Interactive Esperanto Theater and Film

Posted on 25. Mar, 2014 by in Uncategorized

Jennifer Bondelid

Jennifer Bondelid

Today I’m with Jennifer Bondelid, the head organizer of the up and coming Esperanto Performing Arts and Film Festival, taking place on Apr 11-20 on Whidbey Island (near Seattle). You might know her best for her work as Helena Bonvolo in the Esperanto soap opera Pasporto al la Tuta Mondo or her Esperanto voice acting in many of Christopher Mihm’s cult films. Now let’s find out more about this new event and its potential to change the face of the arts in the Esperanto world.

What is the Kino-Teatro-Festo? Why would one want to attend?

Thank you Chuck! I’ve been enjoying reading your blog for a while, it’s exciting to get to participate!

Yes, head organizer… founder… creative director/artistic director, chief cook and bottle-washer. Take your pick! But it’s hardly a one-woman operation… There’s a beautiful team of folks helping bring this to life, including Gary Grady, Chuck Mays, Derek Roff, George Baker, Amanda Higley Schmidt, and our wonderful intern Alex Engleberg and graphic designer Morgan Bondelid, as well as many others who have been helping behind the scenes including Richard and Bonnie Korp who are assisting with a lot of the local legwork with vendors and venues.

What was your inspiration for organizing KoToFesto? Are there any other events like it?

As far as inspiration, I’d point to KEF as an example, but since i haven’t been able to attend, I can’t claim them as the model. Kino-Teatro-Festivalo is an idea which came out of a two-fold desire… One, to bring an Esperanto event to my local community, which I feel are somehow Esperantists who just haven’t learned the language yet. What I mean is that the internal idea of brotherhood across any boundaries is already second nature to them, so why not introduce Esperanto! And two, even more importantly, to enrich to culture of Esperanto through film and the performing arts. In today’s technologically connected society, we have the potential to really reach people all over the world using the medium of Esperanto and the performing arts, what could be a better fit?


The step that seemed to grow from that idea is to bring people together in a workshop experience. To provide classes in Esperanto for beginners, and in the performing arts for those with an understanding of the language, and the opportunity to work together on creative projects brought by the participants and by the team. We will be working with the participants on building skills and putting those skills to use creating new short films and a performance of the new works created during the workshop, whether theatre, music, or dance. Kino-Teatro-Festivalo 2014 is combining with Nord-Okcidenta Regiona Esperanto-Kunveno 2014, which is a wonderful opportunity for both organizations, as KTF will be providing entertainment for the NOREKanoj, and NOREK will be providing an audience for the workshop participants.

Are there anything else noteworthy taking place during the festival?

A juried film festival is also a key part of the KoToFesto with the goal of encouraging new works in Esperanto. We encourage everyone to submit their films to the festival, there is no fee to enter for jury selection, but for those filmmakers who wish to enter for cash prizes (and anyone who wishes to support the festival,) there is an option to enter $10, half going to the filmmaker’s prize pool and half supporting the festival.

Through the wonderful support of the local community, we have been able to keep costs to participants very low, the early-signup fee for the entire workshop is $100. Visit the KoToFesto website for more details including particularly affordable lodging information for early sign-ups, and “like” our Facebook page ‘Kinoteatrofestivalo’ to get the very latest updates. The early-bird fee is only until March 28th, so register soon! Send your questions and ideas to us at

Well, I wish you the greatest success and you’ll have to keep us informed with how it went and what gets produced there!

Meet me at the British Esperanto Conference!

Posted on 11. Feb, 2014 by in Uncategorized

I must say I’m honored to be chosen as the keynote speaker at the British Esperanto Conference in Sheffield, England this year! While I’ve been to my share of interesting and boring Esperanto meetings in England, I’m really excited about this one, because one of the organizers is a good friend of mine, Tim Owen… and when he organizes something, he doesn’t fool around!

You can expect an interesting program with some great speakers like Renato Corsetti (former president of UEA), Anna Lowenstein (author), Paul Gubbins (editor of Monato), among others. The program isn’t public yet, but I can at least give you a sneak peak at my lecture topics:


De kie venas Vikipedio? Kia ĝi estis komence? Lernu pli pri la
historio de la multlingva Vikipedio kaj la rolo de Esperanto en la
internacia evoluo de la tuta projekto.

Where does Wikipedia come from? What was it like in the beginning?
Learn more about the history of the multilingual Wikipedia and
Esperanto’s role in the international development of the whole
project. See my blog series on this topic starting with Finding the Esperanto Wikipedia.

OUYA: revolucia ludkonzolo


Ĉi tiu nova TV-ludkonzolo gajnis 8,5 miliono da usonaj dolaroj per
amasdonacado de ĝia Kickstarter-kampanjo pasintjare. Kelkaj nomas ĝin ludrevolucio… kial?

This new TV game console gained US$8.5 million through its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter last year. Some are calling it a games revolution… why? For more details, see Esperanto: the second language in OUYA.

