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Netflix: Shonda Rhimes: ‘I see myself not as one of TV’s most powerful women but as one of TV’s most powerful people’ | USA

In 2005, the world first fell in love with the television show Grey’s Anatomy. Seventeen years later, viewers are still closely following the private and professional lives of the staff at Seattle Grace Hospital. This was how Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the series, started her career in television. At one point, she was producing 70 episodes for free-to-air television a year, while her production company Shondaland has been responsible for hits such as Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. In 2017 she left ABC network, which is owned by Disney, to sign a five-year contract with the streaming platform Netflix. According to US media, the contract was worth more than $100 million (€87 million). In 2021, Netflix renewed the contract for another five years and gave her a juicy pay rise, with the current agreement estimated to be worth $150 million (€130 million).

Shondaland is the production company behind one of Netflix’s biggest successes, Bridgerton, whose second season comes out on March 25. On February 11, Shondaland’s new series Inventing Anna was also released. It is the first show Rhimes has created since Scandal in 2012. Inventing Anna follows the true story of Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin), who posed as a rich German heiress to win favor with New York’s elite and swindle businesses and individuals out of thousands of dollars. Delvey conned $275,000 out of luxury hotels, banks and multimillionaire friends – crimes that landed her in prison. She was released on bail in February 2021 and has had no involvement with the Netflix series. Rhimes talked to EL PAÍS about the new show and her work in television via a video call.

Question. Why did you choose Delvey’s story for your first series as a creator in a decade?

Answer. It came from such a compelling article written by Jessica Pressler [in New York Magazine in 2018] that I was just excited about it from the very moment I read it. You could feel the cinema within it, and the characters and the idea of these women was something I couldn’t get out of my mind.

Q. What was the most challenging part of telling the story of Inventing Anna?

A. It was a fascinating story because we were writing it as it was unfolding. Our writers’ room began while the trial was happening and then we had the pandemic to contend with. So a project that I think we started writing in 2018 didn’t complete filming until 2020 -2021. It took a long time to complete this project: to write something as it is unfolding and then to be stopped by a pandemic and then to have to pick it up again meant that we had a project that went for a long time. The meaning of where the world was changed while we were making it.

Trailer for ‘Inventing Anna’

Q. Ten years have passed since Scandal, the last series you created. Why so long?

A. It sounds like it’s been a lot of time, but you have to think about the fact that the TV shows I created go for a very long time. Scandal lasted for seven years. Grey’s Anatomy was still going. For me, it wasn’t about there being a long time between creating them, it was about having time to create more shows. And when we moved to Netflix, which was really an exciting move for us, the first thing that I did after putting Scandal to bed was focus on what I really knew I wanted to be our first project , which was Bridgerton.

Q. Now that you have developed two shows for Netflix, what do you see as the difference between producing a series for traditional network television and for a streaming platform?

A. I’m enjoying the collaboration that Netflix provides a lot. There was a certain kind of show that you could produce for network television that follows a certain kind of rule. With network television, you are working for a corporation. And with Netflix, you’re working with what almost feels like a start-up. And a start-up has a very ‘can-do’ mentality. There is a great sense of enthusiasm for telling stories and telling new kinds of stories and for being versatile, which I’ve really enjoyed.

Q. Your deal with Netflix was announced nearly five years ago. Bridgerton was released three years later and now your second production for the platform, Inventing Anna, has arrived. It appears you like to take your time to create and develop TV shows, at least in comparison to other producers and creators…

A. I did take my time. I like to do a good job. My goal wasn’t to rush and just throw things out there on the screen. We wanted to get it right and we wanted to make shows that we were really proud of. I’m not saying that other people aren’t doing the same thing at a faster pace, but we were doing it at our own pace.

A scene from the series 'Grey's Anatomy.'
A scene from the series ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’

Q. What do you look for in a story as a producer?

A. I always look for a story that I want to watch. That’s the best barometer I have for whether or not a show is going to be good. Do I want to watch it? Betsy Beers, my producing partner, and I, we’ve always worked from that theory that we make stories that we want to watch. Bridgerton was something we wanted to watch really badly. Inventing Anna is something I knew we wanted to watch.

Q. You are considered one of the most powerful women in television. Does this power weigh on you?

A. Well, I don’t consider myself one of the most powerful women in television, I consider myself one of the most powerful people in television. Because I don’t think there is a difference in how powerful women are and how powerful men are. And I don’t think it weighs on my life at all. It’s my job. I’m lucky that I have this as my job.

