate. Do not be afraid of the world do not know. Travel, explore and respect other cultures that are different from yours. Be a citizen of the world. Third, work hard. Nothing is achieved without work and dedication. Do not believe in easy targets. Do not believe in easy gains. Do not believe and do not expect that the world will help. Believe in yourself, in your abilities, in your strength to fly over obstacles that life will surely put ahead of you. Always try to be better today than you were yesterday. Be the champion of yourself. Quality is achieved with hard work. Let me conclude by giving you these verses of a great writer, Rudyard Kipling, hoping that you will be inspired by them, as I was: “If you can fill each unforgiving minute, giving value to each of the sixty seconds, then yours will be the Earth and everything what it is in it. And - which is more important- you’ll be a Man, my son!” Roberto
For Roberto Pieraccini, Beauty is “something you take in and you can not explain. A Mozart sonata, a Renoir painting or an algorithm written really well, great codes, a program written well. There is something that goes beyond everything and that elevates us above all things. It makes us human. That is beauty”.
Photo Credit: Eviepea.wordpress.com
Francesco Vincent “Frank” Serpico Former NYC Police Detective - New York. NY
He brought to the attention of the authorities and the general public the corruption in the police department of New York City. On February 3rd 1971, he was shot in the face. In 1971, he testified against police corruption to the Knapp Commission. He was the first policeman in the history of American police to testify against a colleague. In June 1972, he received a medal of honor and quit the police. In 1973, Al Pacino played “Serpico” presenting on screens around the world the story of Frank Serpico. In 1997, he presented a legislative proposal at the New York City Council for an independent commission to monitor and control corruption and abuse of violence by the police.
Frank Serpico Forty four years with a bullet in my head.
This is the story of glory against human pettiness. It is a story of normalcy in a world of shame. In these lines, I would like to know how to tell the story of a good man who has dedicated his life to honesty, and received a bullet in the head and endless humiliations. This is the story of Frank Serpico, the detective who just wanted to be a policeman, but was blocked by a system of rampant corruption inside the New York Police Department. It was the 70s, a young police officer is promoted and decides to become a detective. His job is to capture the bad guys, and in those years New York, the beating and vigorous Big Apple, was really the lair of the worst bandits of modernity. Neighborhoods like the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, and even the currently trendy East Village, were inundated by rivers of drugs, street violence, theft, prostitution, everyday rapes and the Mafia. So much Mafia. Thanks to his grandparents, Francesco is Italian, actually Neapolitan. He is proud of his origins and based on his principles and his high pride in wanting to distinguish one type of Italian from the other, the young detective is beyond reproach. The cop has to be a cop and the thief is a thief, and for him, the work is to uncover the worst crooks and he does it right: then, he is loved and hated for his eccentricity and he wears the most absurd disguises, which by the way, are nothing more than mirroring the style of an era of hippies and punks. He does so much and he uncovers so much, that he inevitably goes to clash with the consolidated exchange of bribes between colleagues, the scourge of the entire body of police of those years. But he does not buckle. The more he rejects the offers, the more he is shunned by colleagues, laughed at. He cannot admit it, he did not decide to become a cop to side with the crooks, so he reacts. He denounces all, but his idea of medieval knight overcoming evil with strokes of his dignity sword, literally collapses on him. The truth of a system corrupt to the bone not only upsets him, but hits him directly, and it has a conical shape and a bronzed color with an average weight of 8 grams. A bullet shot within a few centimeters, straight in front of him, in a cold winter night in New York.