Urba Semajnfino: Esperanto-evento por nordamerikanoj

Serĉante manieron apliki la sukcesojn de la eŭropa Eo-movado, mi
provis adapti al la kondiĉoj de usonaj esperantistoj. La Urba
Semajnfino estas evento, kiun ĉiu povas organizi en ajna nordamerika urbo.

Looking for a way to apply the success of the European Esperanto movement, I tried to adapt to the conditions of American Esperanto speakers. The Urba Semajnfino is an event, which anyone can organize in any North American city. You can read more about a Fun Esperanto Weekend in Harrisburg.


A grand room at Brodsworth

A grand room at Brodsworth

Afterwards, we are joining the traditional group meal, this time at Platillos, a tapas bar nearby. There will also be a one-day postkongreso to a stately home called Brodsworth Hall, which to my American eyes just looks incredible!

So, I hope you’ll choose to join us for a splendid time in Sheffield… and I look forward to meeting you there!

Author interview: Trevor Steele

Posted on 03. Feb, 2014 by in Interview, Literature

Trevor Steele

Today, I’m happy to have a chat with Trevor Steele, a famous Esperanto author from Australia. He had his first success with his novel Sed nur fragmento in 1987. His works are heavily influenced by his travels in Germany and Eastern Europe. In 2002, he served two years as the General Director of the Universal Esperanto Association. As of 2010, he joined the Akademio de Esperanto. So, on to the interview.

It’s quite impressive to see according to your official website that you’ve published books not only in Esperanto, but also in English and French! How did the experience differ in each language? In which language was your first book?

All of my books but one were first written in Esperanto and later I translated them into English. But these days I write parallel versions, always a chapter in Esperanto, then the English version. I say “version,” because I feel free to vary the text if I think it sounds better to do so. After each chapter I read the work to my wife Katja, whose first languages, Hungarian and Slovak, give her a different linguistic taste from mine. Her criticisms are often useful.

The experience of actually getting the books published is a very different story. I was lucky in that my first novel in Esperanto, Sed nur fragmento (the English version is called Fatal Empires) immediately established me as a name. I could probably offer my manuscripts to any publishing house in the Esperanto world and have them accepted.

But in English I had to submit myself to the humiliation of sending manuscripts to many publishers and receiving the same bland replies that betray the fact that nobody has actually read the work. I was also a victim of at least three scams – I’m pretty naïve!

Most publishers tell you they won’t touch manuscripts from unknown authors; you have to find an agent who “filters” for the publishers. But even finding an agent is difficult. I was lucky enough to find a reliable publishing house in Somerset, England called Mirador.

How did you come to the idea to publish in Esperanto? Were they translations or did you write originally in Esperanto?

Only one book of mine appeared originally in English: No Butterflies in Bergen-Belsen. The rest, as I said, were original works in Esperanto. Why did I choose the international language? That’s a long story, but to make it brief: I always wanted to write, but thought I had nothing new to say in English. But the fledgling literature of Esperanto has wide gaps for any new writer. Having gained recognition for my Esperanto books, I found I could add something to the enormous English literature as well.

For someone who wants to start reading your literature, where would you recommend that they start?

That’s hard to answer. It would depend on the interests of the reader. Most of my novels have a definite historical background: the colonial empires of the 19th century, Germany between the wars, Germany in 1968, Australia from 1939 on, Palestine in the first century (the Jesus novel Reluctant Messiah). There are a couple of collections of short stories with an Australian background (Remember and Forget and Australia felix – the latter not yet available in English). One book of mine is a series of travelogues involving many countries, Falantaj muroj, but mainly about the Soviet Union in its last year. It is sold out in Esperanto and not yet translated into English.

From what I remember, you once told me that even though you spoke fluent German, you would never feel confident writing in it, since it’s not your native language. So, to my surprise, I saw a French book among your bibliography. How did that come about?

The French book is a translation by a team of French Esperantists, so that’s no credit to me! I can write in German, and have done some original stories in that language. However, there is often a tiny doubt as to whether I have used exactly the right expression, so I have to check and check again, a wearisome process.

Also, I can’t forget that we first met in 2002 when you worked as the Director General of the Universal Esperanto Association and I was the World Esperanto Youth Organization’s full-time volunteer. What was it like working at UEA and what are you doing today?

Yes, in those days you were an ardent translator for the Esperanto version of Wikipedia, that I remember quite well. My time in Rotterdam is not one I look back upon with great nostalgia. After two years I had had enough, for various reasons. One reason was that I felt that as the director general in Rotterdam I was, paradoxically, not able to do much for Esperanto. When I was in Lithuania, for example, I taught the language to probably a thousand people, but in Rotterdam there was nothing doing in that regard. From afar it seems as if the director general is in a position of power, but I felt the opposite. And I am not fond of meetings, budgets, and other facets of administration, therefore not a very good manager.

On returning to Australia I went back to teaching German, then medieval and modern history at a Steiner school, but I’ve been retired for a couple of years owing to a breakdown in my health. However, I’m now fit again and launching another career as a writer in English – perhaps the hardest job of my life!

I wish you the best with your new career and thank you very much for the interview!