imageSo what hasn’t already been said about Grey Gardens? In the years since its 1975 release, the film has influenced incredibly distant corners of American culture. For instance, it has somehow managed to earn a strong following among gay men, while simultaneously spawning a cult fashion following based on Little Edie’s sublime self-styled “costumes.” Grey Gardens tells a story that resonates so deeply that, in the last five years alone, it has been reconceived not once, but twice, in eponymous homage—first as a Broadway musical in 2006, and then as an narrative film based on the Beales’ lives that premiered on HBO last year.  The film has the uncanny ability to improve on repeated viewings, and it proves hard to avoid inferring deeper meaning from some of the memorable lines dropped by the Beales. A favorite bit of dialogue arrives when Little Edie, in a moment of existential musing, shares with the camera, “It’s very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present. You know what I mean? It’s awfully difficult.” Similar difficulties are faced when attempting to encapsule this incredible example of the direct cinema movement. Following the screening, STF Artistic Director spoke with Albert Maysles and Muffie Meyer, who, along with David Maysles and Ellen Hovde, directed the film. Click “Read more” below for the Q&A.

(photo: from left, Thom Powers and directors Muffie Meyer and Albert Maysles, courtesy of Ruth Somalo)

STF: What did you expect the reaction to this film would be? Today it’s an unusual film, in the 1970s it feels like it would have been an even more unusual film.

Albert: Well, we expected, of course, that it would be an enormous success, and especially that the critics would love it. In fact as I was just looking at the film—we came in toward the end and saw the last 15 minutes or so—I was thinking to myself, now I really know why I’ve been spending my life making documentaries. We got a review from the New York Times which was devastatingly negative. Comments like, “Why are they showing us all of this flabby flesh?” As if a woman in a movie had to be no older than 35, which is, I suppose, the Hollywood rule. But even worse than that, Edie wrote a letter in response and submitted it to the New York Times, and the letter was utterly beautiful, full of understanding. And a month later, they still hadn’t published it, so I called the editor, who I happened to know, and I said, “Are you planning to publish it? Have you received it? Oh, you’ve received it.” He said, “We can’t publish it, she’s schizophrenic.” It’s difficult for people to draw the line between madness and eccentricity. These two women—as I see it, and I hope as you see it too—it’s a love affair. And they understood every bit of this film. If we had tried to fake even one single moment of this film, they would have thrown us out of the house. Instead, when we showed the film, I remember, Edie got up and said, “The Maysles have created a classic.”

STF: Muffie, I wanted to know what you expected of the film.

Muffie: It didn’t surprise me in a certain way that there was controversy. The bitterness and vituperativeness of some of the critics was really surprising. And I think I expected, and it was also true, that part of the criticism came from the idea of exploitation of Jackie Kennedy Onassis’s relatives. And there was something about that connection that made people feel that we were trading on their aunt and cousin’s fame, that kind of thing. I don’t think I expected people to feel the sagging flesh problem and I didn’t expect people to really feel that Edie was crazy. I think she was, as Al said, completely eccentric, but clearly in control and dealing with things, and dealing with her mother. And I was surprised at how people used that as a way of not seeing what the film was really about, which was this really interesting relationship which to me was like a bigger version of many many kinds of dependency relationships that people have—with their spouses, with their friends, with their parents, with their kids, et cetera.

Albert: What scared the critics and maybe even a small number of the audience here, is that they were so open. And for some people to be very open is a threatening kind of thing. But that’s the beauty and strength of their relationship and their character. That they would dare to be that open and take the chance of that kind of vulnerability.

Muffie: One of the things I was surprised about was—I was pretty young when we made that film—was how when you showed people a film that you’d made about them, the people who let you into their lives and then you show them the film, they know themselves. They aren’t surprised by what they see, or shocked or even upset, and that was the case with the Beales. They felt that we had presented them as they were and they recognized themselves, and that’s been my experience with all the documentary subjects I’ve been involved with.

Albert: I can tell you also that they were so mature and so levelheaded, that if Michael Moore had been filming them they would have thrown him the hell out of the house in a minute. They were that open because they trusted us. And having that kind of trust is a sure sign of sanity and maturity.

STF: Al can you talk about your interaction with the Beales after the movie, years later?

Albert: One moment that I remember so well is that two years later, when Mrs. Beale was dying, Edie was with her at that moment. And she turned to her mother and said, “Is there something more that you want to say?” And her mother turned to her and said, “There’s nothing more to say, it’s all in the film.” That gives one a great deal of satisfaction.

Muffie: I used to get cards through the mail from [Little] Edie saying, “Time for another film.”

Albert: I got many letters from her, and one of them, at the top she wrote, “Long overdue love letter.” And there was another letter where she wrote, Dearest Al, followed by 50 Dearest Als, and finally, a salutation at the end.

Audience: How did you present the idea of the film when you first approached them?

Albert: I don’t think there was anything to tell them, they were kind of waiting for it all of their lives., As Arthur Miller put it so well: finally, attention must be paid. Which is kind of weird because they’re recluses apparently running away from things, but when they had the opportunity to be trusted and to be liked as much as we liked them they sensed that immediately. I guess they saw it in our eyes, I don’t know what it was, but there was an immediate attraction which was maintained all the way through the film, and for many years after that.

Muffie: They were also performers so they liked having an audience.

STF: Muffie can you talk about piecing together the structure of this film in the edit room? Because it’s such a delicate subject.

Muffie: It took us two years because, beyond being delicate, nothing happened in a way that yields a traditional structure in the way of a beginning, middle, denouement and end. I remember Susan and I used to ride our bikes over there in the summer—many summers—following the filming. And you’d come up to the house and you could hear them through the open windows because it was summer—singing, arguing—the same songs, the same arguments. So the piecing together took forever—and Albert and David were completely amazing in never saying, “Why’s this taking so long?”—was a matter of trying to figure out a way to create a change in the audience in the way that you feel about them. And it took a long time to figure that out. Interestingly, the last scene where they fight and Edie cries, which we call Pink Day, was one of the first scenes to be cut. And even though it didn’t happen toward the end of filming, we always knew that that was in some way a climactic scene, as much as we could get of one. So the rest of the film was kind of building and trying to get you to understand what was going on in a deep way.

