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Octavian (Tavi) Coman - Awesome Videographer

Tavi is one of the first to get to every CreativeMornings Friday and you might not even know he’s there.

Ever since primary school Tavi knew that he wanted to do journalism. He was 10 or 11 years old when he designed and wrote a newspaper by himself and 18 years old when he went to a local radio station from Brașov, his hometown, and asked if he could stick around and learn radio.

He went on studying journalism in Cluj and went back to radio during college, doing news for another station in his hometown, and then in Cluj. Three years later he made it from local to national and started working as a news reporter at Europa FM, one of the biggest private radio stations in Romania (it’s where he also met Ani, now his wife and the mother of his son). Being a more introverted person, Tavi had fallen in love with radio journalism because he could use his voice to get close to people and to share important stories with the world.

Growing more and more attached to radio features rather that news, Tavi got the chance to practice them more in the year he spent at BBC Romania in 2007, and later at the public radio station, where he got to work from in war zones like Afghanistan. His will for constant learning and development made Tavi start his own media production house: Content Media. He bought his first video camera and started learning to use it on his own as well as through some classes he took in the US. One of the dearest video features he managed to do was the story of his cousin Cătălin, who was deadly shot in the Romanian Revolution of ‘89. It was the first story that had a personal touch to it as well as factual information, and it was also a way for him to get to know his own family better. The story brought him to the narrative nonfiction magazine DoR (Decât o Revistă) and it was the beginning of their collaboration, during which he also got to be the video master of The Power of Storytelling conference.

The CreativeMornings Bucharest crew gave him a warm welcome in January 2016 and since then he’s responsible with getting every talk on camera and editing it so you can watch it later. ”I think that the success of every Creative Morning is the empathy that ensues, the fact that you can identify with the one speaking on stage.” His favorite talk so far is the one Mazilique gave on ‘Risk’, because hearing her story made him realize once again that it’s possible to make it as a freelancer.

Daniela Groza studied architecture, then Italian Literature and Philosophy at UC Berkeley. After a nomadic period, and a variety of jobs, she became a self-taught documentary photographer. To follow her dream to work in a way that is both artistic and altrusitic, in 2014 she founded an organization named BE KIND FOR REAL, where profits from sales of t-shirts are donated to support art and feminism in schools. She lives and works in New York. You can find more details about her and her work on her website.

Among all of us saying ‘Hello’ to you each time we meet on Friday morning, there’s that particular one that you might have noticed around grabbing his camera and taking shots all the time. Cătălin has known and enthusiastically joined the CreativeMornings team in Bucharest even before it was born.

Keen on words and copywriting, after highschool Cătălin went on to study Communication and Public Relations in Bucharest. By the end of his university years, advertising no longer seemed an ideal playground, but he had met the right likeminded people that pushed him in pursuing any other passion he wanted.

So Cătălin tried his luck in photography. He was already taking portraits of friends at meetings or parties, so he gathered all his work, bought an online template of a portfolio and he began looking for projects. Soon he started to take on more and more assignments and stories, ranging from shooting people at movie festivals and finding out their stories, to architecture and design photography. He’s still most attached to portraits and photojournalism, having also gathered some good experience in interior design. Six years later, he’s part of the DoR (Decât o Revistă) crew and he played a big part in the birth of CreativeMornings Bucharest. Back in 2013, he did the videos that the team needed in order to apply for the Bucharest chapter, and he has come to each month meeting ever since.

As busy as he is running around to take the best shots during the talks, he always enjoys listening to the speaker and says that all this moving helps him catch every detail, because he has to really pay attention to everything that’s happening. His favorite piece of any creative morning is the final shot, when it’s just him and the guest and he gets to know the person standing on stage. For Cătălin, a longtime behind the scenes craftsman, it’s interesting to see that, although CreativeMornings has brought together a pretty solid community, every speaker brings their own new audience along. It’s also similar to what Cătălin has learned so far from working in different areas, as a photographer: traditionally speaking, the saying goes that you should focus on one thing if you’re good at it, because this is how people will know about you and call you up for projects. But if you’re good at more than just one thing, go ahead and practice each of them.


Photo: Adi Tudose.

Cinty Ionescu is a Bucharest based artist with a constant interest in live video experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration. She is committed to exploring new expression forms in the field of live performance, at the crossroads of visual arts and live music, of stage theater and digital theater, of installations and augmented reality. Described as a “hybrid artist that whirls with ease, conquering new territories, animated by the main engine of innovation in any field: curiosity” (Cristina Modreanu, theater critic), Cinty worked at over 30 theater plays and dance pieces and performed hundreds of live shows which include multiple collaborations with musicians. Cinty presented her shows, most of them with a live component, on numerous national stages and in international contexts. She was awarded in 2011 the Excellence Award for Outstanding Video Design at the FringeNYC.

In the past years Cinty initiated and coordinated several multimedia stage projects, directing, dramatizing and video-performing in shows like  ROMANYEAH! (audio-video performance, ICRNY), Traces of Destruction on Mars (performative installation, Odeon Theatre in Bucharest) or embodied enescu mix (multimedia dance performance, ArtistNe(s)t and the National Museum George Enescu). In Between Two Pills is her most recent creation, a theatrical play that blends dramatizations of real stories about depression, as seen (or hidden) in Bucharest in 2016, with moments shot and lived by the artist in the hospital and with live new media elements: sound & video design and augmented reality, used for the first time in Romania in a theatrical performance.

Since 2015 Cinty is an MA in Digital Technologies in the Contemporary Performance at the National University of Theatre and Cinematography (UNATC) in Bucharest. Her focus for the upcoming projects is to continue to look at performance as a design, delving into mediaturgy by experimenting new tools and methods of embedding media in the narrative through digital technologies that explore live presence and mediated presence.

