Author Archives: fordhampr

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AUSTRALIAN AUTHOR CAPTURES OUTBACK TALE OF BETRAYAL AND REDEMPTION IN 1ST NOVEL “SPLINTERED HEART”

Over the past several months of Covid isolation and lack of film or tv production activity (i.e. potential clients), I’ve had lots of spare time to explore websites and news feeds from my homeland, Australia, and getting more and more homesick in the process. Thanks to viewing some fabulous films and TV shows on Aussie streaming platforms as well as Amazon Prime/Acorn TV,  I discovered Down Under’s favourite leading man, Aaron Pedersen (pictured below), star of Mystery Road the movie (featured at the 2013 Toronto Int’l Film Fest) and the subsequent TV series of the same name (the second series is currently airing in Canada on Acorn TV, part of the Amazon Prime service).pedersenHaving binge-watched 2 of his previous tv shows Water Rats (1996-2001) and City Homicide (2007 to 2011) and the Mystery Road movie sequel, Goldstone, I admit I’ve developed a huge crush on this handsome indigenous Aussie actor, so I joined a fun Facebook group made up of his most devoted fans, one of whom, Linda Dowling, is an award-winning successful author. Linda’s first 2 novels are currently available via Amazon Books, and I’m thoroughly engrossed in her first one, Splintered Heart, which takes place during the 60’s, an era when I myself was growing up in the bush just outside of Perth in Western Australia. So many references resonated with me but you don’t have to be an Aussie to fully appreciate the story, the heroine of the tale or the heat and vast emptiness of the outback. Dowling writes with great descriptive flair – I can almost hear the mournful call of the crows and feel the exhausting heat of the sun as I turn each page.new coverThis first book in Linda’s Red Dust series is set in the 1960s – teenager Lisa O’Connor is growing up in a brutal family environment living in the outskirts of Sydney, Australia. Abused and forsaken by those she should have been able to trust, Lisa is sent away to the notorious Parramatta Girls Home for ‘reform’ (this was, in fact, a real place which has thankfully since closed). While captive there, she experiences  the depths of human depravity and sinks even further into despair. Luckily for Lisa, she’s rescued from this abhorrent life by her childless aunt who takes her to live at a remote sheep station (i.e. big farm in the middle of nowhere) in outback New South Wales. Lisa finds herself in a world that is different to anything she has known before, and she falls in love with the homestead, the harsh outback landscape and the Aboriginal culture. With the help of her aunt and uncle, two female Aboriginal elders and Billy, a very special young Aboriginal man, Lisa’s splintered heart and broken spirit begin to mend.  Lisa’s determination and desire to overcome her horrific beginnings tell a saga unlike any other – both horrifying and inspiring, this is a book you won’t be able to put down.Linda DowlingThe award-winning, #1 bestselling author (pictured above) grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. During her childhood, Linda spent most of her time in rural areas and has continued to enjoy life in areas with natural surroundings. Her own aunt, a wonderful horsewoman, taught her a great deal about horses, riding and the outback and it was during her vacations with her aunt that Linda herself fell in love with the vast outback plains and the culture of the local indigenous population, their stories and their unique but simple way of living.  In her professional life, Linda has established and managed four medico-legal firms, including her own. During the course of her career, she has been involved in reporting on coroner-centric matters and inquests. She has also worked with the NSW Police State Crime Command Centre and in various Royal Commissions where she was exposed to the worst of human nature; she has drawn upon her professional and personal experiences while writing her Red Dust novel series, but the stories are a work of fiction and do not depict any person, living or dead.

Linda has already received many positive reviews and kudos direct from the readers, including:

A compelling read. Prepare to laugh and cry, this book will truly evoke a powerhouse of emotions. Steeped in culture perseverance and the unbreakable spirit of a young girl in 1960’s Australia.  Mary

I absolutely loved this book – an easy read that was hard to put down. A disturbing revelation into the brutal experiences occurring in the girls’ home in the 60’s and then a warming and uplifting transition to life in the outback and an interesting insight into our indigenous people. Looking forward to the next chapter.  Sandra

Wow! This book was an intense read. The author writes about the harshness of family life in general that many people living in Australia grew up in the 60’s thru 80’s can relate to. While the storyline itself was heart wrenching and a lot darker than anything I have experienced in my life, it left me thinking about the events affecting those in the book and the racism experienced by Aboriginals long after I had finished the book.  International Amazon CustomerIBA Book Award Finalist (3)

Splintered Heart is available in soft-cover and Kindle versions on Amazon so why not buy yourself a great gift for Christmas – order Linda’s book now!

