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Sabrina Ferro of Media Directions: I just think that we have to get out there and do it ourselves.


The trials of endless unpaid work placements spurred Sabrina Ferro, managing director of Media Directions magazine, onto following her dream of running her own business. Now working on the third issue of the magazine for those aspiring to work in the film and TV industry, Sabrina hopes that the publicity that the magazine can offer to young hopefuls may help them find their big break.

She started out on the work experience merry-go-round after completing her degree in Film and Television Production at Aberystwyth in 2005. She said: “I have had mostly good experiences as a runner. It has been hard work. Someone once asked me to put marmite on their toast. Someone I know had to clean up after a dog…”


SGT. JOHN MCLOUGHLIN - World Trade Center hero

When I came out on the stretcher I didn't know the towers were down. I thought it was car bombs that went off. When I got trapped I was in my own little world. So not only didn't I know the towers had come down, I had no idea of the magnitude of the event at that time. I only found that out months later. It obviously upset me because it was very personal to me. This wasn't just an event where nearly 3000 people died, but it had over 30 of my personal friends die. Plus I lost three men that I had personally brought into that building. So it was very personal.

I knew these officers, I worked with them, I was comfortable and confident that these were the type of men that with direction were going to do the job right. So I was comfortable that we would be able to handle whatever we came across. It was just circumstances turned out beyond any of our control and tragic things ended up happening.


BRIAN NELSON - Confecting Hard Candy

A common thing that I come to again and again is I’m very drawn to stories where people face what they are capable of. I think that society is a big construct that we’ve erected to keep from too close knowledge of ourselves, because we’re all capable of much more than we want to admit to ourselves, and that’s both for good and for bad. I’m very drawn to stories where people find themselves in a situation where they can maybe make their own rules. When they’re in a grey area, and the rules are up to them, what will they find that they can really do that they didn’t think they could do before? That’s one thing that drew me to this story.

“Another thing I loved was that it was an opportunity to write a really smart teenage female protagonist. I have two daughters and I love stories in which young women really sort of kick some tail. I’ve been a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for years. I’ve also been influenced on some level by [Abel Ferrara’s] Ms. 45, which I found a really striking and disturbing film; disturbing for me being a good thing.”


Thich Nhat Hanh: the Buddha biopic and the road to peace

It was announced at Cannes this year that Vietnamese zen monk Thich Naht Hanh's biography of the Buddha, Old Path White Clouds, would form the basis of Dr BK Modi's long gestating $120m Buddha biopic. The film was originally floated 12 years ago at a time when Mira Nair was set to direct, and has now - with the support of the Dalai Lama - resurfaced  driven by billionaire Indian media tycoon Modi. The production is expected to be directed by Shekher Kapor and executive produced by Michel Shane and Anthony Romano ("I Robot," "Catch Me If You Can") who have talked about making the film 'like Gladiator meets Lawrence of Arabia'. 

However, it is the involvement of Naht Hanh that grabbed my interest. "I discovered the book two years ago and it changed my life, and I felt it was up to me to share my happiness with the world." says Modi of Naht Hanh's Old Path White Clouds, which has sold 1m copies in the US. Exiled from his homeland of Vietnam since the 60s only to return last year, author of some 80 books, Naht Hanh ('Thay') is tireless in speaking up for peace and international understanding. In nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr Martin Luther King said: 'I do not personally know of anyone more worthy of [this prize] than this gentle monk from Vietnam. His  ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.'  It's quite hard to know what Dr King means without reading some of Thich Naht Hanh's writing - what follows is an interview made shortly after September 11, as he was promoting the book I first came across him through, Anger.


John Howard: The Key to Self Publishing

After 30 standard rejection letters from agents and publishers to his 'Da Vinci code for kids' book The Key to Chintak, author John Howard copied out the instruction manual for his washing machine and sent it off again. When exactly the same 'we have read you're manuscript but sadly already have too many similar titles' rejection letters came back he realised no-one had read it the first time, and got the confidence to go it alone.

Self publishing the book and tirelessly touring dozens of primary schools in the south east John - who failed his English O Level and has dyslexia - has been met with constant acclaim from children saying it's 'much better than Potter' and 'the best book ever'. 5000 copies later...


SCREENWRITER MILO ADDICA - Darkness reigns in The King

I guess my films are dark, yeah. But I get scared of dark. Because dark connotates (sic), in Los Angeles, as something that won’t sell, that they don’t want to give to an audience, that’s bad. It’s much like they’ve taken the word art in ‘art movie’. I mean how has this now become bad? We don’t want to make movies that are like McDonald’s or Kentucky Fried Chicken, do we? I don’t think so. I think we want to do something that resonates with people and that lasts a little longer than an hour. At least I’d like to think that this is possible. But since Los Angeles has been basically consumed by Wall Street and it has become a large money venture, film has been taken out of the hands of the artist and put into the hands of the banker. So what you have now are bankers designing movies and stories, and they want things that they know will sell, because they don’t care about art. Art is for the gallery. Leave it in the museum. What they don’t understand is that film suffers - and that the audience, a great audience, is cheated. In a way I suppose it makes our job harder. But it also makes us work harder. And I guess you need one for the other.



There are some people who suffer from this "[Auschwitz] disease" for life, simply because of the experience they have gone through. Another group simply doesn’t talk about it. And a third group of people have learned to come to terms with these events. I’m a writer, so I don’t belong to any one of these three categories. I view my experience as being raw material and I process it in the process of writing. And as I go along, I get rid of this experience. You know, this is how I go on and on and on and on, until I reach a stage, as a writer, where I will have run out of raw material. Then it’s time to die.