Stories Lived

90% Luck and a Lot of Work

This is about the life of Mihai Grunfeld. He was born in Romania in 1949. Trying to escape from communism and dreaming of a better life, he first escaped to Czechoslovakia at the age of eighteen. From there he went to Austria. That’s when he started to travel to different countries, trying to find himself. After Austria, he went to several countries such as Israel, Italy, Sweden, and Canada. In Canada, he attended the University of Toronto, where he got his first degree in Spanish and French. From there, he fell in love with the Spanish language. He started to read novels about South America, the way that life in South America was described seemed “right” to him. He went down to South America, to see if life was described the way it was in the novels he read, and it turns out that life was, in fact, right. He discovered happiness in a culture to which he was not native to. At that moment, it was clear to him that he would keep learning Spanish and the Latin American culture. He was able to enroll himself into a postgraduate school called Instituto Caro y Cuervo in Colombia. After that, he was able to enroll himself in a masters program at the University of Michigan, where he was a teaching assistant. He also spent 7 years getting a PhD in Latin American culture. Now he currently teaches Spanish, Latin American Culture and Literature at Vassar College. At age 50, he started writing, he has published an autobiography, he has written a couple of novels (not yet published), and wrote a novel that turned into a play that was produced in New York City off-Broadway which was sold out.


About the Filmmaker
Submitted by Adriana Cardona

Adriana Cardona never thought she would be a filmmaker until recently. She loved photography so she knew she loved cameras. It was until the spring of 2016 in which she heard that Spark Media Project, a non-profit in Poughkeepsie, NY, was offering programs in filmmaking. She was able to be in several of Spark Media Project’s programs and has learned a lot of the many aspects of filmmaking. Now, she want to keep producing videos that show what she thinks is important in today’s society. Proud of her culture and heritage, Adriana wants to show to others the importance and beauty of her culture.