Albert: We had some particularly successful days in filming, and when those days occurred, they would usually say, “It’s been a banner day.” So they knew when things were right and when things were wrong.

Audience: Were there any days during filming when you thought it would be a good idea to back off? At any point had you thought, maybe this is not a day to film?

Albert: I can’t remember that, but that does happen, not all the time, but many times it happens in filming, and you better damn well back off when something is too personal. It requires a great deal of thoughtfulness and skill to have that kind of sensibility where you know when to film and when not to. Because there are many times, as in the scene that you mentioned where Edie was crying, there were many times when things aren’t that delicate where you have to make that decision. But it’s so important to get it when it’s proper to even if there’s a great deal of hurtfulness. It’s between those two extremes of being so careful that you miss something that they would like as well, and going in the other direction of exploiting them.

Muffie: I’ll also say from watching all of the footage and listening to all of the wild sound, that the Beales tired the Maysles out just as much as the other way around. You guys would go off and rest in the car and David would leave the mic on the table that was between the two beds, and so we got a lot of discussion and a lot of sound. We even constructed some scenes around that wild sound that was gotten after the Beales had exhausted the Maysles.

Albert: I have to insert a little promotion here. My daughters, Rebecca and Sarah, have come up with a book that was published called Grey Gardens. And at the very end of the book there’s a CD culled from over 100 hours of soundtrack where the camera wasn’t running, and it’s just wonderful, wonderful stuff. And also, more recently we thought there’s such wonderful stuff that didn’t make it into the film, and let’s make another film. And we did, it’s called The Beales of Grey Gardens. Both that film and this one are available from Criterion.

Audience: I’ve never seen a film that brought forth the scent and smell so much. And I’ve always wanted to ask, how did that house smell?

Muffie: Horrible.

Albert: There was only one big obstacle, and that was the smell.

Muffie: And the fleas, don’t forget the fleas.

Albert: And the fleas. There’s a moment where [Little Edie] is talking to Jerry on the porch, and if you look closely, and if I were unkind enough to have done a close up on her legs, every single inch of Edie’s legs were covered with fleabites. When we would arrive at Grey Gardens we’d get out of the car and spray ourselves so we wouldn’t get bitten by the fleas.

Muffie: I think you wore cat flea collars on your ankles and wrists. But one of the worst experiences I remember was getting offered food in there. It was really hard to eat.

Albert: I’m not sure now, but we probably had a lot of cat food.

Audience: I found it fascinating that they didn’t curse at all, unless that was cut out. And also they weren’t smokers, which was very common at that time. And I wanted to know if Jackie [Onassis] ever saw this, and what did she think if she did?

Albert: I don’t know, did you hear of anything of what she may have said?

Muffie: I heard that she snuck in incognito at one point when we were showing it in a theater, but she definitely communicated with them. And [the Beales] talked about how Onassis would sing with them on the phone. But she would also bring them clothes and give them some money, stuff like that.

Albert: I remember my brother had a chance meeting with Jackie after the film, at an airport, and asked if she would see the film. And she said, oh I might sneak in. Which in a way, if you were a psychologist, it’s easy to interpret that. Both Jackie and we had a kind of strange relationship with them in that they loved them very much and were very close and very dear, but it’s a little difficult to make that public.

Muffie: And as for cursing, I had never thought about that. They actually never did curse, but I think it was a class thing. I think it was in that era, in that class, where they just didn’t use any of those words.

Albert: I get irritated every time I watch a film where there’s so much swearing, which doesn’t add a bit to it, especially if it’s a narrative film where it’s always under the control of the filmmakers. It’s disgusting.

Audience: I was wondering what you thought about modern documentarians, modern documentaries. What you thought about filmmakers like Michael Moore.

Albert: Well, Michael Moore—he’s off on his own track. I think his political philosophies I probably agree with one hundred percent, but his tactic of being out to get people I think makes his films that much less close to people. I can’t see him getting as close as he should with that kind of attitude. But he’s kind of an oddball that way, there are so many filmmakers who are getting close to people, and who are very successful at that.

Muffie: I’m a huge film lover—both documentaries and feature films. And I’ve just been so impressed by the new crop of documentaries that have been coming out. I was just talking to someone yesterday about the relationship between documentaries and feature films, and among the many amazing things about documentaries are that unlike even the very, very best feature film, when you walk out of a documentary you wonder what’s happening to those people now, because they exist. So there’s a kind of mental afterlife that goes on in the audience where you think about the people and what’s going on. And often in Q&As you see that because will ask you what happened to her or what happened to him. And I think documentaries, because of the equipment being so cheap, there’s a kind of new flowering of possibility. We met someone last night who went off on her own to Iraq and made a film. And being a solo person wasn’t possible when Albert and I were starting out. Even though when Albert and I were starting out there was this huge change in equipment such that it was lighter and more portable and people began to do things that had never been done before. That kind of thing is happening in a new way, so it’s really cool.

STF: We were talking before the film about other things happening in the Maysles Studios in the 1970s. You were very active making commercials, making other films. I was quite surprised to learn that there’s an entire film about Grand Funk Railroad that has never been released before. Muffie, can you talk about what it was like working at Maysles Studios in the 1970s?

Muffie: I think that the company supported itself doing commercials. I think, a lot because of Gimme Shelter, there were several rock n’ roll films made. To me it was like this amazing place because it was so casual and friendly. Everybody worked hard but it was easygoing and everybody was like a family. I think that it probably continues to be that way.

Albert: When you make a film like Grey Gardens or Salesman, you have a special devotion to the people in the film. They become your friends forever. I was asked recently if I had become unfriendly with anyone I had ever filmed, and I can’t remember that ever happening. And so many of them, I kept up to date with. Salesman—which was done 40 years ago—one of the salesmen visited me the other day, and two of them have passed away, but during their life there was constant communication. And part of that is because we treated them so well as subjects in the film.

Related Film

Jan_17_grey_gardens
GREY GARDENS

  • Bud Parr

    Congrats! This is exciting.