Somehow, certainly by a miracle, Frank survived. Since then, he has had that bullet in the head, as an atrocious souvenir from those colleagues who let happen what happened. They wanted to silence him, as has been said for years, the department wanted him dead because he was blurting all their dirty inside business. It was never clear who and why did this but, even so, those fools who hoped to silence him with lead could not have been gotten it any worse. Young, now half-deaf and increasingly hated by the majority of police officers in the city, Frank simply continued on his way. After his trust was evidently betrayed by his superiors, he decided to denounce what he knew directly to the highest pinnacle of the Police Department. And even when those senior leaders seemed not to have ears to hear and eyes to see, he put on such a din as to get a Commission established only for him. Then on 1972, his testimony to the Knapp Commission was the milestone that posed the real turning point to a secular system that needed to be stopped. Disgusted, always half deaf, always weighed down the left because of the bullet in the head that gave him alternating thoughts, between miracles and the betrayal of his colleagues, at the end of that year he left the Police and traveled abroad. He spent a long time in Europe, active in a myriad of events and conferences. But time passed and no matter how much he had suffered, he just could not give up his country. He returned a few years later and has since lived in a fairytale environment, in the intensely green upstate New York, in a house full of animals, birds and more to whom he dedicates the simple attention that deep down, makes up life. Naturalness of gestures, peace of mind, respect for themselves. With a life like this, he is not an easy man. He carries daily with him the signs of disgust with the human confusion, and it took me over a year to break enough into his confidence to be able to know him. It could be said that if at first you don’t succeed try and try again, and the result was a conversation that at times was even funny. Brilliant, always full of energy, Frank is a fascinating person, in manners, in appearance. When you look at him, you find a lot of the character that Hollywood got us used to see, or Al Pacino in his shoes. Then, you look at him again and realize that he is even more interesting than the character portrayed in the film ‘Serpico’. His American speech is often shuffled with the Neapolitan, learned from Mom Giovannina who, though born in America, grew up in Italy. His stories are sometimes terrible, sometimes very critical - and as if to prove him wrong - sometimes filled with tenderness, when he remembers the trip to Naples as a child, in the middle of summer and dressed in heavy wool because they could not afford seasonal clothing. Proud of his Italian origins, on June 27th, 2013 Frank is awarded the ‘San Michele Arcangelo’ Award, an official recognition of the Italian State Police, with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Interior, proposed and delivered by the US section of ANPS, the National Association of State Police based in New York. During the ceremony,
Frank also officially received the Italian citizenship, and his passport was handed to him by the Italian Chief Inspector of Police Sergio Italian Cirelli, president of the ANPS - USA, assigned to the General Consulate of Italy in New York. On this occasion, Frank did not want to hold back praise for the work and dedication of Inspector Cirelli: ‘I know you did a meticulous research leading my Italian citizenship on the basis of jure sanguinis, ie on the basis of the lineage from my mother’s side. Inspector Cirelli is an example of correctness and professional dedication that honors the Italian police. Only later I learned that, in addition to his commitment here in the US as a police officer, he is also very dedicated to follow one of his three children who suffers from a very rare disease treated in a few centers in the world, one of which is right here in upstate New York ‘. Here, this is Francis “Frank” Serpico who I had the honor of meeting. The man who teaches us with his life how to live values and dignity against corruption and malfeasance. An example that we want to still broadcast today, especially in the Bel Paese, Italy, battered more than ever by widespread corruption, deep malaise, a real civic cancer, an unworthy limitation to the economic and social development of a country as magnificent as ours. Sometimes harsh, often bitter, I let his words tell the world he has lived and is living. The true Frank Serpico, the one who has always refused to compromise to violence, corruption, the betrayal of his colleagues, by putting ahead what was most valuable, his life. And his face.
