Mark Abouzeid Keynote Speech on Epic Failure

Epic Failure Conference, Florence, September 2015

What did you learn from your failures, both professional and personal? How did these failures lead you to create a specific project? Ultimately, how did these failures bring you to where you are today?

Mark Abouzeid shares his trials, exploits and lessons learned in a rare personal talk on the importance of Epic Failure.

About Mark Abouzeid

Born in 1962 to a Lebanese American immigrant, Mark Abouzeid has been filming the oral histories, living culture and human endeavours of people around the globe for over 15 years.  His short film, “Interview with an Assassin”, was shortlisted by the Florence Film Festival and his documentary work on the Dying Seas will be the centrepiece of exhibits at the Maritime Museums of Valencia, Barcelona and EU Maritime Museum in Marseille.

He is currently making a feature length documentary film, Growing Cedars in Air, and a short film, Finding Lebanon.  Each are based on Abouzeid’s own personal discovery of his roots and what it means to be Lebanese, today.

About Epic Failure Conference

A process is not always linear, but non-sequential and always navigated by failures. Consequently the goal of EPIC FAILURES is to gather professionals into sharing their stories, their process; how they overcame their mistakes and how failures, more often than not, open new doors. We live in an area where there is an over emphasis on achievement and so this creates an alliterated vision of reality. The stories of errors are not told; yet success is always paved by mistakes! We need to embrace our past flaws in order to move forward. Creativity and Failure go hand in hand. EPIC FAILURES is a conference talk that celebrates creativity and entrepreneurship, built through failures, by providing a networking-platform across industries and communities. We are a bimestrial event, hosting between four to five speakers.

Mark Abouzeid & Cedars Productions Launch “My Lebanon” Initiative

My name is Mark Abouzeid and I am the Director of Growing Cedars in Air. I am Lebanese; I wasn’t brought up Lebanese, but I am beginning to understand just how Lebanese I am.

Last year, before my father died, I interviewed him about my own family heritage, something he had never spoken of before. That moment was the start of a personal discovery which became the basis for the upcoming film.

During the course of getting to know the Lebanese people, I came across this poem by Gibran at the same time as the people I met spoke with similar pride of their homeland. So I decided to start asking anyone, “What is your Lebanon?”

The results have been incredible and the impact overwhelming. The question reminded Lebanese to appreciate what matters, caused foreign viewers to question their view of Lebanon, and helped me find my own Lebanon.

The response has inspired us to launch My Lebanon as a social initiative through videos and with the help of social media. Anyone can contribute with a My Lebanon video. In this video, are just a few My Lebanon examples.

What does My Lebanon mean to you? Is it an album of photos, an object, a person, a song, a poem?

Share your Lebanon with us and you might find yourself in in our next My Lebanon video or in an international feature film. Send links, video files, or written submissions to cedars@markabouzeid.com, share your Lebanon with others and witness the impact of your statement.

Visit http://cedars.markabouzeid.com or on Facebook: Growing Cedars in Air for more information.

“Lebanon: A Day in the Life” video short by Mark Abouzeid & Cedars Productions

With original music by Rama’s Whisper, Growing Cedars in Air presents 24 hours in the lives of the People of Lebanon, a teaser for the upcoming short film, Finding Lebanon, and feature length documentary film, Growing Cedars in Air. Share this video with your family and friends, spread the word and let your curiosity guide you inside a new Lebanon.


”Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to go home. Not my parents’ house in whatever country they happened to be living in, at that time. But my ancestral home, the land of my dreams: burnt earth under olive trees and rocky hillsides shadowed by secular cedars, their roots reaching deep into the core of the earth….my earth…my roots.”

Mark Abouzeid, director of Growing Cedars in Air.


Ask anyone you meet what they know about Lebanon and you will invariably receive one or both of the following replies:

“Oh, yeah, Beirut! It was once the Riviera of the Middle East. Great place to party!” Or “A damn shame what war has done to that country, poor people.”

If Lebanon has seen nothing but war and parties for the last 40 years with no culture of its own, then how could it have provided so much to world culture in the sciences, arts, design, fashion, music, world politics, business and entertainment?

“Growing Cedars in Air” is an indie documentary video project about personal discovery of what it means to be Lebanese…about the living heritage and unique culture that has allowed Lebanese to flourish wherever they settle.

The films gather Lebanese people of all walks, local and abroad, to tell their own stories of Lebanon and their lives across recent history, including:

Edd Abbas, Lyricist / Producer; Rania Abouzeid, Award Winning Journalist; Aziza, Lebanese Singer and Songwriter; Michel Elefteriades, the Emperor of Nowheristan; Jennifer El Hage, fashion and graphic designer; Robert Fisk, Award Winning Journalist/Writer; Barbara Massaad, International Gourmand Cookbook Award recipient; Kamal Mouzawak, founder of Souk el Tayeb; Mohamad Rifaii, Art Director and Visual Artist; Laila Sarkis, aka Djette, female DJ in Beirut; Rania Tabbara, Artist and Art promoter; Rami Tibi of Rama’s Whisper.

A Night at the Muscat Festival 2014, Oman

Discover the beauty of Muscat, meet the friendly Omani people and join in the celebrations at the 2014 Muscat Festival.  Dancers from India, Singapore, Mexico, Palestine and more.  See the colors, sounds and tastes of this marvelous event.

“Dubbed Oman’s biggest cultural and historical event, the Muscat Festival is the sultanate’s exhibition of local culture, art, consumer goods and services. The festival has a special flavour – a mixture of old and new, history and progression – from folk poetry and dance evenings, to lectures on solar energy, a chocolate festival and fashion shows. Some 1.5 million people from the region visit the month-long event, which can be seen at various venues around the city including the Omani Heritage Village, Seeb Beach and Al Qurum National Park where the most popular happenings take place.” WorldGuide.eu

Mark Abouzeid spent a week with performers and artisans participating in the 2014 Muscat International Folklore festival. Countries from around the globe and Omani tribesman from around the country mix at this important month long event exchanging aspects and knowledge of the unique cultural traditions and heritage. Join him in this ongoing series highlighting some of the key activities and personalities.

Boudoir Photography, behind the scenes video

Mark Abouzeid and LanZalibre produced this behind the scenes video of their work on Boudoir Photography shoots.  A private view into the closed studio.

 

Un boudoir è una stanza da letto privata di una signora, un salotto o uno spogliatoio; il termine deriva da verbo francese “bouder” che significa “mettere il broncio”.

Storicamente, il boudoir formava una suite privata di una stanza di una signora, per il bagno e per lo spogliatoio ed era adiacente alla camera da letto.

In un periodo successivo venne usato come un salotto privato e per altre attività come il ricamo o per divertenti incontri intimi.La fotografia ed il video di Boudoir hanno come scopo la seduzione, accendere l’mmaginazione di qualcuno.

Anti-Immigrant Attacks Spur Florence Artists to Action

Henry Ridgwell of VOA News recently visited the city to interview Mark Abouzeid on his work to combat racism.

 

The Italian city of Florence is known for its art and beauty. Its immigrant community is less well known. But following a series of racist attacks on African migrants in Florence, a group of artists is highlighting the contribution of foreigners to Florentine culture, past and present.

From Voice of America:

FLORENCE — The Italian city of Florence is known for its art and beauty. Its immigrant community is less well known. But following a series of attacks on African migrants in Florence, a group of artists is highlighting the contribution of foreigners to Florentine culture, past and present.

With its stunning architecture and countless galleries, Florence has long been at the heart of Western art.  It is the birthplace of the Renaissance, the flowering of Western artistic endeavor that began in the 14th century.

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