Dale Chihuly Fire Ruby Basket Set with Slate Lip Wraps, 2017 14 x 36 x 30"
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

TORONTO’S SANDRA AINSLEY GALLERY INTRODUCES DALE CHIHULY’s STUNNING NEW GLASS EXHIBITION OCT. 24

Back in 2016, I was thrilled to see the exquisite glass masterpieces of famed artist DALE CHIHULY at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto; I walked around gasping at each stunning, delicate piece, marveling at Chihuly’s skill and imagination. Huge colourful chandeliers & installations stood alongside elegant vases and festive orbs (see my pics below)…so much to see…but dare not touch! 20161227_140807 20161227_135446Four years later, I am once again thrilled to view the upcoming Chihuly exhibition at the famed Sandra Ainsley Gallery when I attend their virtual launch this coming Saturday afternoon, Oct. 24th. Here’s what I’ll be seeing (and you can, too, until January 24, 2021)

CHIHULY, an exhibition by world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly, marks the gallery’s seventh exhibition with the artist. It will feature a selection of work that represents the breadth of the artist’s career in the thirty years since he met Sandra Ainsley, including Aquamarine Icicle Chandelier and Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (pictured below), two new works created specifically for the Sandra Ainsley Gallery. For the  first time in Canada, CHIHULY will exhibit his Light Drawings—vibrant compositions on acrylic panels which are intensified by interior illumination.

Dale Chihuly Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (detail), 2020 © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Sea Green and Yellow Persian Installation (detail), 2020
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

This carefully curated exhibition will present pieces from the artist’s best-known series such as Baskets, which Chihuly started in 1977 as an experiment testing fire, gravity and centrifugal force; Chandeliers, reflective sculptures designed to mass and control colour on a grand scale; Persians, featured in many of Chihuly’s most dramatic and well-known installations; and Ikebana, assemblages of long stemmed flowers and leaves of glass set within large-scale vessels. Works from some of Chihuly’s most technically challenging series will also be included such as Jerusalem Cylinders, vessels adorned with large glass crystals which Chihuly created for his landmark exhibition Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem 2000, and Rotolo, dense coils of glass fused to a solid base that Chihuly developed in 2013.

CHIHULY will bring the viewer into the artist’s process and personal reflection through his Drawings (Works on Paper), Light Drawings, and the rarely shown Pilchuck Stumps. Drawings open a small window into the artistic process as Chihuly expresses his creative ideas on paper; Light Drawings are a reflection of Chihuly’s travels through Europe as a young man who marveled at the beauty of stained-glass windows and the power of natural light moving through them; and Pilchuck Stumps, glass vessels that were blown into wood and bark molds in 1992 and named for the Pilchuck Glass School which Chihuly co-founded in 1971.

Dale Chihuly Aqua Green Macchia with Russet Lip Wrap, 1981 7 x 11 x 7" © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Aqua Green Macchia with Russet Lip Wrap, 1981 7 x 11 x 7″
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

CHIHULY will open to the public with scheduled viewings due to anticipated public demand. Sandra Ainsley Gallery is following all the recommended Covid-19 protocols and restrictions. Follow the Sandra Ainsley Gallery website or social channels for the latest information. To schedule an opening day appointment or private viewing please contact Sandra Ainsley Gallery at 416-214-9490.

Sandra Ainsley Gallery is the only art gallery in Canada to represent Chihuly’s work. Visit sandraainsleygallery.com for the complete virtual exhibition. Lots of parking and easy to reach via TTC, I highly recommend an in-person visit to experience this master artist’s unique craft…just stand and look, take it all in and feel the emotions each artwork evokes.

Dale Chihuly Fire Ruby Basket Set with Slate Lip Wraps, 2017 14 x 36 x 30" © Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

Dale Chihuly Fire Ruby Basket Set with Slate Lip Wraps, 2017 14 x 36 x 30″
© Chihuly Studio. All Rights Reserved.