145 Photo Credit: Renegatepopo.com
146 Photo Credit: Politico.com
How I became who I am “The opening scene of the movie ‘Serpico’ portrays the moment when I get shot in the face. In order to prepare for the role, Al Pacino came to stay with me for a few weeks, he wanted to know me so he could learn how to be me in the big screen. And I must say that, even today, I find very hard to watch those scenes, because they depict in a very realistic and terrifying way what really happened to me that night of February 3rd 1971. “I had been recently transferred to the Narcotics Division of the New York Police Department and, on that occasion, we had to break into the home of a drug dealer on the fourth floor of a building in Hispanic Brooklyn. The building had no elevator and when we arrived there, my colleague told me to come forward and knock to get the door open. He knew that I spoke Spanish, which is why he asked me. He told me, ‘open the door and then move away, we will intervene’. One of the two agents was placed to my left on the landing, about two meters away at gunpoint, the other stood behind me to the right, on the stairwell, also at gunpoint. When the door was opened, I immediately gave it a shove to break the chain, but the guy inside jumped and he closed it against me. I stood with the shoulder and right arm stuck inside the door.
I could not move, but I aimed my Smith & Wesson toward the dealer. “Here the film version is a bit different, because it shows Al Pacino struggling with the guy and he is not able to aim the 9 mm automatic. In truth, I had it aimed at him. But behind me, nobody moved. I got enraged and made the mistake of turning my eyes to my colleague to my left. By doing so, I took my eyes off the drug dealer and yelled ‘’ What the hell are you waiting for? Give me a hand! ‘The moment I looked back at the guy, I saw the blast from his gun firing me in the face. Almost at the same instant I also shot, probably as a reflection, and I hit him. Then he was arrested. When I regained consciousness, I was on my back, lying on the ground in a pool of blood, trying to figure out how serious that shot in the face was. I was conscious, I told myself ...
‘maybe it’s one of those shots coming in and out, maybe it is not fatal’, and I asked myself ‘do I still have it in the back of the head?’. “Then I heard a voice saying, ‘do not worry, everything will be fine’, and when I opened my eyes, I saw an old Hispanic man who said ‘do not worry, everything will be fine’. Minutes passed but there was not a hint of the rescue workers, and I remember that I never heard the code 10-13 called by radio. My colleagues had not even called the ambulance and later, I learned that it was the Hispanic senior who had done it. Only when another patrol car heard on the radio that a narcotics agent had been struck, they intervened and took me to the hospital. I heard later that one of the two officers who picked me up said that if he knew that it was me, he would not have intervened. One of the two officers who were with me that evening came to the hospital to bring me my watch. I said, ‘What the hell will I do with the watch? And the back-up I needed, you had to give me support at that time, where were you?’
And he answered ‘fuck you Serpico!’ And the most absurd of the absurd, really unbelievable, was that those two colleagues were rewarded with medals for saving my life. It has been a long time since then, but the bitterness remains. They tried to make me shut up? I cannot honestly say if it was deliberate or if it was an accident that left me hit that way, but it is undeniable that the code 10-13 was never issued that evening. The 1013 is the most important code in the police, it practically means that ‘you have to help an officer who is in trouble’! I remember well the first time I came across a situation as serious, and in that case the code probably saved my life, I will never forget it. It was late at night and there were three robbers who had just robbed a place and had entered their car trying to escape. As soon as they got in, I approached the car and opened a door, pointing the gun at one of them. While I aimed, I told him ‘do not move!’ Then I thought, ‘and now what do I do ...?’ I had three thieves in a car and I was alone, what would I do?
I told him to raise his hands, to keep him under control and moments later, I heard three sirens of police cars. In the dark of night, I heard the sirens and saw the lights and immediately I was surrounded by policemen. I had goose bumps all over my back. They told me then that one person had witnessed the robbery from a window and saw me there and had immediately called the police. That is what a 10-13 is: to rely on the speed of your colleagues.
I was there, with my weapon ready and aimed. Ready to die. Even today, the police department, as in past years, behaves as if I had never existed. A few years ago, during a conference about justice and fairness of the department at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Patrick Murphy, Police Commissioner in those years, spoke. At one point, I got up and said, ‘My name is Frank Serpico and I am a retired police detective with a bullet in my head for more than 40 years. Mr. Chief of Police, who do you think is responsible for what has happened to me, you remember my story well, don’t you? ‘He was silent. I said, ‘since then and for many years you have put me under a bad light, you have discredited me in every way, even making me pass as the most dangerous person in the police department of New York! Absurd. Everything, except protecting me when it was right and necessary ‘. I asked him what he had to say in his defense and he did not answer. I was wasting my time speaking to him, so I closed the discussion saying ‘be ashamed! It was at that point that he lowered his head, like a boy caught by her mother playing hooky”.
