A Note from Anna Carugati: Adapting to Change


Of late, I’ve been carefully contemplating a consequential decision, my role and my title here at World Screen. I’ve been the group editorial director for many years and previously the editor. For multiple reasons, I have recently asked that my title be changed to editor-at-large.

I will still be conducting interviews on stage at conferences and via Zoom, by phone or in person for World Screen—whether it’s print or digital editions, online newsletters or virtual festivals. What I have pulled back from for some time now is the day-to-day operation.

Diminishing the workload is particularly important to me now due to my mother’s health. She is 98 and lives in Italy. I am in New York City. I want to be able to hop on a plane whenever warranted.

While up till a couple of years ago, a 4’11” indefatigable spitfire of energy, determination and stubbornness, she has become more fragile with serious mobility issues due to a severely compromised hip. Still in complete control of her mental faculties, true to her spirit, she will not accept her limitations, and this has had a detrimental effect on her morale.

I owe her and my father, who passed away in 1997, my values and work ethic. They were both born in Italy. World War II robbed them of their late teen and early adult years. My father was drafted, taken prisoner by the Nazis and spent two years shuttled from one prison camp to the next. He managed to escape and unknowingly ran into American forces whose troops rescued him. After the war, my father followed his passion for painting and became a famous illustrator. My mother, a high school student in Milan, quit school during the day to get a job in a typing pool to help her family buy food during the war. Determined to finish her education, she attended night school, earned a degree as a special needs teacher and graduated top of her class.

I am so fortunate to have been blessed with such extraordinary parents. I grew up bilingual and bicultural. In addition to their love of art, music, history and literature, they passed on to me the significance and import of honesty, responsibility and reliability. I always hear my dad telling me, “You’re only as good as your last job.” And my mother, “Always do your best.”

I am equally lucky to have such consummate professionals as colleagues. Mansha Daswani, the associate publisher and editor-in-chief, is an accomplished journalist with a penchant for accuracy, an eye for detail, extensive HTML skills, a keen business sense and untiring dedication. Kristin Brzoznowski, the executive editor, is equally dedicated and talented.

As I redefine my sense of purpose going forward, I’ve been reflecting on my past and hope to have contributed meaningfully to our industry. I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many of the leading executives and creatives over the last three decades. Here is only a sampling: from Ted Turner, the visionary “Mouth from the South,” to Rupert Murdoch—whom I had first met in the ’80s when I was the translator at his first meeting with Silvio Berlusconi—to Sumner Redstone to the lovely Richard Parsons, who came out to the waiting area to personally escort me into his office. I have discussed the virtues of curiosity with John Hendricks, the enduring popularity of factual programming with David Zaslav, motivating people with Anne Sweeney, taking risks with Dana Walden and Gary Newman, the possibility of limitless video libraries with Brian Roberts, life after the Magic Kingdom with Michael Eisner, life after The Sopranos with Richard Plepler, Titanic’s budget with Peter Chernin, making Avatar with James Cameron, genre-shaping hit shows with Jon Feltheimer, producing high-quality branded programming with Jeffrey Bewkes, the value of linear channels with Gerhard Zeiler, disrupting television with Ted Sarandos, niche SVODs with Josh Sapan, balancing traditional linear channels and streaming platforms with Bob Bakish and the demands of global streamers with Marco Bassetti.

With talent, I’ve discussed living as expats with Claire Danes, overcoming personal trauma with Michael Sheen, that famous no-makeup scene with Viola Davis, how a role becomes advocacy with Mariska Hargitay and acting leads to philanthropy with Jennifer Lopez. I’ve swooned over Hugh Laurie and Damian Lewis, been charmed by Emilia Clarke and awestruck by Audra McDonald, Angela Bassett and, my hero, Christiane Amanpour. I’ve learned about the craft of filmmaking from Werner Herzog, researching complex issues from Ken Burns, depicting scientific explorations and life on Mars from Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, the creative process and entrepreneurship from Shonda Rhimes and Tyler Perry and spotting talent from Simon Cowell. I’ve debated the universality of making mistakes with Matt Groening, the quirks of the British upper class with Julian Fellowes, office politics with Matthew Weiner, the madness of American politics with Robert and Michelle King and America’s role in the world with Howard Gordon. I’ve learned about CIA consultants from Alex Gansa, Navy officers’ guidance from Gary Glasberg and Mark Harmon and ripped-from-the-headlines stories from Dick Wolf. I dove into travel and world cuisines with the late Anthony Bourdain, the delight of working with children with Gordon Ramsay and SpongeBob’s zany adventures under the sea with the late Stephen Hillenburg.

Space does not allow me to list everyone I have interviewed. I don’t mean to disparage anyone. I simply want to say how much I love hearing from executives and talent and learning about our industry. Even with a title change, I hope to continue contributing in a meaningful way and, heeding my mother, do my best.