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Zena Wood

Zena Wood

Guest : Zena Wood

Zena Wood. is currently living and working as a producer, director, first assistant
director and performer in New York City.
Zena started in the acting industry in Cape Town and has been working in New York
City for 5 years now. She did her BA at Stellenbosch University and then a film course in
the US. She graduated from New York Film Academy in 2014. She is currently a
freelancer in production in New York.
MORE ABOUT ZENA:
Zena Wood is a producer, writer, 1st Assistant Director, production coordinator and
performer living in New York City.
30 years old actress and producer, born-and-bred in Kuilsriver who pursued her dream
to work in the USA.
Zena graduated from Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town in 2012, and completed
her film qualification at New York Film Academy in 2015.
She began producing political documentaries and mockumentaries in her home
country, South Africa, and moved to the US to continue producing and performing.
She has since produced and AD’ed on films such as Blacklight, I Heart Jenny and Life
After her which was selected to screen at Festival de Cannes 2017.
She has also co-ordinated for many Fortune 500 companies.
In her free time, she enjoys yoga, competing in Latin dancing championships, writing for
comedy and acting or directing in the musical theater world whenever she can. (She
competes regularly in the US in various dance championships).
She recently got accepted into Nomad Academy 2019. A program aimed at young self
starters wanting to create meaningful careers. 30 professionals were chosen from
applications all over the world.
Reasons why Zena would make for a great interview:
Chat about her dream to make it in the US as an actress and producer.
How easy/difficult it is to achieve that dream as a non-US citizen.
What her 2019 plans are.
Upcoming productions and films she's working on.
Advice to any young people wanting to achieve success abroad.
How she has adapted to working in the US Film and TV industry.
What she deems important for a meaningful career.



More episodes from Tonight With Lester Podcast

Beautiful News

16 October 2019 9:57 PM

Guest : Riyaad Avontuur

Riyaad Avontuur has been clean for 390 days and counting. But it’s been a long journey
to get here. When he got involved with the wrong crowd and started using drugs, life
became increasingly difficult. Avontuur spent 10 years in and out of rehabs and missed
out on being there for his family. Recovery isn’t instant. This time, Avontuur needed to
fill the days of sobriety with positive intent. He took up running alongside his daughter –
an activity that’s given both Avontuur and his community in Bonteheuwel a head start to
success.
Every time Avontuur and his daughter ventured out for a sprint, children would
approach them: "Uncle, can we come run with you?" he recalls them asking. Avontuur
realised the kids needed to occupy themselves and keep away from negative
influences. “There's so much more in my community beyond drugs and crime,” he says.
By approaching principals in nearby schools, Avontuur gathered learners who were
interested in athletics and eager to have someone coach them. Earlier this year, he
began the Bonteheuwel Central Athletic Club with just two members. It’s now grown to
over 60 children chasing their purpose.
Running the club has guided Avontuur away from his old vices, and towards a position
of leadership. His past has shown him how easy it is to veer off track. But it’s also taught
him it’s possible to move on, no matter where you come from. “I finally feel that I can
contribute something,” he says. Avontuur is turning each step of his recovery into great
strides, both for himself and the kids of Bonteheuwel.

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BBC 100 women of 2019

16 October 2019 9:50 PM

Guest : Lucinda Evans

Our very own Lucinda Evans was one of the amazing women honoured by the BBC, they
describe her as as a voice for women. who leads nationwide marches, rallying thousands
of women in the streets of Cape Town, challenging government to translate policy into
action.

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Shnit Film Festival

16 October 2019 9:36 PM

Guest : Sean Drummond | Festival Organisor

The Shnit Short Film festival is an eleven-day event with a unique concept – a
transnational film festival simultaneously taking place in multiple cities on five
continents worldwide, running from the 17th to the 28th of 17-28 October in venues in
and around Cape Town.

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Lisa Joshua Sonn on Trauma

16 October 2019 9:06 PM

Guest : Lisa Joshua Sonn |

 You are not what happened to you :

