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Happy Anniversary!!

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Well we made it! Twelve months! Four seasons! 365 and ¼ days! And what a busy and productive time it’s been. In the past year we’ve taught ten workshops on three continents and in two archipelagos. We’ve also given guest lectures and master classes at six schools and universities. Every step of the way we’ve partnered with wonderful local organizations (including English language institutes, universities, community centers for arts and education, film schools, and nonprofits) that have been critical to our success in the communities in which we’ve served. And most importantly, through our workshops we’ve inspired many, many new filmmakers, whose creativity, motivation, talent, and stories-shared have inspired us even more in return.

And our successes continue. Last week we ran another campaign on Facebook to increase awareness about Bent Marble. Through it we amazingly doubled our following, and now have more than 10,000 fans from around the world! This marks a significant milestone for our organization, and it feels wonderful to be getting the word out about who we are and what we do.

Now if you are among our more than 5,000 new Facebook fans, we would first like to offer you a warm, warm welcome to the Bent Marble community. And if you’re perhaps still a bit unclear on what exactly it is that we do, in a nutshell, Bent Marble teaches people to make their own documentaries, using the filmmaking tools (cameras, smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.) they already possess, and then share their stories with the world! This is done through offering FREE filmmaking workshops internationally, so that anyone, anywhere, regardless of their means, can take part and share a story. Our past participants have ranged in age from children to seniors, and typically have had no previous filmmaking experience. But they have consistently impressed us, and themselves, with the amazing works they learn to produce in a relatively short period of time.

After the workshops, participants’ films are posted on our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/bentmarble, so the rest of the Bent Marble community (and the rest of the world) can watch, learn, comment, and share. And we invite you to do so as well. For your convenience, we’ve also put together a selection of films that highlights the diversity of what our students have created during our first year of workshops. And if you like what you see, please support us by subscribing to our channel.

Bent Marble First Year Highlights

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(Click here to visit Bent Marble on YouTube)



And to further illustrate how we’ve been busy this past year, here’s a gallery of photos from our Facebook page that highlights our workshops, events, and students in action:

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2



As you may guess, we have big plans for our second year as well. First and foremost we are eager to continue traveling and offering our free workshops. Our next stops will be in North and South America, where we are currently setting up organizational partnerships. With this in mind, if any of you know of a school, community center, nonprofit, or other organization in the Americas that might be interested in hosting one of our documentary filmmaking workshops, we would love for you to put us in touch.

Secondly, as we continue to grow, we are also looking more than ever to find other media professionals and teaching artists, whose values resonate well with our mission, beliefs and educational philosophy, to become co-facilitators in our workshops. Indeed we have found that having a diversity of both local and foreign instructors adds greatly to our students’ experience. So if you know of, or are, such an individual, we encourage you to get in contact with us.

Inquiries regarding any of this can be sent to info@bentmarble.com.

And finally, we will soon be launching an online crowdfunding campaign to raise the fundamental funds we need to keep doing what we do into our second year of operation. Our first twelve months of travel and teaching was actually entirely self-funded. And as our own financial resources are now drying up, we need your support more than ever. So stay tuned and get your cyber wallets ready 😉


All in all, we can’t thank you enough for your interest, participation, and support over the last year, and are also so thrilled to have so many new friends traveling with us here. We look forward to growing our creative community of friendship, and sharing many more stories, together with you, in the year to come.

With so much to be thankful for, this is truly a happy, happy anniversary!!

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All Aboard!!

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Less than a week ago we launched a campaign on Facebook to increase awareness about Bent Marble. So far we’ve gained more than 4,500 new “Likes” for our organization’s page! It feels great to be getting the word out about who we are and what we do… and to be growing the Bent Marble community.

Now if you’re new to us, or don’t yet know exactly who we are or what we do, in short, Bent Marble’s mission is to teach people to make creative documentaries using the digital tools (cameras, smartphones, tablets, computers, etc.) they already possess, and then share their stories with the world! This is done through offering FREE documentary filmmaking workshops internationally, so that anyone, anywhere, regardless of their means, can take part and share a story. Our students, ranging from children to adults, mostly have had little or no previous experience with filmmaking. But they consistently impress us, and themselves, with the wonderful works they learn to produce in a relatively short period of time.

After the workshops, student films are posted on our YouTube channel, so the rest of the Bent Marble community (and the rest of the world) can watch, learn, comment, and share. If you’re curious to see some examples of what our past participants have created, come have a look for yourself at www.youtube.com/bentmarble. And if you like what you see, please subscribe to our channel.  For your convenience, we’ve even put together a playlist that highlights what our students have made in our multiple workshops to date:

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(Click here to visit Bent Marble on YouTube)



With our organization now six months old and with several successful workshops under our belt, we feel we’ve got our “travel legs” and our “teaching hats” on. So far we’ve taught in Russia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Along the way we’ve also partnered with some wonderful schools, English language institutes, universities, film programs, and nonprofits. And we’re eager to make more organizational connections as we continue on our way. If you are interested to learn more about the specific workshops and collaborations we’ve had so far, please peruse our blog at www.bentmarble.com/blog. And to more visually illustrate how we’ve been busy, here’s a gallery of photos from our Facebook page that highlights our activities and partnerships to date:

Generated by Facebook Photo Fetcher 2



For our next six months, we have big plans as well. First and foremost we are eager to continue traveling and offering our FREE creative documentary workshops. Our next stop will be in India, where we are currently setting up organizational partnerships. We also seek to offer workshops in Thailand and the United States (back home for me) in the months to come.