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VISITING THE PEN @ KINGSTON AND OTHER DAY TRIP FUN STUFF

Regardless of the overcast, rainy weather yesterday, I boarded the www.ShortTrips.ca bus bound for Kingston, Ontario – so nice to get out of the city and see the beautiful red and golden leaves along the 401 highway heading east from Toronto.

The first couple of hours were spent wandering around the historic downtown core…I hit the waterfront first while the sun was poking thru the clouds…20200930_115310I then headed to the town square behind city hall…they have lots of colourful chairs to relax in as well as tables and chairs for casual take-out dining and meeting up with friends – all safely socially distanced.20200930_115847 (2) 20200930_134003 (2)I spent the first hour shopping, dropping in on several charming boutiques and injecting some $$s into the local economy! I particularly enjoyed Amanda’s House of Elegance, Send in the Clowns and All Good Things where I discovered all manner of treasures not found back the city. Won’t post pics here as I have a few Christmas pressies for family and I know they read this blog. If you’re visiting Kingston, do stop into www.amandashouseofelegance.ca   www.sendintheclowns.ca   www.allgoodthingshomeshop.com

I discovered this laneway leading to the famous Chez Piggy (below) which was not open at the time20200930_124129 (2)…but I did find this awesome diner, Morrison’s, with its fabulous mid-century signage out front and super deelish food inside. Established in 1921, the restaurant has flourished and has been owned by the same family for the past 30yrs. I had a scrumptious BLT, French fries & gravy….yummmm20200930_133926 (2) 20200930_130048The restaurant is located directly behind the town hall so you can’t miss it. The historic building looked beautiful even with grey clouds above. I did manage to snap a quick pic out front with blue skies before the downpour.20200930_134221 (2)20200930_115023The old Kingston train station has been transformed into a tourist hub complete with a vintage engine – isn’t she lovely?20200930_134625Back on the bus and off to the Kingston Penitentiary – now closed (whew!) and a major tourist attraction. The grey walls and guard towers loomed over us, but the tour guides and staff offered a warm welcome.20200930_143550 (2) 20200930_144226(1) 20200930_144623 20200930_150332 (2)Although the 90-min tour was packed with historic facts and escapee trivia, it was quite depressing to think that men and women were incarcerated in such primitive conditions. I was, however, impressed with the beautifully crafted architecture and stonework done by the inmates themselves….just look at this flying staircase. 20200930_152538The prison finally closed on September 30th of 2013, fortunately after many improvements to the original 1835 prison.  Check out more at www.kingstonpentour.com20200930_160526 (3)As our bus headed back to Toronto, the heavens unloaded and our driver, Gord, did a brilliant job of navigating through rain so heavy, I don’t know how he saw the road. Thanks also to our bus hostess/guide, Anna Maria, who shared levity and smiles throughout the day-long trip. Everything on-board was COVID-safe; the interior was sanitized between stops and there was social distancing on-board with vacant rows separating us. Definitely recommend you check out www.ShortTrips.ca for upcoming day excursions as well as 2 and 3 day out of province tours, too.

 

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12YR OLD TORONTO SINGER HAS BRIGHT FUTURE!

What a wonderful surprise to discover local talent, esp. when it’s a 12yr old with great presence and a very supportive family. While enjoying a nice iced latte this past Sunday at Zaza’s coffee shop in Toronto’s Yorkville village, I watched as Chiara Petrozza set up her sound equipment with the help of her family and proceed to entertain the customers and passers-by with her mature tone and pitch-perfect voice.

I spoke with her mother, Silvia, who told me Chiara is now studying ukulele as well as continuing vocal lessons (which she’s studied for the past 6 years). The youngster from Vaughan is also learning songwriting and continues to record studio demos so she’s on her way with a laser-like focus on her future career. Having the guts to perform in front of strangers at that age is just wow, I mean WOW! She even tackled a Leonard Cohen classic which impressed everyone within earshot…here’s a brief taste:

You can follow Chiara on her Instagram account @chiara._p8  and if you’d like to catch her in person, she’ll be performing again at Zaza’s on Friday Sept. 11 around 6:30pm (Cumberland St, just E of Avenue Rd). Come watch/listen so you can tell people you knew her when….
Bravo, kid, keep challenging yourself and don’t let anyone distract you from your dreams. Keep performing anywhere and everywhere – you just never know who’s gonna see/hear you.Chiara 1

My new addiction….south-western style purses from COWGIRL BLING WESTERN BOUTIQUE!