Career Milestones Francesco Vincent Serpico was born in Brooklyn. His father was born in Ohio and his grandfather was an Italian miner, who worked in the coal mines of West Virginia. His mother Giovannina moved to Italy with her family at age 3, to Marigliano, near Naples, where she grew up until she was 26. Then, they returned to the United States. At the age of eighteen, Frank enlisted in the US Army and served for two years in Korea. He joined the New York police department in 1959, at the age of twenty-three years and worked there for 12 years, until 1972. As a policeman, he immediately realized the rampant corruption among his colleagues and never accepted to get involved. With the first friction within his precint, he requested the transfer to the BCI (Bureau of Criminal Identification), where he worked until 1965. In that year, he was transferred twice to different precints and this is the period in which he began working undercover. His reaction to the growing phenomenon of bribery within the police led him to seek advice from different supervisors but they only processed more transfers. In the meantime, his relationships with colleagues worsened, he got known to counter the turn of bribes and bring it to the attention of his superiors. Still unheeded, he decided to report the situation until there was a concrete action to stop the problem, so he appealed to the then Chief of Police John F. Walsh and the mayor of that time, John Lindsay. He spent his time, his life, his work became increasingly difficult, and there came a time when, with no other reliable alternatives, he decided to turn to the New York Times. He hope that â€˜the media bombâ€? would eventually move things, given the general indifference shown by all levels of police and government institutions of the city. The New York Times made corruption in the police department a public affair and the news created such a stir to force Mayor Lindsay to initiate an inquiry commission, for which the judge Whittmann Knapp was appointed.
Photo Credit: Renegatepopo.com
The Letter to the Young by Frank Serpico If I were to talk to all the cadets of all States I would say that this is the greatest opportunity they have. The opportunity to save people, physically but also morally. Lead by example, this is the meaning of being a cop. Be proud and continue to do your duty at any cost. The other day I received a donation with a letter without a stamp, a donation of $ 10! It said ‘go on Serpico’. Here, things like that remind you to be the voice of those who cannot speak. And the young cadet, like any young person who enters the professional world, must keep this in mind: dignity is an extraordinary value that you must not allow anyone to dent. Because when you lose it, you will be working for the animals and your family and your children you will then have to live with it. If you have respect for people, people will respect you and will help you when you need it. And if you’re an Italian in America or anywhere else in the world, be proud, speak Italian, because Italians have built this country, Italians have built the United States of America. They broke their backs for this, they worked in the mines and died in the mines. Italians they have brought knowledge, crafts, talent and culture to the US. Never forget your culture.
Photo Credit: BrianJahnPhotopgraphy
For Frank Serpico, Beauty is “everybody have beauty. A guy the other day told me ‘young girls are beautiful’ and I told him ‘all women are beautiful and they are beautiful at any age’. Beauty is in your soul. Even if you try to look nice, to put up a pretty face, that’s not beauty. It is arrogance. Beauty is when you show what you really are”.
Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini Conflict photographer - New York. NY
Education: Parsons University; New School (double major: Media and Photography). His client list includes: Sunday Times, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Zeit, The Atlantic, Businessweek, GQ, Vogue. He has been represented by Sipa USA; the last two years by Getty Images Reportage.