“How can we afford to do all this?” you might ask. (And we are beginning to ask ourselves the same:) Because while we do our very best to keep our operational costs low at every step of the way, as we travel and teach, we do have some basic expenses to account for. For this reason we will soon be launching an online crowdfunding campaign to raise the fundamental funds we need to keep doing what we do. Stay tuned for more information.


Hopefully by now you’re wondering how YOU can further participate and contribute as a member of the Bent Marble family. Clearly one good way is to take a workshop and share a story. But there are other equally valuable ways to get involved. If, for instance, you know of a school, community center, or organization in your area that might be interested in hosting one of our creative documentary workshops, please don’t hesitate to put us in touch. Also if you are a digital media professional or teaching artist whose values resonate well with our mission, beliefs and educational philosophy, we would love to collaborate with you on workshops in your part of the world. Inquiries regarding any of this (or anything else for that matter) can be sent to info@bentmarble.com.

And while we clearly look to grow in the coming months and years, for the time being we are still a small organization with limited means, that won’t be able to offer workshops in every corner of the globe just yet. For this reason, perhaps the best way for you to get involved is as an active member of our online community, both on Facebook, as well as on YouTube. Give positive feedback and comments to the budding filmmakers whose works you have enjoyed on our YouTube channel. Share with us what you “Like”, as well as your thoughts, ideas, and questions on relevant topics on our Facebook page. And if you know other folks who might be interested in what we do, please tell them about Bent Marble, share with them these links, and invite them to join our community!

Again we can’t thank you enough for your support. We are so thrilled to have so many new friends traveling with us here, and we look forward to growing our creative community of friendship… together with you!

Looks like this ship is ready to set sail again around this big bent marble we call home. The ticket, as always, is free. And there’s room for everyone.

All aboard!!

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Raining, Cats, and Dogs

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Well for the last week it truly has been raining a lot here on Koh Samui.  But other than having to break out our ponchos and stay indoors a bit more than usual, we really haven’t minded.  “Why?”, you might ask.  Well, because we’ve been hard at work editing a video for our favorite nonprofit here on the island, the Dog and Cat Rescue Samui Foundation.

While Bent Marble’s primary mission is to teach creative documentary workshops that foster cross-cultural understanding, we are also filmmakers ourselves, and look forward to those opportunities when we are able to use our cinematic skills to help like-minded organizations and friends.. be they two-legged or four:)

Have a look at the video we made, hot off the press, and posted on the YouTube channel of Brigitte Gomm, the organization’s founder.  Let us know what you think, or better yet head to their website www.samuidog.org and learn more about how you can lend a helping paw… err hand!

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Back to School

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I’d like to thank my new friend, Alina Kozhevnikova, for inviting me to speak with her seminar class today at Saint Petersburg State University of Film and Television.  She did a masterful job translating, as her professor, class and I shared our thoughts on many topics related to studying and working in the field of film and video in Saint Petersburg and in New York.  And as I head into what I call my career 2.0, teaching creative documentary workshops internationally through Bent Marble, it was great to share some of my hard-earned lessons from career 1.0 as a freelancer in NYC.  It’s not easy making it in the film and video business, but the more we know, the better chance we have to make it work!

Notably, I was very impressed with the range of film projects that Alina and her classmates have been working on.  One is in post production, editing a documentary on a high school musical production of the Broadway hit, Rent.  Another has recently completed a documentary on groups of Harry Potter fanatics in Saint Petersburg, who dress up in Potter-esque attire and put on Harry Potter-themed events.  My friend, Alina, is working on multiple projects including a documentary on people with disabilities in Saint Petersburg.

Throughout all our discussion (which did at one point vere gently into political realms) it was clear that we had so much in common, in regards to our love of filmmaking, as well as our curiosity about and respect for each other.  I had gone into the classroom a little nervous, and left with added confidence that filmmaking and digital storytelling is the right venture to bring people of diverse backgrounds together.

Again I’d like to thank Alina as well as her professor and class, a new group of colleagues and friends.

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Howdy, World!

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One step forward, one step in.
The marble ‘neath my finger bends.
          I push it out into a roll..

It’s hard to believe that this venture began with a poem that began like that so, so many years ago.  Since then there’s been a lot of dreaming, perhaps a bit too much thinking and rethinking, and a lion’s share of waiting.  Although I learned once, from a good friend’s example, that sometimes the bestest ideas need a big bit of time to germinate:)

Sometimes when it’s hard to move both forward and inward, we need to move outward first.  With this in mind, I feel it was somehow important for me to leave my former and familiar surroundings in New York City to finally be able to get this Bent Marble rolling.  New environments can help us find or further develop strengths within ourselves, and to adapt and evolve as individuals.  They also push us to open our hearts and minds, reach out to the world, and make new connections and friends.

This idea of making friends in new places is the core, the seed, of the idea that Bent Marble has become.  And here in Saint Petersburg, Russia the idea has finally begun to grow!  We have a new logo finalized and new website under construction.  We are also tip-toeing into the world of social networks and invite you to join us there.  Perhaps most importantly we have our first Clackumentary (creative documentary) workshops beginning tomorrow with students from the English First language school here in Saint Petersburg.  We’ve been working hard, and have a lot to be thankful for.  The ball.. err marble.. is finally rolling!