Several weeks ago, I started seeing posts on Facebook from a Texas-based boutique featuring stunning (and very affordable) purses, totes and fashion accessories featuring hand-tooled leathers, fringes and the most exquisite south-western Native American woven fabric designs.  I watched online as business owner Hannah Leib presented her own QVC-like live showcase of a variety of purses and totes…and I was hooked! RaeHaving grown up with horses & ponies in Western Australia (at least that was as western as I could get as a kid), I’ve always wanted to be a cowgirl and each year when I visit Arizona, I get pretty close to my dream. Now, thanks to some inspired purchases from Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique, I can live the Annie Oakley life here in downtown Toronto via my fashion accessories.

I recently spoke with Hannah and asked her to share her story….

Congratulations on your new website, CowgirlBlingWestern.com, where anyone who loves south-western style can find gorgeous purses, totes, wallets and accessories. What inspired you to launch this fashion business?  Thank you! I was recruited to join the Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique a little over a month ago. The whole thing was brought about by happy circumstances, and I was just lucky enough to have met the right people and be available at the right time! The business has been exclusively an online boutique with sales being conducted through Facebook lives. We decided that a positive shift for the business would be to offer a website where customers could shop at their leisure or review a product that had been shown on the Facebook live. Wrangler Photo Shoot (2)How do you find and choose the purses you carry? Are they all American designed and made?  Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique has carried a variety of products, but we are currently focusing on western designed purses, wallets, clutches, etc. that are produced by the company, American Darling. Western fashion dates back to the early settlers who explored the southwestern United States. While we have modernized western elements, we are committed to providing high quality and affordable pieces all across North America.HarlowShimmerCodi WalletI understand you were a Rodeo Queen – for which State and what were your official duties?  I was honored to represent the Evergreen State as Miss Rodeo Washington 2019. State titleholders travel around the country and within their state to help educate the public and promote the sport of rodeo and western industries. When schools were in session it was not uncommon to have a presentation from a local titleholder, see a friendly queen doing a hospital visit, or greeting guests at westerns events. As a rodeo queen we wear many hats so to speak, but my favorite way to combine my passion for education and my love for rodeo was through my platform: #HatsAndHearts – Promoting Rodeo and Agriculture One Hat and One Heart at a Time. I was able to cultivate educational presentations, videos, and connections during my year as Miss Rodeo Washington that I took with me to the Miss Rodeo America stage last December in Las Vegas, NV. It was an honor to walk away as 1st Runner Up and open a new chapter in my life.MRW 19.Has that rodeo royalty honor inspired or heightened your fashion sense and your new business?   Oh my gosh, my style has totally changed! I never wore styles that were “out of the box” before, but that is all a thing of the past now. My favorite part about western fashion is that you really can’t make a mistake. There is so much texture in the patterns, products, and styles which offer more variety in the day to day that you simply cannot get from other fashion genres.KaylaTell us about your horses?  And have you sought out matching bags and saddle blankets for your customers?  I have three horses: Willis, Tater, and Moose. They are all different colors, sizes, and they all have different jobs however each horse’s personality is very distinct. I like to pick out a color that best suits a horse’s color and attitude, and it’s easy for that to carryover to helping my customers. Being able to help find products that best bring out their personal style and attitude is really the biggest perk! MRW 19You’re located in Texas – can Canadians purchase your bags and accessories? Absolutely! We’re able to ship internationally and our website offers shipping options so that customers from all over can choose their preferred shipping method.at the post office (2)Do you plan on expanding the brand, adding more items to the catalogue?  We’re definitely planning to expand the product selection! Our big focus in the coming months is to find unique western jewelry and fun graphic tees. We are open to suggestions and mainly want to provide the best customer experience we can!turquoise earringsHow can people follow you on social media?  The best way to see what’s new is to follow our Facebook page (Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique) and to follow us on Instagram. If you want to see what items we currently have in stock and ready to ship today just visit: www.cowgirlblingwestern.com

Thanks, Hannah, and I hope all my fashionista friends visit your website and find their own fabulous cowgirl bling!  This past week I purchased a few more items as Christmas pressies for friends and family and my own latest prized purse from Cowgirl Bling Western Boutique is this stunning orange design (below) which is perfect for brightening up a grey Toronto winter’s day.
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MEET KIT LANG: CO-WRITER/PRODUCER & STAR OF “BATTLE SCARS” FEATURE FILM COMING SOON TO A SCREENING PLATFORM NEAR YOU!