  • Pamela Cohn

    I have a wonderful conversation on my blog with Astra—talented, talented woman!

    http://stillinmotion.typepad.com/

  • Bud Parr

    Great essay, Thom. Many of us who write about books, serious literary fiction and literature in translation in particular, feel the same way; it’s a complaint commensurate with the shift/decline in print media.

    Don’t discount blogs though. At least in the book world there are a lot of avid writers not only picking up where the old mainstream media left off, but finding new ways to critique and engage books (and pushing the blog format) – new online literary journals are popping up too, for the very same reason that there are more filmmakers: technology has reduced the barriers to entry. And now, former professional critics are becoming online critics, paid or not, and enjoying the freedom of the format and the connection with their audience that rarely existed in print. The result is an eclectic and vibrant mix of voices and I’d assert that if there’s an audience for doc films, which there is, then there’s the potential at least for the same sort of renaissance in doc-film criticism.

    Bud Parr, blogger,
    Chekhov’s Mistress
    Words Without Borders

  • David Van Taylor

    Nice going, Thom!

    I’ve bemoaned the sad state of docu criticism on many occasions, but never really considered that there might be an alternative.  Reading your piece made me realize what a boon reliably in-depth and insightful criticism would be to my work (and others’). 

    Maybe you should contact Pat Aufderheide.  Now that she’s successfully revolutionized copyright, perhaps she can help fix things up in this arena.  But seriously, I bet her Center could make a real contribution.

    Thanks for opening eyes and pushing the field forward.

    dvt

  • Bill Jersey

    Thanks for the thoughtful analysis.
    Problem is that we are dealing with “the Tyranny of Large Numbers”
    When I was doing Network television in the early 60’s there were 4 channels- and a push from the FCC to do “ed B’castin” How does one do justice now to the abundance of programming bombarding us.
    and more importantly-What in our contemp society encourages reflection, much less contemplation- we believe the lies because it’s easier than searching out the truth- and if they confirm our assumptions- so much the better.
    But I, like you ,and thousands of others soldier on
    —because even if unwanted or ignored- the pursuing of truth beauty and justice is our way of being in the world and I for one have no intention of changing course.
    Bill Jersey

  • Sean Farnel

    great essay Thom.

    As a smalltown boy my own love of cinema was heavily reliant on film criticism. I didn’t have access to many of the films I was reading about (via by Pauline Kael, Ebert, and especially J. Hoberman, when I could find a Village Voice in Northern Ontario), but the writing fueled my interest and passion, and eventually led me to film school.

    In Toronto, our best film critic, Geoff Pevere, become quite addicted to docs, and wrote incisively about them. I tangibly noticed what a difference it made in developing audience interest for the form here. Unfortunately we lost him to the Book Section!

    But, I agree with Rosenbaum that sites like ROUGE (which is excellent) are picking up the critical slack, even if industry gossip sites continue get most of the hits.

  • Robyn

    Wow, this sounds great. Wish I had been there. Ever since I read her autobiography Dust Tracks on the Road, I have been obsessed with ZNH!

  • Andrew Berends

    Also deserving a mention: the first Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund Awards. Perhaps the fanciest documentary party ever, or, as one of the grantees commented, the scruffiest Gucci party ever. Not scruffy at all though.

  • Shashwati

    Hey Thom, when are you going to head East and check out all the great stuff being made in East Asia? can’t you come to the Iron Horse, the Golden Horse or something?

  • Brian

    Here’s a look back at the STFs I attended this past year:
    http://www.thefilmpanelnotetaker.com/2008/12/thom-powers-top-10-favorite-doc-events.html

    As well as my own top 10 list:
    http://www.thefilmpanelnotetaker.com/2008/12/reflections-on-2008-and-top-10-favorite.html

    Looking forward to the new season!

  • Nigel Beale

    I spend most of my time reading and reviewing books, and interviewing authors. Engaging with the printed word is simply much more stimulating than watching 90% of the movies that are currently served up to the public..of the 10% that are worth thinking and writing about, I’d say most are documentaries…

    This is, as you say, an interesting field in which to practice criticism; given the state of today’s media however, few are likely to be hired based on any particular knowledge of the documentary genre.

    Good criticism is a function as much of what is criticized as of how the critic writes…and talented critics, when they have a choice, will always seek out the most challenging material, regardless of which medium it may appear in.

  • Tom Hall

    I saw VSPRS in Paris in October 2007 (on my honeymoon), and its was GREAT; I had no idea this was happening! Big fan of Sophie’s… glad to see PERVERT’S GUIDE get a run… and no idea she had done a VSPRS film…

    Thanks for the update, Thom!

  • Deanna Kamiel

    Great piece, Thom.  Essential.  A new doc criticism is necessary if only to encompass documentary filmmaking in countries like China, India, Africa and eastern Europe.  Jia Zhangke, for example—Useless, 24 City—says he makes non-fiction films to stop the disappearing of images and stories and landscapes, endemic to postwar Chinese history.

    Many thanks,

    Deanna Kamiel

  • paula longendyke

    Thanks Raphaela for your account of the festival.  I read evey word and felt like I was there.  You and Thom are the best.  Hope Kevin and I will get to see you soon at IFC for a screening!
    Happy New Year
    Paula

  • Sean

    Beautiful evening. I especially enjoyed the screening of the 12-minute short on “The First World Festival of Negro Arts” I loved how Greaves captured the optimism of that early period of African independence so well.

    Sean Jacobs
    http://theleoafricanus.com/

  • Naomi Woddis

    just read it – now am in tears. Britical you write so bloody well, I want 1000’s and more to read your words !

  • james

    nice enjoyment had taken place i m feeling jealous.

    motorcycle insurance quote

  • tully

    It was initially disappointing to see so many empty seats in that room the other night, for this will certainly turn out to be one of the real cinema-going treats of 2009, but the post-film Q&A;felt more intimate because of it (although that one dude telling Peter Davis what he did and didn’t stage was… well, I would rather not get into that right now).