Relevant awards and recognitions: • 2014: POY (Pictures of the Year); The Marty Forscher Fellowship, Award for Humanistic Photography; PDN, Photo Annual Documentary Award; PDN, Faces Documentary Portrait Award; Kontinent Award for Documentary • 2013: World Press Photo – 2° award ‘General News Story’; Visa D’or Award Perpignan; International Photo Awards – 1° award Photo Essay/Feature Story; New York Photo Awards – 1° Award, Documentary Series; Kontinent Awards, 1° Award, Documentary Series; PDN, Faces Editorial Portrait Award; American Photo Magazine, Picture of the Year. • 2012: Emerging Italian Talents, Italian/American Consulate • 2011: 2011 PDN Faces Celebrity/Editorial Portraits Award • 2010: PDN Faces; IPA, Honorable Mention; New York Photo Awards Finalist
Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini When you work in a war zone, your body adapts to the situation, you donâ€™t have time to be afraid.
It takes a liver as big as a house and a heart as huge as the universe. To understand what the story summarized below tells about this very young war photographer, we cannot stop at these words of mine. I wish for you to close the book and enter his full name on your smart phone or on your tablet, that you certainly have near you. If you can, open any of his photographs randomly, and prepare to be shocked, as it happens to me every time I look at them. Maybe you do not want to ruin your dinner, maybe you do not want to disturb the peace of mind of which we are blessed in our â€˜Westernâ€™ world, and perhaps you have every reason. But if you get into that mood that reminds you at least of the need to know, to be informed, then open the photographs and discover the world that Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini recounts with his photographic eye. You will see the faces of children whose dark, deep and motionless eyes look at him through the lens asking what is happening to them. You will see fathers, mothers, soldiers and animals in a single bath of human absurdity, that we all still need to understand a little. The war in those countries that already are almost razed to ground. This young guy, who is only 29 years old, left comfort and family wealth behind over 10 years ago, to follow the instinct to voice the shouts in the din of the bombs. He works in the United States, in Europe and then he settles for many months a year between the exploding buildings, between the heads ISIS cuts off to no end, he is there. Sebastian is the one we do not see, when looking at the pictures on the front page of our favorite newspaper, while sipping espresso and a brioche in the morning in our favorite cafe. He is the one who tells stories through images and hopes that, by doing so, we are able to really see them. To make this treasures intervene, to change things. Sebastiano is the man of dreams who tells us about tragedy, while expecting to wake up in that craved
fair world, free from fumes of rubble, the stench of corpses, blood of children. We are scared for this young man, because he has the courage to risk his own life. Itâ€™s scary because he shows us that we can really be alive and useful in this land of confusion. Fear is accepting the fact that we could be a lot more in the short amount of time we have, and we do not have to wear a helmet, just follow up on his photography. Using his testimony, that threatens his skin for all 1440 minutes of any given day. Every single day. Now, letâ€™s go back to his photography, leaf through the magazine, open the newspaper, it is a picture of war: You do not see Sebastiano, because he is discreet and polite, because his work, as he says himself, is to be a bridge between the fact and the human conscience. We do not see him in these pages, but if we look closely, we can hear him talk, scream the yell of consciousness. The scream to open eyes and arms to those who are living the crazy human tragedies of our time.