10+ years ago during the Toronto Int’l Film Festival, I met a young up-and-coming actor, Christopher “Kit” Lang, in the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel where I always set up shop during the festival meeting actors, filmmakers, the money men and media reps from around the world. I remember Kit’s enthusiasm and excitement for being part of the annual schmooze-fest and over the years since then, I’ve watched his career progress through shorts, tv appearances and now as star of a major feature film, Battle Scars.Kit blueThe handsome actor transforms himself to play the war-weary Michael Delucca, a Vietnam vet who’s trying to cope with PTSD amidst a troubled and violent civilian life – checkout the trailer on the website: www.BattleScarsthemovie.com  I had the pleasure of chatting with Kit who shared his thoughts on the film, and taking on co-writing and co-producing roles as well as acting.

Congratulations on your inspired performance as Mike DeLucca in Battle Scars – from what past experiences or influences did you draw on to portray DeLucca’s intense internal struggles?   Thank you so much. In short, for me, research was an absolute must. What do I know about being a combat veteran? I was fortunate to have our director, Sam, a combat veteran himself,  to guide me through that. In particular spending time with Veterans and visiting the Fort Hamilton Veteran’s Hospital was instrumental.Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 2_45_03 PMDid you and your fellow actors have to endure “boot camp” or any other bonding experience in order to make the battle scenes seem authentic? Ha ha…yes we did actually…of sorts. We were driven to upstate New York, led into the woods with very minimal gear (it rained!) and for four days we had to “survive”, build a shelter, go on mock patrols, and various training “war-like” scenarios, do a fire watch every night (taking turns staying awake and alert while the others slept) and so on. It was absolutely a great bonding experience. And it’s amazing how close we all got in such a short period of time.14054901_1079885625399702_8534525803781222453_nYour performance as the PTSD-afflicted Mike may trigger memories for real-life Vets in the audience – any advice how to be on guard when watching the film if a viewer suffers his own PTSD flashbacks or issues? Actually, no I don’t. But you raise an important point and question. I think PTSD is such a misunderstood, invisible disease that it’s not easy to fit neatly into a box. It’s very different for everybody, and I feel truly honored to be a part of telling this story and helping raise awareness of this mental health issue. That being said, the feedback we’ve received from Vets is that this film, if anything, is very therapeutic for them, so stick with it… But if anything was to trigger a PTSD attack, what I can say is having witnessed this myself and it working well: just pause the film, walk away and get some air, then come back to it when you’re ready.107036104_579583282951131_1585574476818428294_nYou also pulled off some sensitive, intimate romantic scenes in the film – what do you enjoy most as an actor, the challenges of a brutal shoot ‘em up scene or the love scenes…and why?  Thank you, I appreciate that. I think any actor will tell you that romantic scenes are the most challenging and difficult. Most of the time you’re having to work with someone you’ve never met before, complete strangers! And then you have to create this believable intimacy. It’s really, really difficult. But it also comes with the territory, just part of the job. I’ve been fortunate to work with fantastic actors and that makes the work so much easier. But action is actually much, much easier to perform and more fun, too! Haa haa14045765_1077570962297835_6578143147299403050_nYou’re also co-writer and co-producer on Battle Scars – what was the most difficult or challenging job and why?  There’s so much to unpack here, but in a sentence, I’d say as a writer: The most difficult part was really nailing the voice and message of PTSD. It took a lot of research and work, as it should, to figure out the best way we could embed it into the story.