    Lucky for us, and shame on everyone else for missing out (though maybe Cannes had something to do with that?). It sounds like there are no immediate plans for Icarus to release the Middletown series in a more affordable DVD boxed set edition, but maybe if enough of us complain it will kick them/someone else into gear. After having only seen Seventeen and Second Time Around, this already stands tall as the Decalogue of nonfiction. I might consider lopping off a finger to see the others. Hopefully it won’t come to that.

  • Nick

    It was mildly disappointing, I suppose, that the theater wasn’t jam-packed, but the real disappointment is that these films aren’t available on DVD.  In an age when EVERYTHING is available for download or rental or Netflix, it’s inexplicable that we shouldn’t all be able to order up these six beauties with the touch of a button (and, okay, maybe a credit card).

    As for the so-called ‘argument’ about what was staged and what wasn’t—with all due respect, you missed the point.  It wasn’t that anything was staged, and no one, not I, who got the conversation started, and not the other dude in the row behind me (who I think is the dude to whom you’re referring), was suggesting that any scenes were staged, but merely the rather obvious fact that the actions of the subjects of documentary films are of course altered by the presence of the camera. 

    (My point, and I am happy to make it again, and complete it, is that the scene where the couple talks about how much money the guy spends on his stamp collection was in particular affected by the camera’s presence; that without a camera there, it is likely these two may not have recognized how silly and wonderfully trivial the conversation was; that they might not have laughed so charmingly about the whole thing… I think it’s one of the strongest scenes in a very strong film, and the moments of acute self-consciousness on both their parts contributes to the scene being so terrific.)

    And by the way, not that it matters (and it doesn’t), but I happen to know that Peter Davis agrees with me on the larger point.  Other families talked politics at the dinner table; as much as Dad may like to think we talked about politics too, what we really talked about was stuff like this.

  • John G

    Nice synopsis of the panel. It’s interesting that journalists trapped in the world of mainstream media have a very difficult time of portraying the news and the underlying message due to the pressures of the companies they work for. grand rapids lasik

  • sooran

    <a > thancks </a>
    this post very very helped me !

    Good Time

  • Peter Davis

    My vote for a great sports documentary goes to Blood, Sweat and Gears directed by Nick Davis

  • Nina Seavey

    4TH AND GOAL – Coming soon. Sometimes the best is yet to happen.

  • Sloane Cooper

    Best Sports Doc?  Blood Sweat + Gears Directed by Nick Davis

  • judith Helfand

    Thanks Thom for creating the CLIFF NOTES for the new indie distrib frontier. much much appreciated!!  xo

  • Sarah Miller

    I was at that IFP conference panel too and found it really fascinating. Thanks for filling me in on the TIFF and MoMa events. This is such a hot topic right now!

  • Andrew Catauro

    Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait would be near the top of my list; and maybe Speedo! (Why not)

    Racing Dreams would also be worth some discussion—a great recent entry in the motorsports doc canon.

  • Patti Villegas

    One of my faves is Quantum Hoops directed by Rick Greenwald.

  • Eddie Rosenstein

    How about that little diddy, “OLYMPIA”, by Leni Riefenstahl?

  • Admin

    STF should start a dvd/streaming video platform!

  • Admin

    “The box office on MRS GOLDBERG should be higher – except most of the tickets are at senior citizen prices.”

    Hah! Great piece, Thom.

  • Laura Poitras

    Raphaela & Thom,
    We are all so happy for you both and expect to be updated on the big news. 

    Raphaela was radiant last night!

    Laura

  • Carolina

    CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BEAUTIFUL FAMILY!!!

  • Rabbi Eva Goldfinger

    What do you mean ‘uncharacteristic’ profanity.  Don’t be fooled by that sweet face smile.  Bez looks like he’s saying “Thank you very much, but I would have preferred the warmth and comfort of ‘inside’ rather than being forced to endure the cold wintry American weather.  Ah, but in the last two photos he seems more reconciled and perhaps comforted by being embraced in dad’s arms and snuggling up against mom’s warm breasts.

    What an amazing production!  Hope you will reap lots of benefit from your work…..

    Looking forward to seeing you in Toronto (I hope) later this year.
    Love,
    Eva

  • Dima, Anastasia and Nica

    Congratulations! Having recently concluded similar negotiations, albeit with the use of drugs (on the part of the father of the deal), we are glad to hear that yours was successful and not especially protracted, though, it probably did not seem that way at the time.

    Congratulations to Thom, Raphaela, Bez and the Powershausen families!!!Wishing you health, quick recovery and the occasional bit of sleep.

  • Cristina and Dominique

    What a production!!!!!
    Without a doubt the best STF experience! Besos to both and congratulations!!!!

  • Shelley Powers

    What a cutie! (no Thom, I was talking about Bez)This newest little addition is oh-so-lucky to be on board with a such great team.  Welcome Bez!!

  • Daphne :0)

    What a beautiful baby!!

  • Kyla Dunn

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What wonderful news! Welcome to the world, Bez! Well, if you’re not ready to compete with Nina Davenport on the home-documentation front, maybe you could just do a Nikita Mikhalkov and film him once a year on his birthday! smile xoxo

  • ale and danish

    !!congratulations to the powershausen clan!!  fantastic work on the delivery, rafferty of my heart!  can’t wait to meet Bez soon

  • Annemarie Jacir

    Congratulations to both of you!! Wonderful news! Mabrook!!

  • Mark Crilley

    Congratulations, Thom and Raphaela. That lucky little guy’s got an incredible life ahead of him guaranteed, courtesy of two of the coolest parents he could’ve hoped for.—mark

  • Teri

    You used the BEST Doula in all of Brooklyn. Congrats on the birth !

  • Heidi and John Hood

    Pleased to meet you Bezalel!
    You brought your charms into a really terrific family…AND you sure will woo your singing Grandmother.
    We wish all of you lots of love and hugs!

  • Erin Donovan

    Too cute! Congratulations to your family smile

  • Maureen O’Shea

    Congratulations and Best Wishes Welcome Bez

  • Grandma and Pappa Powers (Thom’s mom and dad)

    We sit here with tears streaming down our faces as we first see our beautiful grandson, Bez, held by his daddy and mommy.
    How blessed you are, Thom and Raphaela, and both families too, to have this precious gift of life in our midst.  We laughed out loud when we saw the doula’s name was Meghan, the very Irish name we’d chosen had a second daughter been added to our family of Thomas, Patrick, Jr and Maureen. And so the greatest journey ever begins for Bez and his parents.