How I became who I am “Being able to give a steady and strong voice to my subjects would be sheer bliss for me. Like every other photographer, I want to use the lens to give a sense of excitement and vibrancy to the images. Not only in regards to the image itself, but also for the expression and its characters. I was lucky enough to get hands on training as an assistant for many important photographers, who have inspired me to perfect the aesthetic sense that, as many tell me, differentiates me a bit from other photographers. “Nevertheless, it is very difficult to give my subjects an appropriate voice,
it is very difficult to take a picture and capture the soul. Many people look at the photos like that, maybe lightly, but if you can capture with your shot a detail, then the meaning can be understood. The deep meaning of seizing that magic, that moment the photographer wants to convey, but it is also the most difficult aspect. The context of the time of shooting is essential, and we, as photographers who have captured that moment, must be able to transmit it. We must learn to make feelings, moments of life. “Aspiration to perfection, to the real, profound photograph, that the photographer can make, in my opinion, if he bases his professionalism on three essential principles: truth, honesty and respect for the subject. Without these features, his photographs, his service, lose human and professional value. “I just got back to New York because right now,
we are making a documentary about ISIS in Iraq. It is a project for a major American production house that will take about a year, a year and a half. A documentary with a political, psychological background about why the American veterans are returning to Iraq as ‘fight veterans’ to fight against ISIS. It is a long-term project, a lot of people, publishers and my own photography agency have
often suggested me to focus on a long-term project, and for me it is the first time. At first, the idea did not attract me, but now I must say that I’m passionate about it and hope that it will become a success. Maybe documentaries are my future! “I worked for several years with the American photo agency Sipa and for the last two years, with Getty Images Reportage. I must say that photography, also documentarism, especially in areas of war, interests me very much. Early in my profession, I was more interested in the world of fashion, a trend dictated a bit from the environment around me, since I lived here in New York. But despite having worked as an assistant for reputed photographers, I realized that it was not for me, competition was crazy and I wanted something else. So I said to myself ‘I want to stay in photography, I want to work hard, I want to make my contribution with the pictures that I choose, and I want to receive awards! So, I have to go into a field that I am passionate about and where perhaps there is less competition’. I’ve always been a great traveler since I was a child, my father traveled a lot and I was always with him and then I thought, why not become a ‘Blend Photographer’ and travel around!
I got interested in challenging situations, I was taken by photography in difficult settings “At the beginning, the most difficult thing for me was to figure out how to get to do well what I wanted to do. How to establish myself and how to move in that context, I still do things to figure it out and it became exciting, I got excited with the idea to cross a largely unexplored world of photography. I’d sought it ... and so the challenge became gradually more and more complicated and the time I spent in Afghanistan was an absolutely central experience to everything then followed. I went there in the war zone, to begin to understand a little how to behave, how to move on the battlefield as a photographer. When you are in the midst of war, you live the worst of war, and this was for me one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever been able to do in life. I liked it a lot, because I real-
ized that it was not common for photographers to get into situations like that, to have the opportunity to work in such an important and yet so motivational way. I really wanted to understand why so few people were in that kind of job.
Experiences that make you live the exact opposite of life in every moment. “Deep down, the idea to give a message, leave a mark, is very human. The ideal you take with you to every shoot is to capture that moment, that you already imagined, that can serve to make things change. But the reality, unfortunately, and bitterly, tells you otherwise. In the last 5 or 6 years, I have realized that the exceptional power of the image, disaster and war has a fairly limited effect on those who live in comfortable countries like this, like the United States, Europe and elsewhere. Maybe people appreciate your work, because undoubtedly it puts a face to suffering, to the disaster that another part of the world is experiencing. But to remain so shocked that it gives them a boost to do something about it, I do not see at all. “I have always been convinced that photography itself can change things. It can attest to absurd situations, but I cannot think of a single time that it actually has given a boost to someone. It may have impacted, make one sad, made one think and even upset, but it did not change anything. The reality is that it is already too late by the time that picture comes out, the event has already happened. Eventually, we conflict photographers have to bring attention to the fact, but when our pictures come in front of the eyes of the leaders of countries as strong as America and others, it’s up to them but also to the people they rule, to generally use them to change things . We are merely a connecting bridge. “We do our part and, in order to do it well, we accept to live in high-risk situations. We photographers are ready to do anything to provide these testimonials.
I’d be a fool to say I am not scared, I am not afraid. I am terrified.