As a producer: I’d say the most challenging job for me as a producer was simply producing, period. Shout out to every indie filmmaker out there. It’s a VERY difficult job. And you’re having to constantly troubleshoot. I remember one shoot day for instance – we unfortunately fell behind in our schedule and we were about to lose a whole scene, but we realized we had a second camera, so we decided we could split the crew into two units and get what we needed. Coming up with solutions, that’s the job. And it’s VERY hard to do non-stop, but well worth it! I think. You have to be crazy enough and love movies enough to do this.facebook_1593761671169_6684720952432404925What’s next for actor Kit or writer Kit?I’m working on an English/Spanish horror-romance film shot and set in Mexico. We were set to resume filming but we’re still waiting for Covid to subside down there, hopefully soon!

Thanks, Kit, for sharing your experiences and thoughts on portraying this troubled character. Due to Covid-19 cinema closures, the film will not be enjoying it’s originally planned theatrical release, however, Battle Scars is available for DVD sales from Walmart & Amazon as of July 21st (you can pre-order now via the film’s Facebook page – see link bottom of web home page) and will be available for online viewing/streaming August 4th, 2020.  THANKS FOR SUPPORTING INDIE FILM!

https://battlescarsthemovie.com/

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RIVETING VIETNAM WAR-ERA MOVIE DEALING WITH PTSD LAUNCHES ONLINE DURING COVID CINEMA SHUT-DOWNS.

I’m thrilled to welcome filmmakers SAMUEL GONZALEZ JR. and CHRISTOPHER “KIT” LANG to the Fordham PR client roster.  Their feature film BATTLE SCARS launches online via Amazon Prime July 21st with DVD sales orders already available from Walmart. The film will be available with wider online release starting August 4th, 2020 (Vudu, iTunes, Google, etc.).

As Covid-19 has forced cinemas to close or restrict audience numbers, filmmakers around the world (esp. indie filmmakers) have been forced to shelve projects or, like Sam and Chris, find other opportunities to screen their films. Thanks to the dedication of cast and crew, and the support of family and friends, the filmmakers have managed to bring Battle Scars into your home via multi-platform streaming outlets, delivering its message about the horrors of war and its ongoing human toll from PTSD.

Vietnam took everything he had…now he’s taking it all back!107046776_763218854485241_4205911393826522464_nVietnam war veteran, Michael Delucca (Christopher “Kit” Lang) suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and struggles to resist the dark memories of his frontline experiences shared with best friend Vinny (Arturo Castro) that haunt him. Estranged from the post-war everyday life around him, working a steady but low-paying job, and even with a supportive girlfriend Jane (Emily Trosclair) and the opportunity to reconnect with the son he never watched grow up, Michael sinks into a gritty underworld from which he may never return.

Written and directed by real-life decorated war veteran, Samuel Gonzalez Jr. (pictured below), Battle Scars depicts the insurmountable difficulties faced by thousands of soldiers after returning home with brutal authenticity.

gonzalez_picI had the opportunity of chatting with the director who shared his inspirations and on-set experiences with me….