I believe we underestimate the impact on trauma on our lives. Trauma is not about
language. It is about feelings, memories, messages, fears, doubts, anxiety, vulnerability
and so many common triggers.
Mostly triggers are everyday things: a banging door, a setting sun, footsteps towards
your bedroom, quick walking behind you, the sound of thuds behind a closed door,
someone shouting, a stare, a look, the sound of a belt or zip being undone, the rustle of
leaves in a bush as you walk by, the list of triggers is endless.
They talk about the fight or flight response to trauma, but what about freeze? When we
are traumatised we choose one of these options, some people take the risk and the
courage to fight back and others take the personal safety option of fleeing the situation.
There are countless examples in our lives where people flee, there are children who
choose to live in the streets, there are adult children who choose to move to other
countries, or there are those who as soon as they have the means will terminate toxic
relationships which cause them trauma.
There is no wrong way to deal with trauma as in my opinion, we are individuals born to
connect with other people and have relationships. Babies yearn for a parents’ touch,
toddlers are always seeking attention and acknowledgement. No man or woman is an
island and can possibly operate in isolation from the rest of the world. Many try, even
though it is unnatural. We need human contact, support, acknowledgement and love.
As people we have become so accustomed to masking hurt, pain and trauma. We have
put on pretences to ensure we navigate through the challenges, drawing as little
attention to ourselves as possible. The other options include people living in the misery
of the trauma and not really knowing what their options are. They become their trauma
as opposed to counting the trauma as something or many things that happened to them.
They are not what happened to them, it is part of their lives and their history. There are
various processes we can embark on to not take our trauma into our futures. We must
be willing to take a look and to change how we see it. Trauma is part of life. Some get
more than others; few escape this life without trauma.
Eventually we all have choices to make and it is the quality of our relationships that
inform the actions we take. When we feel supported and heard, it is easier to share life
challenges with professional therapists, close friends or members of your family. I have
discovered that sharing with people I trusted helped me to heal and to move on from
the events. It isn’t an easy process and it is a lot more complex and difficult until you
choose to acknowledge that you have been hurt by someone or others whom you loved,
trusted or had an unfortunate traumatic engagement.
A reality for me is that the world is moving so fast, everyone has a “get on with it! get
over it!" attitude. These approaches have not worked ever. Until you work on healing
and being in recovery from trauma, it will not leave your thoughts, your actions and
reactions in the world.
We need to know our traumas, we will do ourselves a service acknowledging what
happened and what we made it mean. Sometimes, what happened is so traumatic that
we make it mean something about ourselves: I am weak, I am not enough, I am not
worthy, I won’t amount to anything, it is me not them. The other outcomes of trauma are
that the person who is traumatised has no other role model but to cause trauma
through the way they show up in the world. There is a truth which teaches us that hurt
people hurt people. Nobody is born to be a bully or to cause pain and problems with
their being. We are all formed by our experiences and what we witness as normal.
For me, trauma always goes with violence physical or silent violence, every type of
abuse where one person or group dominates another. It is always interesting for me to
hear the stories of some people who appear to have the most successful, enviable lives
or jobs and when we actually listen to where they come from, many made a decision
when they were young to leave a legacy, to prove their worth or to never be poor or
vulnerable again.
Sometimes the trauma we experience runs our lives, we become like machines. We lose
our empathy, we are defensive, we are doubtful or suspicious. It really is such a waste
that more of us don’t take the time to show each other love, empathy and
understanding. A problem halved is a problem shared. Not everyone who wants to know
our stories are comforters, some are just curious busy bodies but we get to choose how
and whom we trust. It is such a personal process; it takes small steps or big audacious
ones. We get to choose.
There is an inspirational story about two brothers who grew up in a violent, abusive
home. The one became a loving family man and the other became a violent abusive
adult. When asked how and why, both of their responses were: "When you come out of a
home like that, what are your choices!?"
As a society many live with wounds and traumas, we need to be kinder to ourselves and
to others. It is actually pretty hard to be kind to ourselves and being kind to others is a
lot more rewarding than living alongside, and not with, the groups you associate with.

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No Dagga growing for locals

16 October 2019 8:49 PM

Guests : Christopher Clark is a freelance journalist and filmmaker
               Ricky Stone | Attorney and cannabis activist

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Older women preying on young boys

15 October 2019 9:59 PM

Guest : David Bruce | writer and researcher specialising in the field of policing, criminal                                           justice, violence and crime.
            Tony Lawrence | from the the Child Protection Collaborative

According to reports more than 1 boy was involved in sexual relations with a Bishops
teacher, school principal Guy Pearson said in a statement on that several boys were
involved over a number of years.
The teacher left school when the story broke and her father David Mallet has issued a
statement in connection with the incident.
It's also been reported that the boy tried to break off the relationship but the teacher
refused, the school has also called on other pupils that have information to come
forward.

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Cars with Melinda Ferguson

15 October 2019 9:32 PM

Guest : Melinda Ferguson

Mazda CX 3

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Dr Paulo de Valdoleiros

15 October 2019 9:05 PM

Guest : Dr Paulo de Valdoleiros

Doctor Paulo de Valdoleiros doesn’t just attend to health problems. He restores people’s
faith in humanity. For many, the high cost of medical services derails their treatment.
But at De Valdoleiros’ clinic in Bloemfontein, patients are welcome to pay as much as
they can afford. This approach often prompts people to open up about their financial
hardships. De Valdoleiros listens earnestly, as they each echo his own background.
Though De Valdoleiros always yearned to be a doctor, his family didn’t have the funds
for his education. So he went straight to work, toiling in different careers for most of his
life. By the age of 45, De Valdoleiros couldn’t ignore his lifelong passion any longer. But
it wasn’t a simple endeavour. De Valdoleiros contacted every medical faculty in South
Africa, receiving the same response every time – his matric certificate was outdated. So
De Valdoleiros enrolled in a Bachelor of Science degree, proved that he could maintain
high results, and was finally selected to study Medicine. He graduated one month
before turning 51.
In June 2019, De Valdoleiros opened his clinic with the intention to place humanity
before business. De Valdoleiros’ novel practice has attracted attention throughout
South Africa, and he’s a regular guest on a televised health show. Despite his fame, De
Valdoleiros remains focused on helping others. No matter what patients pay, he’s
always giving more. The gift of kindness is priceless.

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Beautiful News

14 October 2019 10:01 PM

Guests : Joy Cronje 
              Judy Strickland
              Joshua Swarts

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Apartheid Era Spies

14 October 2019 9:49 PM

Guests : Jonathon Ancer
               Glenn Bowes

The author of Spy : Uncovering Craig Williamson, Jonathon Ancer's new book "Betrayal : The Secret Lives of Apartheid Spies"  looks at the roles of spies in the Apartheid era, from a navy super spy working for Mother Russia to the young students that were approached by security police to spy on activists at Tertiary institutions. 

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