“Fear is a constant in my work, but it’s a different thing. When you work in a war zone, it is something different from the normal fear, your body behaves differently, it adapts to the situation, and you do not have time to be afraid. There is so much information you have to confront, that you just do not the time to be afraid. And this not only for myself, but it would happen to anyone. The same soldiers who face their work there, it is how it works when you are in that context, it is as if your body were under anesthesia. You get really scared when you realize what happened, when you pulled it out and you can get out of that situation, and your fear increases when you get home, because you see your friends, your family and your loved ones and you realize that you have done the wrong thing at the wrong time. You understand that if you hadn’t made it out, it would hurt many people, you would have left many people in sadness and sorrow. Here, this is a fear for me. “I have a very close family, and the last thing I want is to give them pain. They are very supportive of what I do, my father has always taken it well, and indeed he was the first to buy me a helmet and my jacket. He never worried about me or at least, he has not ever made me feel it. He has always been on my side, always teaching me to be independent and he told me right away
‘if you have to go, if you have the be there and risk your life, do it right.’ I could always count on his support, always and in every way possible, he also helped me to get all the equipment. So, he took it well. My mom instead never went down! She hates what I do, she is so worried, but she does not put a spoke in my wheel, her reaction has always been like ‘I do not want to hear, I do not want to know anything, just tell me when you go and keep me informed, call me as much as you can, let me know where you are and how you are ‘. I understand her, how wouldn’t I understand a mother with a son like that! “I go on, I must go on. It’s my job. Even Michelle, my partner, understands this. She lives in Louisiana, and is a very successful interior designer, I care a lot about her and we can be together often, for example, we spend the weekends in the house that I have in the High Hamptons with my unfailing Plog Hound, the dog I practically saved from the pound.
“I spend my life mostly between the United States and the Middle East but we are a very Italian family! I was born in New York to Italian parents, mom from Florence and Siena and Dad from Udine. They both worked in America at the time and that is why I was born here. Then, at the age of five, I was taken to Italy where I attended elementary school, middle and high school in a college in Udine. Each year, however, we spent so much time in America, because my parents always had a very special relationship with the United States, my father studied here and then he started his own company, which is still operating, while my mother was in the fashion industry. They spent their youth in America and it is their passion for this country, the idea of the great, endless opportunity, for me it was a kind of brainwashing! I was a kid and I already was sent every summer to summer camps in Maine, where I had made many friends, for me it was the best way to learn the language, because I was growing up in Italy anyway. Then, when it came the time to choose a university, I said ‘I will go back to New York it is my city’”.
Career Milestones Sebastiano is an American photojournalist born in America, but with Italy in the heart (and blood). He lives in the United States, in New York, and his professional assignments take him much of the year to the areas of the Middle East war. He has always worked on a wide variety of photo projects and documentaries, from editorial to business. He has developed a very unique style, focusing on his fondness for the photographic portrait and humanitarian background documentary. He was represented for many years by the photographic agency Sipa (USA) and for two years by Getty Images Reportage. Born in Manhattan, he grew up in Udine and Florence, then returned to New York to attend Parsons University and the New School, graduating in 2010 with a double major in media studies and photography. The passion for portrait and documentary photography began during his university studies, when he began to travel to the United States and Europe on assignments from numerous national and international newspapers. Currently, he focuses his photography and documentary work of on the conflicts in some of the most unstable regions of the world, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. Among his clients, there are: Sunday Times, Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Zeit, The Atlantic and Businessweek, GQ, Vogue. Ha has received several important awards, like: in 2014: POY (Pictures of the Year), General News; The Marty Forscher Fellowship, Award for Humanistic Photography; PDN, Photo Annual Documentary Award; PDN, Faces Documentary Portrait Award; Kontinent Award for Documentary. In 2013: World Press Photo – 2° award ‘General News Story’; Visa D’or Award Perpignan (International Humanitarian Red Cross Award); International Photo Awards – 1° award Photo Essay/Feature Story; New York Photo Awards – 1° award, Documentary Series; Kontinent Awards, 1° award, Documentary Series; PDN, Faces Editorial Portrait Award; American Photo Magazine, Picture of the Year. In 2012: Emergin Italian Talents, Italian/American Consulate. In 2011: 2011 PDN Faces Celebrity/Editorial Portraits Award. In 2010: PDN Faces; IPA, Honorable Mention; New York Photo Awards Finalist.