Congratulations on bringing this story to the screen, Samuel. I gather you have first-hand experience being on the front lines in Iraq – did this inspire the story of Battle Scars and in what way?  All wars are different. And all wars are the same. My experience was different from the ones who fought in the jungle – as opposed to the large sandbox I ventured in to.  No, what inspired Battle Scars was being on the front lines of a war very much in our own backyards. Walking in New York City at night, I would see many veterans – every year growing in numbers – simply freezing to death on the streets. I wondered – how does one person who was born, had dreams, desires and passions of his/her own, end up like that? Once you dig a little to find that out, you’ll start seeing the real war is closer than you think.107767236_2750641465155149_7961340331678085522_nMany returned service men and women will likely view this film – do you think it may trigger memories and/or hope your film encourages them to reach out for help and support with their own PTSD?  A response in the form of awareness among veterans and civilians alike would be just what we’re hoping for. For Vietnam veterans and veterans of all foreign wars to remember that we are all united, not only through our shared service but through the invisible wounds we share – the invisible monsters we all bring back. PTSD. May this film be a beacon of light to bring us closer together to finally stitch it up.14054901_1079885625399702_8534525803781222453_nYou’ve undertaken a variety of on-set jobs from Sound, Camera & Electrical dept, Location mgmn’t, Cinematography and AD, as well as editing and acting. How has all this experience prepared you for directing and writing scripts?  Making this film was the ultimate film school experience. Literally discuss an idea, put it on paper (in our case, a dinner napkin), find the crew or slave labourers at that rate (ha ha!) and go out and put your vision through a camera lens – all for little to no money. If I can go back in time in a DeLorean (yes.. I went there) – is to stop this from happening and rip up that napkin and order the brisket instead. But, alas, the sirens went off and making the film was a war in itself – sacrifices were made and rough battles were won and lost in order to reach the beach. But ultimately it prepared me for the future – my continued career and how to properly manage a set and crew, take car of my actors and how to responsibly handle delicate subject matter as the one we discuss in our film. It taught me the right ways to do things and the wrong things that were done. Grateful for those wrongdoings, as the pitfalls of the film taught me how to handle those that were on the road ahead. I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world and am thankful everyday for the experiences the film gave me and my team – it’s priceless and I am the filmmaker I am today because of it.  Director & castYou had a very modest budget on which to shoot Battle Scars – how did you manage to pull off the Vietnam up-county fire fight with such realism?  Thank you, it was very challenging. Sometimes it’s the limitations such as budget that force us to be at our most creative. Doing your best with what you have and that’s where I point the camera. We had to scout specific locations we thought could pass for the jungle. I think my experience helped me grab what I needed. I wanted to convey the chaos that war is.107377203_720954032027606_3389208399628510251_nIt’s so difficult to access audiences during the Covid shut-down, but with your digital viewing platforms do you think that home viewing is more advantageous, especially considering the intense intimate angst your lead character goes through on-screen? Viewers may feel more emotionally secure watching the film from their own sofa…yes? I think it comes down to connection. I believe any film is really meant to be experienced in the theater.  However, home entertainment systems get us pretty close. It’s a personal film, but film is meant to be communal. So if we have to watch the film separately, at least we can all connect online.

Have you already started thinking about your next project and if so, can you share any hints as to the subject? Are you planning something a little lighter? You think I’d learn but never lighter, never smaller. But I will say that my job as director is to serve the story. If the story is large, that let my vision enhance that in scale. If it’s small, then I will paint with mightier strokes but still on a large canvas. Many projects in the making and new releases coming soon. In the meantime, you can order my published novel titled THE CHORDS OF WAR – a semi-autobiographical true story of 5 soldiers who form a rock’n’roll band during the height of the Iraq war, ultimately using music to inspire and motivate thousands of troops and to get them home alive. Acclaimed show runner Graham Yost (Band of Brothers, Justified, The Pacific) opens the book with a rave review and discussion. My next feature film, a psychological horror film, is currently in production as I type this, and my latest short film The Springfield Three, the true story of one Americas most bizarre and unexplained disappearances, has won multiple festival awards after screening at Screamfest 2019. It has also been picked up for worldwide distribution, having its television premiere this October on SHORTS TV (the distributor for all the theatrical released academy award winning short films.) Thank you for your continued support, Glenda!

Battle Scars will be available for viewing online as of July 21st via Amazon Prime, Vudu, iTunes, GooglePlay. Orders for DVD sales are already available from Walmart & Amazon, with wider release as of August 4th, 2020.

Check out movie trailers and cast & crew info at www.BattleScarsthemovie.com and follow on Instagram @MovieBattleScars and       www.facebook.com/moviebattlescarspromo ad

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NEW GELATO STORE OPENS @ YONGE & CHARLES IN TORONTO…BRING ON THE YUMMY!!

Welcome to the neighbourhood, NANI’s! Just in time for summer, owner Parry is bringing his hand-crafted gelato and sorbets to the Yonge & Bloor neighbourhood despite, or maybe because of, the pandemic isolation we’ve all endured over the past 3 months. We all need and are ready for some treats and I can assure you that you won’t find anything yummier than Nani’s amazing daily “from scratch” flavours – I tried several samples today and purchased a big scoop of the Lemon Sorbetto…OMG it was so refreshing and deelish.
Some of you may recall seeing the Nani’s food truck over the past 18 months or so but Parry has now set up his bricks’n’mortar shop on the n.e. corner of Charles E. just behind what used to be McDonalds/Starbucks. 20200604_123016 (2)Inside, you’ll find fresh served waffle cones or cups, as well as take-home pints for your midnight snacks or after-dinner treats. 20200606_133529 (2)20200606_133301AAOnce social distancing practices are removed, Nani’s offers a lovely upstairs seating area (3 or 4 tables) for in-house enjoyment. Parry is very committed to offering customers the very best products, including vegan options and gelatos with Indian & Asian influences – I must sample the Indian Chai, Black Sesame and Mango/Lychee Sorbetto flavours next time.  There’s over 75 flavours that are rotated weekly so check the website for your favourites www.nanisgelato.com

