Hollywood on the Potomac
It was a journey into the Fantastic World of Fiction and Film with Mario Vargas Llosa, Alessandro Baricco and Vittorio Storaro that brought together three world renowned artists at Georgetown University’s historic Gaston Hall, an exclusive itinerary made possible by a collaboration between Georgetown University’s Italian Research Institute and The The Embassy of Italy.
The three artists were: Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa (The Greenhouse, The Feast of the Goat, The War of the End of the World), popular novelist and essayist Alessandro Baricco (Silk, Ocean Sea, Novecento: Pianist), and Oscar winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Reds, The Last Emperor) – all of whom joined forces for a symposium about the art of story telling and filmmaking.
“The sharing of ideas by these three acclaimed literary and visual artists will be a source of inspiration to the audience. This conference is part of a journey-based series of events organized by the Embassy, including performances, exhibits and movie screenings,” explained Ambassador of Italy to the United States Claudio Bisogniero.
Mario Vargas Llosa addressed the topic of Boccaccio on Stage: a Journey into the World of the Imagination based on his latest work, a theatrical adaptation from the Decameron. “Boccaccio’s stories transport readers (and their listeners) to a world of fantasy, but that world has some deep roots in the reality of experience. Thus, in addition to allowing them to share a dream, it educates and instructs them to better understand the real world, daily life, in all of its adversity and magnificence, on what goes badly or very badly in it and especially on what could and should be better,” he noted.
“And of course there was the CIA publication review board that I need to be responsible to as well,” she added regarding obligations to the agency pertaining to secrets and all. “Even if I write a cookbook it needs to go to them.”
Both are best-selling authors and US intelligence experts: Ignatius, a prize-winning columnist and author who has covered the Middle East and the CIA for more than 25 years, and Plame, author and twenty-year CIA Clandestine Service veteran.
They discussed their experiences in the world of international intelligence and the future of spycraft in a post-Snowden era, and shared anecdotes about the people and places that have inspired their writings.The Atlantic’s Editor-at-Large, Steve Clemons, moderated the conversation.
ABC correspondent Martha Raddatz shared years of admiration for Ifill professionally and as “girlfriends all the way.” She admitted to being a “61-year-old grandmother, just like Gwen’s target audience.”
Gwen Ifill, moderator and managing editor of Washington Week of which she is managing editor and co-anchors with Judy Woodruff of the daily PBS NewsHour, was honored at the 20th Annual Roast of the American News Women’s Club, held at The National Press Club.
Eleanor Clift, longtime Newsweek correspondent and now with the Daily Beast, set the tone – replaced emcee Candy Cowley who was felled by the flu – and did so with aplomb! First to the podium was Dorothy Gilliam, retired Washington Post columnist, who compared her and Gwen’s start in print journalism, noting “Ifill is one of the most successful newswomen in American history.”