    With hearts bursting with joy and gratitude to God, we send you our love.

  • Uncle PJ

    Congrats, bro and sis! Such a beautiful baby. Shelley and I can’t wait to see him in NY in a few weeks.

    Is it true that there is a bidding war for the Director’s Cut of the Bris?

  • Anna Kreditor

    Raphaela looks beautiful and glowing:) Great job, guys:)

  • roger Berkowitz

    Welcome Bez! And Mazel Tov to your parents. WE can’t wait to see all of your joyous faces in person

    R

  • Joe Terrasi

    Tremendous! Congrats.

  • Maria Luise

    I have a feeling……. that Bez was already very present at our lunch last Sunday and – even more so -in the afternoon.
    Please come soon to the farm and stay long!

    Abbracci,
    ML and Horst

  • Nina Davenport

    OHMYGOD THAT IS THE SWEETEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    i love the name!!!!!!!
    so feminist too!!!!
    can’t wait to meet him!!!
    jasper loves him already.

  • Alex T

    Dear Bez,

    Mazel tov! You couldn’t have picked a finer pair of parents to, er, represent you. Or to develop you? Make you manifest, express you—whatever they did, Powers and Raphaela did it beautifully! We can see that you’re a serious fellow, but we do hope you take the time to savor these first few days.

    I’m so excited for you both, you all three, and I can’t wait to see you. Congratulations and love.

  • Helen Leis

    Raphaela and Thom—Congrats and so glad everyone is doing well!  Can’t wait to meet Bez and welcome him to the world—enjoy your precious miracle!

    Love,
    Helen

  • Brian Geldin

    Congratulations Raphaela and Thom! Will Bez be moderating the next Q&A smile

  • Suni and Stephan

    We are absolutely thrilled for you three.

    Welcome to the world little Bez—many kisses await you.

    Suni and Stephan

  • Jeanne

    Congratulations! So much has happened since I was first introduced to you two. I can’t imagine two better parents for this lucky boy.

    Best,
    Jeanne

  • Ry

    A big big congrats!!
    I look forward to meeting him.

  • Andrew Rossi

    So cute! Congrats!

  • Russ Baker

    Marvelous accomplishment! My best to baby, mother, and father. Also my nomination for “best press release.”

  • Stella Fitingof

    Welcome Bez!  Warm congratulations to your parents Raphaela and Thom, and the PowerHousen families!

    Being a parent requires a sense of humour.  I would like to share with you a wonderful editor’s message from a Toronto parent magazine.  It goes like this:

    A parent’s job description, if it was advertised:

    Parents Wanted – Apply Within:
    Long-term team players needed for challenging permanent work in a chaotic environment.  Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work days, evenings, weekends and 24-hour shifts on-call.

    Responsibilities:
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    Possibilities for advancement:
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    Salary:
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    Benefits:
    While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays, and no stock options are offered, this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, lots of laughter, and free hugs and kisses.

    Raphaela and Thom, you are obviously up for the job!  Mazel Tov!

    All our love,

    Stella, Kobi and Eitan

  • James Longley

    How wonderful! The world is already a better place. Congratulations, Thom and Raphaela!

  • Irina Konon

    The fruit of creation of your love that you have for one another is the perfect joy of having that baby boy cuddling warmly in your arms. Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy, BEZALEL!!)

    My Best wishes!
    XOX

  • Debraj Ray

    Dearest Thom and Rafaela

    Warmest congratulations!

    Thom, your fathering an infant truly puts this event in the STF category. (You would probably respond that it’s Bezness as usual.)

    Much love to both of you and Bez.

    Debraj

  • Zeva (mother of twins)

    Congratulations Thom and Raphaela!
    He’s beautiful and best of all—he’s only one!

  • Veronica Velez-Burgess

    felicitaciones! i hope our boys can meet one day soon!

  • Ilona & Andy Mack

    Congratulations to you all – what wonderful news! And big big CHAPEAU for doing it all without silly interventions and drugs!!!

    Welcome to the beautiful exciting world, Bez!

    Lots of love from London

  • Helen Erlich and Barry Razmov & Families – Thorn

    Mazel Tov !!!!!!  We are all very excited by this wonderful news. Way to go Raphaela and Thom. We know that your parents, grandparents and all family members are elated. We look forward to seeing you in Toronto later this year.

    Best wishes !!

  • Auntie Marianna

    BRAVO FOR BEZ!!!!!  LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE to all 3 of you!!!!!!

  • Amelia Hanibelsz

    What a brilliant article and an even more brilliant ending !!!

    Can not wait to see you both and I am so very happy for you – congratulations .This is very exciting !!!

    STF Groupie and Filmmaker

    amelia oxoxoxoxo

  • Almudena Carracedo

    Raphaela and Thom, CONGRATULATIONS!!! What a beautiful baby. It’s so awesome, just 9 months of production… 20 years of distribution though!

    We’re next in the production pipeline -hoping for an equally auspicious premiere!

    Our best wishes,

    Almudena and Robert

  • Jennifer

    Mazel Tov!

    I remember reading a story in religious school in the ‘70’s about a kid with that name (the gentile teacher wanted to call him Butch or Buzzy), but google-fu is failing me as to who wrote it.

  • Theresa Loong

    Dear Thom and Raphaela,

    I love the blog post and the photos!  I was distracted by my first visit to Sundance (spectating and meeting folks) and arrived home to read about the great news.

    Congratulations and best wishes.

    -Theresa

  • Madlena

    My warmest congratulations, Raphaelochka! Molodetz!
    Your new Commander in Chief is great! Lots of joy, happiness and strong health for little Bez and his wondrful parents!
    Very happy for you,
    Madlena, Dima Kroshka’s mum.

  • Elizabeth Westrate

    Standing ovation. Much love to you.

  • Anonymous

    What was the third doc about Russia?