A people person and a problem solver, Anuca, 25 years old, is one of the newest members of the CreativeMornings Bucharest crew. 

Going to school in a different place than her hometown in the northside of the country since she was 11 years old, Anuca learned to take care of herself and grew more and more independent throughout highschool. She got attracted to communication and journalism, but also to economy, which she loved because she could learn how the world works and how people work. She moved to Bucharest and went on to study marketing in college, which she considered a tool to help her better understand people and their needs. After a semester of studies in Paris, a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, a Master’s degree in business consulting and a first job in event planning and accountability, Anuca was looking for a new place to work when she got an email telling her that the people at DoR were looking for an office manager.

In 2014 she started working for the magazine as the all star responsible for financial management, contracts, accountability and distribution. A big part of her time in the newsroom is devoted to talking to the magazine’s subscribers, paying attention to their needs, coming up with solutions and ideas to improve their experience as readers and as part of the family that DoR has created in time. 

Last year, in December, she enrolled in the CreativeMornings Bucharest team because it fit her desire to learn and know people better. A former employer once told her “Anuca, I don’t want stories, I want solutions”. But Anuca knows now that solutions are part of the story. “People need to have contact with others’ life experience. Listening to people speak about their own learning process, about their life and difficulties, you begin to internalise their experience and you realise that everyone has their own bumps while doing something they love.”

Ioana Calen has a theoretical background, having graduated Philosophy with a thesis about new models for knowledge and innovation production based on emerging technologies. She has covered, as a journalist for Cotidianul, Capital, Harper’s Bazaar, Vice and many others, subjects on contemporary culture and technology, art and lifestyle. Her passion for technology emerges from the theoretical side, her main objective being the understanding of technological (or generated by technology)  phenomena and the way they configure not only our culture, but also our lifestyle, biology and consciousness.

Modulab is an art, design and technology lab that she has founded together with her partner, Paul Popescu, who is a trans-media artist, hardware hacker and innovator. They now coordinate a trans-disciplinary team made up by programmers, electrical engineers, designers and makers. Their projects mainly explore elasticity and expressiveness of technology but also the cultural trends behind it in commercial projects for advertising, Public Relations and events.

Check them out here: http://www.modulab.ro

Cristina Mazilu is 31 years old, and she started as a journalist. After two years of radio and five of cultural press, in the past seven years she has turned her passion for food into a full time job. In 2009 she opened the Mazilique.ro blog, in 2010 she became Editor of the BBC GoodFood Romania magazine and in March 2016 she launched Mazilique Studio - an open kitchen and cooking playground with a table large enough to gather around it other people passionate about food. 

She’s the happiest at farmers’ markets, and she believes that parsley, garlic and chilli are the Holy Trinity. And, if she could, she would be on the road all the time, chasing the next adventure.

All this time, she has not yet learned that you have to clean as you go (or how to make ”sarmale”), but she found out that for every problem there is always a solution.


A physical queer activist, Paul Dunca was born in 1983 in Bucharest where he still lives and works today. After graduating the National University of Drama and Film “I.L.Caragiale” (Choreography section) and studying Playwriting at U.N.A.T.C. Bucharest, he never said ‘NO’. That’s why his work is very eclectic and includes a very large diversity of expression: from waiting tables to his own MTV show, from community art and go-go dancing to performing at the Venice Biennale in the frame of the Romanian Pavilion, from articles in glossy magazines and roles in local movies to performing his work at the National Centre of Dance in Bucharest and showing it in the Judson Church, New York. All in all, he’s happy whenever he can be useful.

Photos: GSP.

Catalin is one of the most reputable sports and investigative journalists in Romania, winner of ten “journalist of the year” awards in the past 12 years.

He started working in media in early 1990 by founding, producing and distributing a student newspaper. Fast-forward twenty-five years, and Catalin became the general manager and editor-in-chief of one of the best Romanian sports news outlet: Gazeta Sporturilor - GSP.RO 

In the past decade he was the author along his colleagues of several high profile journalistic investigations, exposing corruption either in Romanian football clubs or of high officials in key governmental institutions.

His 2009 investigative piece that lead to the stepping down and later prosecution of the Minister of Youth and Sport, Monica Iacob - Ridzi, was mentioned in the 2009 European Commission’s Report on Romania and the USA’s State Department Report on Romania. 

Another journalistic investigation started in 2013 with colleague Mirela Neag regarding the illegal financing of the Bute Gala lead to the formal prosecution in early 2015 of several people, including the former Minister of Tourism, Elena Udrea. The same investigation won a prestigious award at the 2014 International News Media Association Awards for Best Use of An Event to Build a News Brand.


Second photo by Cornel Moșneag.

Tara Skurtu is a Boston-based poet and translator currently living in Romania, where she’s a Fulbright lecturer in creative writing at Transilvania University of Brașov. In the U.S., she’s a lecturer at Boston University, and she teaches English composition to incarcerated college students through BU’s Prison Education Program.

Tara believes poetry has a logic of memory and uses language to express something that cannot possibly be said in words. The creative process, she thinks, is much like traveling through language—we are, in a sense, landing in different countries, trying  sentence after sentence to see how much sense we might make.

In 2013 Tara received a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry and spent the fall in Romania, beginning to learn the language of her paternal great-grandparents. Last year she began translating contemporary Romanian poetry into English. 

The recipient of two Academy of American Poets prizes, Tara’s recent poems appear or are forthcoming in The Kenyon ReviewPlume, Poetry Review, and Poetry Wales. Romanian translations appear in SUBCAPITOL, Zonă Noua, and two editions of Poets in Transylvania, among others. The Romanian translation of her debut book, The Amoeba Game—a collection of poems inspired by childhood and family, illness and healing, and the limitations of language and love—is forthcoming.