andreiAfter obtaining a degree in theatre studies in 1994, Andrei Gruzsniczki was the second director for two of Lucian Pintilie’s films, NEXT STOP PARADISE (1998) and NIKI AND FLO (2003). He made his feature filmmaking debut in 2009 with THE OTHER IRENE (2009). The film was selected for over ten festivals and has won a number of awards, including Best Debut Feature at the SEE Fest in Los Angeles, the Silver Atlas for Best Director at the Arras International Film Festival, and the Grand Prize at the Anonimul Film Festival in Bucharest.


Teodora Ana Mihai was born in  Romania, in April 1981. In 1989 she came to Belgium and was reunited with her parents, who had fled the year before. Teodora completed the last two years of high school at the French American International High School in San Francisco and went on to study film at Sarah Lawrence College in upstate New York. Upon returning to Belgium, she first started working in the industry as a script supervisor and assistant director followed by a stint in the TV industry. However, the desire to work on her own projects was so strong that she decided to shift focus and dedicate herself entirely to this. After directing the award-winning documentary WAITING FOR AUGUST, she is now developing a docu-fiction film about teenage orphans of the Mexican drug war, in collaboration with the Mexican writer Habacuc Antonio de Rosario.


oanaJournalism and Law graduate, Oana Giurgiu directed TV documentaries before moving to “The Death of Mr. Lazarescu” directed by Cristi Puiu, or production manager for “Delta” by Kornél Mundruczó (Fipresci award at Cannes 2008). She produced Tudor Giurgiu’s films “Love Sick” (Berlinale 2006-Panorama), “Of Snails and Men” (Romanian boxoffice hit in 2012 and “Why me?” (Berlinale 2015-Panorama); Peter Strickland’s “Katalin Varga” (Silver Bear, Berlinale 2009, Best European Discovery – EFA Awards 2009) and “Somewhere in Palilula” debut film of Romanian acclaimed theatre director Silviu Purcarete (Karlovy Vary IFF 2012). Oana is also executive director of Transilvania International Film Festival.


steveProfessor, Directing, European & Latin American Cinema, Producing and Writing, San Francisco State Univ. Steven Kovacs has written on art, photography, Surrealism, Latin American and Eastern European film, particularly on the intersection of politics and the arts. He is the author of poetry, fiction, and translations. He has written, produced, and directed feature films (“ON THE LINE”, “’68”, “ANGEL BLUE”) and received an Academy Award Nomination for the documentary “Arthur and Lillie”. (more info)


Jeff Pennington has been Executive Director of the Institute of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies at UC Berkeley since January 2008. He holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University, an M.A. in East European Studies from Indiana University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in international relations from Kobe University Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies in Kobe, Japan, where his research focuses on Japanese – East European relations in the interwar period. In 1990-91, he was a Fulbright researcher at the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj, Romania, and then from 1993 to 1997 he worked as program officer for the Bucharest field office of the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX).


Cosana EramCosana Eram is Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at University of the Pacific, California. She obtained a PhD in French and Humanities at Stanford University (2010) and a doctorate magna cum laude in Philology at the University of Bucharest, Romania (2003). With a primary research focus on international avant-garde and modernism, she has a book in Romanian on the literary canon and has published on world literature, art, film, and cultural studies. (more info)


bakerZachary M. Baker is the Reinhard Family Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections in the Stanford University Libraries.  In addition, he is the Assistant University Librarian for Collection Development – Humanities and Social Sciences.  Prior to coming to Stanford in 1999 he was the Head Librarian of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (New York City), the foremost repository for Yiddish publications in the world.  He has presented papers and chaired panels on the Yiddish theater at several academic conferences and is the compiler of The Lawrence Marwick Collection of Copyrighted Yiddish Plays at the Library of Congress: An Annotated Bibliography.


haber (2)George Haber is a Romanian born Silicon Valley based successful entrepreneur, the only child of Auschwitz concentration camp survivors. From Oradea, Romania, George studied in Haifa at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and later moved to Sillicon Valley where he successfully implemented what he calls Haber’s Law: “If it can be done in Software, it will!“. George is a Serial Entrepreneur, Marketing Guru and Strategist, with proven track record from vision to implement and manage High Tech Companies from StartUp to M&A or IPO. Active Angel Investor in serious, innovative, disruptive technologies working with entrepreneurs to improve the world.


mariaMaria Teodora Comsa is a Lecturer in French at the Stanford Language Center where she teaches a range of language and culture courses. Her main research focuses on society theater (le théâtre de société) in France during the eighteenth century. Her other research interests include 17th- and 18th-century French theater, second language acquisition, film studies, and digital humanities.


cosminCo-founder of Synergis Counseling, Founder of Hermes’ Writings and @CulturesWise, Cosmin Gheorghe is a Bay Area based consultant, coach, speaker and author. His work explores the ways in which culture and technology influence our choices & decisions, as well as their impact on how we relate to each other, and to products and services. His approach is based on the concept of social and cultural systems, which are now transformed by globalization in socio-cultural networks. In his pre-California life he obtained an MD degree in General Medicine and wrote and directed theater plays at Thespis Theatre in Timisoara, Romania.