  • Dusty

    BEZ!!! Congratulations Thom and Mrs. Thom! I have indeed been lost in the Sundance fog, but this is definitely the best news of the week. Very cool. Wishing you the best of luck and at least a little sleep.

    dusty

  • Howard Weinberg

    And the winner for the best photo layout and script introducing a new actor with superb supporting roles for his parents…Bez!  Congratulations! —Howard

  • Gita Pullapilly

    Congratulations! What a gorgeous addition to the family!

  • Matt Smith

    Beautiful baby!  I hope the furniture is ready.  Can’t wait to meet Bez.

    Love,
    Matt, Alicia and family

  • Pat Aufderheide

    Congratulations on the cutest baby ever and pretty much the best baby announcement too! Enjoy every minute!

  • Roli Chaturvedi

    Congratulations once again !!
    This is the most unusual and a beautiful welcome note…would love to see him sometime.

  • Birender & Kulvir

    Wow,  how amazing.  Congrats to the whole family!!  Bez is adorable.  Hold him tight, because he is going to grow up before you know it.  We loved the announcement.  Can’t wait for regular updates.  Hope to catch up with you guys in the summer.  All our love,

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  • Theresa Loong

    I enjoyed watching “The Kids Grow Up” and attending drinks afterwards (I usually have to head home!).  FYI, the nurse in the photo is also documentary filmmaker Claire Panke.

  • Claire Panke

    Thanks for ID’ing me Theresa! I’m a documentary filmmaker AND a nurse – thanks.

  • julia reichert

    Just came across this.  Great idea, especially presenting work from radio, audio, photography, writing etc.  Needed. We have noticed that some festivals are including audio documentary.  Our little Fest in Dayton does that. Will tell our audio buddies out here and in the City to submit work.

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    Hi Raphaela,
    The link for the Season pass doesn’t seem to be working. Please let me know how I can purchase it.
    Thanks and looking forward to another great season of STF.
    Happy New Year!
    Charlotte

  • Diego Mas Trelles

    We have also the pleasure and the honour to show it in competition at Ronda International Film Festival.

  • Tom Hall

    Planning to see almost all of these… great preview!

  • Betsy

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    Thom, Chris and I spent 4 years of home room and a couple of German classes together. He was the first guy I met at Terry Sanford (that I did already know as he went to another middle school. We laughed for 4 years and after college would have a beer or three at a local pub called the Highlander. And although I haven’t seen him in a few years I followed his work through his pictures and along with other Fayetteville natives and classmates on FB. Your words ring true. I will remember his smile and his work ethic. He was truly a unique soul and I find it hard to explain why it has hit me so hard. I sum it like this. Several years ago when my life seemed to be falling apart I ran into him in Fayetteville. He seemed to know that I was going through something and he said “Hey Holtet, let’s get beer.” Sadly we didn’t. But I have remembered that day for a long time. You just don’t get the chance too have friends like that in your life very often. He will be missed. Thank you for your words..

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  • Jean Manuel Beauchamp

    This article written by Aaron Cael, while well-informed in its correct views of the film, is wrong in the lack of respect shown in its final sentence: “the game of international politics that will likely keep his grandfather imprisoned for life.”

    While my grandfather is currently serving time in Paris, against all Geneva Conventions, without evidence against him, on behalf of the United States Government, the actions currently being taken by the President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli and the current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton make his safe return to Panama imminent. While it was supposedly assumed that the United States should have had no role to play after the completion of his sentence in Miami, all actions point the opposite, and Barack Obama’s current Democratic presidency has to make up for the Republican scheming in the respect of my grandfather’s case.

    Despite the use of the word ‘likely’ in the final sentence of this review, this sentence not only provokes unnecessary drama to my requested participation in the screening, but it also takes part in the deception of the media that the film discusses at length by suggesting a continued lack of justice.

    -Jean Manuel Beauchamp

    .

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    But the manipulation and lazy political correctness of this TV show shaped my own writing and reporting in the opposite direction. Approach your subject with an open mind, gather information and viewpoints, and THEN tell your story.

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    P.S. Berlinger and Sinofsky were robbed!

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    I find this hoopla over the NC17 to be quite silly. Here’s the deal: the MPAA is an uanifr organization marked by poor priorities, terribly consistency, and rendered completely stupid by the fact that it’s actually run by the big studios. The application of the NC17 is inconsistent at best and irresponsible at worst, but let’s face it, Shame is very much and NC17 movie. It’s a movie for adults and not at all for young teens or children.The issue then becomes the stigma, which I reject completely. This is a capitalist world and in the end it all comes down to money. The kinds of films that traditionally get NC17 ratings are not big blockbusters. They’re usually films that would get limited advertising for a limited release anyway. And guess what, if Shame gets a lot of awards buzz and a lot of interest from mainstream viewers, advertisers and theatre chains will make sure to get in on that money. The fact is, most ordinary people don’t even know what the NC17 is, so any stigma is crap. Completely manufactured and amplified by the fact that there are so few NC17 movies, they are usually given the rating for sexual material, and the films that get the rating usually wouldn’t play outside of the four or five major markets anyway.

  • Wail

    Hi Wayne,Yeah watching the soduim is, what I think, the first step in the right direction. You should at least feel your pressure in the ear going down by that. I would also recommend you to watch coffee and alcohol. I personally feel a correlation between my Meniere’s and Alcohol more than with coffee or salt. Let’s say, if I drink 2-3 beers on empty stomach (after work) I can bet that my ear is getting worse if not that night, than the next day. So, salt, coffee and alcohol. And smoke. Cigarette smoke is also well known to affect the ear.  About the ringing in the ear: Tinnitus is very difficult to treat. I personally don’t know of anything except   acupuncture. And that’s something, if you read my last article there, I am just trying out. Now with Acupuncture that’s one of these things: 1. You need a good Acupuncturer otherwise the symptoms will not improve 2. In traditional Chinese Medicine they treat Meniere’s with Acupuncture EVERY day   you can guess that this is something very unlikely achievable for us here. So, for the ringing but also for the overall improvement of your Meniere’s I would say find a good acupuncturer and try to create a short, frequent treatment. With that I mean   3 times for 1/2 weeks. I had 2 treatments and my dizziness attacks (I had for some reason 4-5 last week) disappeared and I feel less pressure in my ear. I do still have Tinnitus and hearing loss is pretty bad. But I am going to write an entry about that experience soon   Mate, good luck with that and let me know how you are going and write me your experiences!