The Letter to the Young by Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini
o a young photojournalist I would say ...
A real photographer has to forget the easy life. If it is too easy, then it probably is not worth it. If it requires making sacrifices, then pursue it, that’s how I know I’m on the right track. The camera will be there to witness to yourself and others what you have really given yourself and if you managed to really make a difference... Always carry your camera and focus on the works that reflect what you feel inside. These will be the only experiences from which you will derive the true teaching on how to really photograph, how to improve yourself.
For Sebastiano Tomada Piccolomini, Beauty is “an irregular heartbeat, when you watch a movie or listen to some music and the heart races”.
PrimiDieci Society & Italy-America Chamber of Commerce We wish to thank I.A.C.C. for supporting PrimiDieci Society’s cultural and editorial initiative “PrimiDieci 2016”.
IACC’s support is greatly appreciated as it benefits PrimiDieci Society’s mission in celebrating Italian excellence in the United States of America.
PrimiDieci 2016, the Author PrimiDieci USA’, ten biographies, ten stories of lives and successes, ten different and original portraits which depict unique people united by their exceptional talents, strong characters, and huge, passionate hearts. The visionary who committed all of this to the written word is Riccardo Lo Faro, a biographer and ghost-writer. Born in Rome and having studied at both Italian and American universities, Riccardo Lo Faro is a biographer and ghost-writer based in New York, with clients in the US, Europe and other countries. His previous work experiences have brought him to Australia, with Sea World Australia; South Africa, with Ladbroke PLC - Hilton Hotels International; Italy, with Veio Country Club of Roma and with Hotel Mirage in Cortina d’Ampezzo. He was the New York correspondent for the international culture magazine ‘NewYorkCityV,’ which is published in the US (New York) and in Italy, as well as distributed on Delta Airlines flights. Since 2004 he has been the editor-in chief of “Convivial Spirit’, in New York, the official publication of the New York Delegation of Accademia Italiana della Cucina – an Italian government cultural institution with delegations in all of Italy’s regions as well as all major foreign cities. As a writer and journalist, he is member of the US Department of State - Foreign Press Center, and member of the Italian Association of Journalists. He is the author of books, memorials, articles and other editorial and web content, working mostly anonymously in the employ of private clients and companies, while maintaining various collaborations with journalistic and cultural titles. He is the founder of PrimiDieci Society and the author of the annual books by the Society: PrimiDieci USA and PrimiDieci U.K.
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A message of personal sincere appreciation goes out to Saclà Italia and its General Manager, Chiara Ercole. Chiara embodies the third generation of the family that created Saclà in the late ‘30s. Since 1939 when founded by Secondo Ercole and his wife Piera, each generation has built on the company’s spirit of creativity, ingenuity and sheer passion. A family company built on family values: having been owned and run by three generations, the Sacla’ family philosophy shapes everything the Company does. That’s at the heart of Saclà’s philosophy and culture today, successfully run by Chiara, Lorenzo and Lucia Ercole. Memories are what give us moments, instants of intense sense of self, and when I see the Saclà products or just its logo, it simply brings me back to my childhood. The TV commercials of Carosello, my local Alimentari displaying olives and other Saclà products in fully recyclable –already at the time– glass containers. 2015 is the 25th Anniversary of Saclà in Great Britain. Not only Saclà has fully committed itself in PrimiDieci USA, but has also extended its participation as prestigious ‘Presenting Sponsor’ to the United Kingdom edition of PrimiDieci UK. This will be the highly anticipated debut in London, with a major Award & Gala Event at The Dorchester Hotel, in early March 2016. Thank you Saclà. Thank you Chiara!
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The Ten Most Successful Italians in the USA Today. A book by Riccardo Lo Faro for PrimiDieci Society.