Q. I’m sorry for how I phrased my previous question, you’re right. You have been asked a lot about the experience of being a Black woman in the television industry, which is dominated by white men. Do you think you have paved a way for others?

A. I don’t know, I hope that the doors have opened and that there is plenty of room for everybody to be making stories and telling stories. I think it’s very clear that the more people telling stories and the more voices that are telling stories, the better television is doing and the more people are interested in watching those stories. Nobody wants to watch the same kinds of stories all the time.

Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in a scene from season two of 'Bridgerton'
Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey in a scene from season two of ‘Bridgerton’LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX (LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX)

Q. What decisions are you most proud of in your career?

A. I think I am just most proud of being a writer. I think at heart that is what I am, a writer. I’m a producer, there are other jobs that I do, but in my heart, I am always just going to be a writer.

Q. What has Grey’s Anatomy meant for your career? And what lessons have you learned from the show that you have applied to your other creations?

A. I would say that I learned everything from Grey’s Anatomy. I had never worked in television before. Creating Grey’s Anatomy was my first job in television so I learned how to make television by making Grey’s Anatomy. I learned how to run a television show by working on Grey’s Anatomy. I learned everything that I know about TV from Grey’s Anatomy. It amazes me that it is still on the air and it’s still running and it’s still a top show for the network and that fans are still responding to it and that a new generation is still discovering it. Netflix makes it possible for new generations of fans to discover that show on a daily basis, which is so amazing to me. I think we’re on our second generation of fans. We have writers in our writers’ room in Grey’s Anatomy who grew up watching that show. That show will always be incredibly special to me, because it taught me how to do this job.

Q. What do you think is the key to the success of your shows?

A. I have no idea, I really don’t. I can’t begin to tell you why other people like the shows. I’m thrilled that they do. I hope it’s because we tell stories honestly and that we create characters that feel real and are living authentic lives in really complicated situations that make you feel compelled to watch. But I don’t spend my time thinking about why they watch because then I would get worried because I don’t know if there is a formula. I’m just really glad that they do watch.

Q. You are often asked about your success. But have you experienced failure? And if so, what did you learn from it?

A. What’s been really interesting for me is that I’ve been raised to not look at failure as failure. Or to look at it like it’s fine to fail. Failures are simply another way of learning something. I think our biggest problem is when we look at failures as some kind of devastation or some sort of horrible moment. I think you can succeed in some things and you can fail in others and that’s absolutely okay. Those failures are ways of teaching you things and giving you lessons for how to be better and to keep you humble. Nobody’s perfect. And to expect yourself to be is a dangerous road to go down.

Q. Your shows are sometimes referred to as a “guilty pleasure.” What do you think of this concept?

A. I think there is nothing guilty about pleasure. I always find that phrase slightly insulting because it suggests that you shouldn’t be watching them. Our shows are highly compelling, lots of people watch them. I don’t know why you should feel guilty for watching something and I don’t know why pleasure should make you feel guilty. It’s a phrase that people like to use, I haven’t figured it out yet.

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The end of the world, as written by women, has neither zombies nor asteroids | Culture

The world ends and no gigantic, unpredictable asteroid has fallen. Neither have armies of zombies taken the cities. The world ends and it happens as we knew it would. Lakes and marshlands dry up, rivers are polluted, oceans boil; the air is unbreathable, plants and animals are dying, heat has risen to extremes, there is extreme rainfall, the winds are extremely strong. Then, fights over water, massive migrations, chaos. In the dystopias written by women what takes place is reality. At the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), authors like Agustina Bazterrica, María Ferencuhová and Elisa Díaz Castelo present their works examining climate crisis, a subject also addressed by others such as Gabriela Jáuregui and Margaret Atwood.

The atmosphere is so oppressive it suffocates. Dozens of women survive trapped in a world where butterflies burn, where there are no more mammals and children don’t know what a tiger is, where all the seasons happen in a single week and stepping outside means having your skin break out, being smothered. The state disappeared long ago, incapable of containing the failure. Violence has taken advantage and is now everywhere.

Agustina Bazterrica’s protagonist in Las indignas [The unworthy] has no name. She was born years after they had to close the schools. Her mother died when they couldn’t go out to look for water or food after a brutal flood; the child survived and became a drifter. After years of wandering through devastated lands, she is on the brink of fainting when she arrives at the walls of a house, run by a religious cult, which functions as refuge and hell. Bazterrica’s world is cruel, but that’s because the world is cruel.