  • Monica

    Tarkovsky is my favourite dietorcr so I own all of his movies (all 7 of them) from Kino International to Criterion versions.  I own the book that Stalker’s loosely based on,  Roadside Picnic , and I’ve played the 3 PC games that were inspired by the film. :O)The reason behind why I’m not a Godfather fan is because I don’t like the Italian mob.  Cosa Nostra et all really bother me because of the Italian cliche9s that has resonated throughout the decades and the whole living with your mother who cooks spaghetti for you, etc is an annoyance.  I also hate the you mess with one of us you, mess with all of us ideal because I believe that everyone can fight their own battles, which is why I much prefer the Yakuza; they almost never get into fights because they’d end up in wars and bloodshed.  I’m going to rewatch The Godfather one day just so I could watch the second at one point in my life.  I’m told that the first two films are basically one long movie and that the third’s the epilogue.  Again, I hate the Italian mob so I’ll need to get in the mood.  But Goodfellas is a movie that I love.  It’s not mainly about the riches and the power, it’s about the hard work that goes into being a footsoldier and that I can relate to.I also didn’t like Pacino in the first Godfather film; I thought that his performance was decent at best but also that his character would not have become the Godfather that he turned into because I didn’t see it in his character to become that.  It was lacking the portrayal.  But that’s just me, and now that I’m far more experienced in movie watching I may enjoy it more, especially its cinematogrphy.

  • Johanna Samuel

    Hi Thom- I will also be there acquiring documentary films and selling our doc catalogue worldwide. Just acquired Joel Katz’s WHITE: A MEMOIR IN COLOR, Dani Menkin’s DOLPHIN BOY, Vic Sarrin’s DESERT RIDERS, David New’s TEACHING THE LIFE OF MUSIC, a film called THE LAST NAZI HUNTER, a new feature doc GREENWICH VILLAGE;MUSIC THAT DEFINED A GENERATION, “THEIR EYES WERE DRY”, Gabrielle Pfeiffer’s A POET ON THE FRONTLINE, THE HOUSE OF SUH,…and many more! Love to you and to Rafaella!!
    Johanna
    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)/johanna.samuel@gmail.com   416-566-2994

  • Pingback: Recommended Reading: Top 10 Twitter Tips for Filmmakers | POV Blog | PBS()

  • http://www.tastythailand.com/ Rachel – Tasty Thailand

    I saw both documentaries recently and they are absolutely excellent and so accurate about the reasons why so many Thai women end up with western husbands. Thailand is a hard country to live in if you are poor as there is no social service net, so you can’t blame the women doing what they do to help their children hopefully have a better life.

    It was also nice to see a film that really did put the western men it followed in a good light, as it showed they were only trying to find someone to love which, let’s face it, isn’t a bad thing :)

  • Johanna Samuel

    Congratulations!!!! So happy for both of you- Love, Johanna

  • http://www.writersandfilmmakers.com Jonathan Krimer

    But if you follow these people, they are not going to follow you. Right? Why would they? We fund writers and filmmakers,@writerfilmmaker

  • roknnagd

    ابحث عن شركة تنظيف لندن التي تلبي الاحتياجات الخاصة بك. في أقرب وقت كنت قد اخترت بعض الشركات، ويذهب أكثر من ملفهم الشخصي، الخدمات المقدمة، ومعدلات والسرعة والكفاءة، والموقع، الأحكام والشروط حتى تتمكن من تحديد ما إذا كانت الشركة التي تبحث عنها. مقارنة بين ميزات والأسعار للحصول على أفضل الصفقات.

  • SIMA Awards

    Don’t forget @sima_awards :)

  • syanat3

    يعتبر توكيل شارب من افضل توكيلات الاجهزة الكهربائية لانه يقوم بتصنيع اجهزة متكطورة ومبتكرة وحديثة تتماشى مع جميع الاذواق والمختلفة ويتوفر جميع التصميمات التي تتلبي احتياجات جميع العملاء الكرام والاسعار مخفضة ورائعة تابعونا عبر

    http://goo.gl/duUEML

  • egyhelp

    ايقوم فريق عمل كاريير صيانة
    بأستخدام اساليب حديثة ومبتكرة في صيانة الاجهزة وتصلحيها حتى يوفر لكم درجة عالية من الحماية بالاضافة الى انه يقدم لكم قطع غيار مضمونة واصلية ومستوردة هدفنا ان نوفر لكم الحماية للمزيد تابعونا عبر

    http://goo.gl/msyxoS

  • Mazallat Images

    تعتبر شركة السبيعي من افضل شركات جميع اعمال السواتر وبيوت الشعر و مظلات السيارات الفخمة والقوية والمنفذة بتصميمات رائعة ومختلفة عن الجميع واسعارها مخفضة ومغرية تتناسب مع الجميع للمزيد من المعلومات تاعبونا عبر

    0500296699
    – 0112277479

    http://goo.gl/jgK53c

  • fireplacesbbq

    لا تحتار كثيرا وسارع في الاتصال برقم شركة محمد ابو صالح الذي يقدم لكم جميع اعمال الديكورات من شلالات وفاير بليس ومدافئ امريكية و باربكيو وجميعها بتصميمات رائعة و اسعار خيالية ومغرية تتناسب مع الجميع للمزيد تاعبونا عبر

    789896332 _ 790614242

    http://goo.gl/jlN4Iw

  • swaqny

    بمجرد اشتراكك مع موقع سوقنى سوف تتمتع بافضل عروض وباقات مقدمة على جميع اعمال التسويق الاكتروني حيث يقوم فريق العمل بدراسة المواقع دراسة كاملة من جميع جوانبه ووضع خطة قوية لنجاح الموقع للمزيد تابعونا عبر

    002_01008745590

    http://www.swaqny.com/

  • Mazallat Images

    الابتكا روالتطوير والتحديث المستمر في تصميمات مظلات وسواتر الدمام المتوفر لدى شركة السبيعي التي تقدم العديد من التصميمات المختلفة عن الجميع وجميعها بأجود الخامات الممتازة والقوية للمزيد من
    المعلومات تابعونا عبر

    http://goo.gl/VJ5um8

    0500296699 – 0112277479

  • syanat3

    اذا كنت ترغب في تنفيذ حملات صيانة لاجهزتك الكهربائية لا تتجه الى اي شركة اخرى وسارع في الاتصال برقم توكيل فريش وتمتع بافضل صيانة وافضل اجهزة تعمل بشكل سليم وامن للمزيد تابعونا عبر

    http://goo.gl/h8HQSe

  • Movingfurniture58

    لمزيد من المعلومات حول شركة نقل عفش في جدة بأرخ الاسعار , زوروا موقعنا الان . واتصلوا بنا
    0553121777
    http://www.xn—–jtdlp1a8a2dguu.com/

  • nklafsh

    شركة الاخلاص والامانه هى افضل شركة تقوم بنقل عفش فى مكة وبارخص الاسعار , اتصلوا بنا الان .
    0550018083 _ 0565277186

    http://www.xn—–jtd6bya2cendpd.com/

  • eegazatona

    اقوى عروض رحلات الغردقة باقل الاسعار واعلى الخدمات وحجز في فنادق فخمة مجهزة بكافة سبل الراحة والمتعة لك عميلنا العزيز ..

    للاستفسار يمكنك الاتصال على الرقم التالي :
    01227777691

  • ‫معادلة الهندسة‬‎

    افضل مركز لتعليم معادلة كلية هندسة باقل الاسعار واعلى الخدمات لما لدينا اساتذة ذو خبرة عالية

  • http://www.companysaudiarabia.com/%D9%85%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%AD%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA.php limitedto

    [URL=”http://www.companysaudiarabia.com/menu.php”]افضل شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالرياض[/URL]
    [URL=”http://arabianislandco.com/%D8%B9%D8%B2%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A.php”]افضل شركة عزل مائي بالرياض[/URL]
    [URL=”http://waters-isolate-leaks.com/%D8%B9%D8%B2%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%89.php”]افضل شركة عزل خزانات بالرياض[/URL]

    [URL=”http://www.companysaudiarabia.com/%D9%85%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%AD%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%B4%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA.php”]افضل شركه مكافحة حشرات بالرياض[/URL]
    [URL=”http://arabianislandco.com/”]اصلاح حمامات ومطابخ بالرياض[/URL]
    [URL=”http://waters-isolate-leaks.com/%D8%B9%D8%B2%D9%84-%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%89.php”]افضل شركة عزل حمامات وخزانات[/URL]
    [URL=”http://www.companysaudiarabia.com/”]عزل مائي وحرارى للاسطح[/URL]

  • syanat3

    مراكز صيانة الكتروستار تقدم خدمات مميزه جدا لعملاءها ومستخدمي اجهزة ماركتها ومن مميزات المركز انخفاض تكلفته عن كثير من المراكز المعتمده
    للتواصل عبر:
    http://www.maintenanceg.com/Electrostar-Agent-Center.html

  • fireplacesbbq

    تعتبر شركة اجازتنا واحدة من افضل الشركات المتخصصة للكثير من خدمات عروض شرم الشيخ مع شركة اجازتنا لدينا الكثير من الخصومات الكبيرة والاعمال المميزة التى نقدمها الان اليكم من على موقعنا المتميز والرائع, خصومات كبيرة جدا نقدمها الان اليكم رحلات شرم الشيخ باسعار ميمزة جدا تناسب الجميع

  • fireplacesbbq

    تعتبر شركة مثلث الفرسان واحدة من الشركات الكبري المتخصصة للكثير من اعمال وخصومات افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة باسعار مميزة جدا لدينا افضل الخصومات الكبيرة والاعمال المميزة من على موقعنا المتميز والرائع افضل شركة نقل اثاث بجدة اسعار مميزة جدا نقدمها الان اليكم من على موقعنا

  • fireplacesbbq

    موقعنا واحد من المواقع المتخصصة فى مصر المسؤلة عن شركة امن وحراسة افضل الخصومات الكبيرة من على موقعنا المتميز اعمال مميزة جدا نقدمها الان اليكم من على موقعنا شركة حراسات خاصة خصومات كبيرة جدا نقدمها الان اليكم من على موقعنا المتميز خصومات رائعة نقدمها الان اليكم

  • fireplacesbbq

    شركة الهامة واحدة من الشركات المتخصصة فى اعمال نقل العفش فى جدة باسعار مميزة جدا تناسب الجميع خصومات كبيرة جدا نقدمها الان اليكم من على موقعنا
    http://www.نقل-عفش-جدة.com

  • نكت جامدة

    الشاحنات التى نقدمها اليكم مجهزة افضل شركة نقل اثاث بجدة من الداخل والخارج حفاظا على الاثاث داخل الشاحنة تمتع بخدمة نقل عفش منزلك مع شركات نقل العفش بجدة مع افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة شركة الخيالة الشركة المتخصصة شركة نقل عفش بجدة فى نقل الاثاث بجدة شركة نقل اثاث بجدة ومكافحة الحشرات

  • Mostafa Khames

    ال صالح لنقل الاثاث

    افضل شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

    اذا كنت خائف على اثاث منزلك من الكسر والخدش فلا تتردد فى الاتصال بشركة ال صالح شركة ال صالح لا تدع مجالا للخطاء فهى لديها فريق مدرب يؤدى عمله باتقان واسلوب محكم انها

    افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام

    تقدم خدماتها ويسعدنا اتصالكم.

  • Mostafa Khames

    شركة ال صالح تقدم الكم خدماتها فهى

    افضل شركة نقل عفش بالدمام

    , تقوم بتغليف وفك وتركيب الاثاث وشحنه الى اى مكان بدون اى عواقب او اخطاء ,حيث ان لديها افراد مختصين وادوات شحن متطوره ,فنحن افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالدمام واسعرنا مميزه لن تجد لها مثيل ,سنصلك اينما كنت لا تتردد فى الاتصال