Agustina Bazterrica
Agustina Bazterrica in Buenos Aires.Silvina Frydlewsky

“There are people living their own dystopia at this very moment. Women in clandestine brothels being raped dozens of times a day. That is a dystopia. People who live on garbage. That’s another,” says the Argentinian writer, who uses her art history training, her visit to a monastery in Cusco, her exhaustive reading of the Bible and her ordeal at a convent as the seed for a novel where liberation does not seem to exist. With violent scenes of torture and women being sacrificed, Bazterrica again nods to reality: she took them straight out of documents detailing what the Argentine dictatorship did to kidnapped women, and the Inquisition to witches.

Violence against women does not end when the world ends. Margaret Atwood has written about this in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments. “All it takes is a political, economic or religious crisis to bring women’s rights back into question,” Bazterrica says, recalling a prediction made by Simone de Beauvoir.

This view becomes even more compelling in the face of the U.N.’s persistent warning: women will suffer most from the planet’s crisis. They already make up 80% of all climate-displaced people. “Longer displacements increase exposure to violence outside the home,” says the international organization. The Geneva Centre for Security Policy has additionally found that gender-based violence soars in the aftermath of climate catastrophes. Practices like child marriage also increase. Families in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya, for example, forcibly marry off their daughters to make up for what has been lost in a drought, storm, or through repeat flooding.

In Feral (2022), Mexican writer Gabriela Jáuregui found a way out for women in a world that has withered after seven centuries. “Outside, it still rains blood. Outside, the palm trees die, the pines, the oceans spit out garbage and their monsters, the lakes dry, fill with poison,” goes her description of Mexico. And the women? “We hid ourselves, trembling with fear, with rage, anger, bristling, frazzled. To survive we vibrated so low we were subterranean. We sunk into foreign debris to save the world with each scream.” The women crawled into the earth, created caves, tunnels and burrows, endured without water, began to run on all fours, their long nails became claws. And so they survived, ready to keep a record of what happened. “While above everything burns, that which resists under the earth keeps digging until a possibility of future is built in the midst of catastrophe.”

Gabriela Jauregui
Writer Gabriela Jáuregui in Mexico City, January 18, 2023.Hector Guerrero

Poetry in the face of disaster foretold

In 2011, Slovakian poet María Ferencuhová came across photographs of the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Fukushima. She felt the images screamed “emergency” and wound up writing Threatened Species. “But in 2012, it was too early to raise one’s voice over planetary emergency in Slovakia,” she says in an event at FIL Guadalajara, “they thought poetry shouldn’t deal with such issues.” But she didn’t let go.

Years later she published Černozem [Black Earth], in which she explores a universe on the verge of collapse. “With a single exhalation / I will scatter bowls / dishes jugs vinegar tablecloths / dusty flowers books / towels and mattresses / I will break dirty windows / I will scour the earth / I will tear you up by your roots / I will water you with saliva / and let you dry,” she writes in the poem Drought. “We are creating stories about a vanishing world, but we cannot save the world with literature,” says the poet and film critic, who has turned poetry into the only way of channeling the urgency of rescue.

Elisa Díaz Sotelo doesn’t think she has figured it out. “I worry nearly every day about climate change, the sixth extinction in which we are immersed and even so, it is one of those subjects that I have not yet been able to deal with from the poetic,” says the Mexican, who approaches the matter indirectly in her latest collection of poems Planetas inhabitables [Inhabitable planets]. “I arrived at the red continent, where April has another name and one must dig in the earth so that the sun rises and it is daytime. There, the few bees that remain in the world and the synonym of the first words were still alive.”

Elisa Díaz Castelo
Elisa Díaz Castelo on November 26 in Guadalajara.Hector Guerrero

Faced with this prospect, German creator Judith Schalansky — who has an asteroid named for her and is a collaborator at Oslo’s Future Library, an art project that has been worked on for 100 years and for which she delivered a “secret manuscript” addressed to whatever is left — proposes: “Our stories are wrong. We don’t need to build a hero who saves everything, but instead look for a collaborative project, a solution into which we all fit.” At the same fair, on another day, in another place, Díaz Sotelo offers her own remedy: “Literature is a habitable planet in a world that is less and less habitable. Even if we don’t use it as an escape, it is a way to face the crisis, to start working on it. These are just small worlds where one can stay and feel safe, at least for a while.”

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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
YouTube Channel

Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

Air France – Deals & Destinations

Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
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The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

A faded felt bicorne hat worn by Napoleon Bonaparte sold for $2.1 million at an auction on of the French emperor’s belongings.

Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!

The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.

The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction

But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.

‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).

While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.

The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.

The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.

The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.

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