What makes Nani’s products so special & delicious? As opposed to using powdered ice cream, pre-made gelato bases, syrups, food colorings, artificial flavors or pre-made products, Nani’s invested in its own commercial commissary kitchen to make all gelato products from scratch on a daily basis, using fresh ingredients. A unique feature of Nani’s is that we produce our own gelato base using a pasteurization machine from Italy specifically designed for gelato production. The process deepens the flavors and allows our customers to literally taste the difference in our production. With a centralized kitchen and the top gelato-making machines in the world imported from Italy, Nani’s focus is on delivering handcrafted, premium gelato in a small-batch, fresh format.20200606_133224 (2)The store hours are: 12noon to 9pm on weekends and 3pm to 9pm during the week. You can follow Nani’s on IG: @nanisgelato
Next week (starting June 8) the “flavour du jour” is Dark Chocolate” so you know who’s gonna be first in line every day….LOL!20200606_134154 (2)nani'sThanks for supporting local businesses….see you at Nani’s!

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URBAN GALLERY HOSTS CENTENNIAL COLLEGE’s ANNUAL STUDENT SHOWCASE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Each year, Toronto’s Urban Gallery hosts Centennial College Studio Arts program’s 1st year students exhibition and with the current Covid-19 crisis hitting all the galleries and public art installation locations so hard, Urban decided to upload a Facebook “gallery” show for the students (follow them on Facebook.com/UrbanGalleryTO)  The works are hung on the gallery walls for anyone wishing a private viewing – contact them via www.UrbanGallery.cagallery gallery3Thanks to Lisa Binnie, MFA, FAS Program Coordinator and Professor in the Fine Arts Studio & Photography Programs, the students were able to organize this year’s show so that their works can be showcased online, building support for their future careers.  Metamorphosis is the theme of this year’s Fine Arts Studio student exhibition, and it will change the way you look at art!  Metamorphosis is not only the theme, but also describes the transformation these emerging artists will experience during the Centennial College fine art program, and continue throughout their lives. Below is a selection of the works on show (installation runs until March 28) so please visit the gallery’s Facebook page frequently to view the various paintings and multi-media works uploaded daily.RavenMaducdoc-Facade-2020 gallery5 CarreraChung_Coda-2020 copy LuZhang-Glow-2020 gallery6 gallery10 ChristaBellewang_Saprophyte-2020

Urban Gallery is located at 400 Queen Street East in downtown Toronto, and is one of the city’s leading independent galleries offering artists catered opening and “meet the artist” receptions. If you have any questions or if you’d like booking information, please contact gallery director, Calvin Hambrook, at info@urbangallery.ca  Until social distancing or self-isolation concludes, Urban Gallery will continue running online gallery events for your safety and convenience.AnneKim_YouAreMore-2020 MYMYMY_Acceptance-OldSkin-2020 AleksandraRodneva-ThereStillWillBeLife-2020 RobertStephenson_Decisions-2020 SidiaAtabales-Schnitzler-Grandma-2020 WeijiaSu_HeartRebirth-2020 YuJunOh-MyInnerSide-2020Thank you for supporting Canada’s emerging artists!

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EXCITING NEW CONFERENCE/MEETING CENTRE OPENS IN STUNNING JAMAICAN RESORT

Welcome to Ocean Coral Spring Resort & Conference Centre in Trelawny, Jamaica – just 45mins East of Montego Bay. Can you imagine holding your corporate events or team building exercises where this is your view each morning? Ah, Paradise… what a perfect location for motivating work and play!20200220_064308As part of it’s brand new resort on Jamaica’s sunny north coast, the Ocean Hotels int’l group has created a full-service, fully equipped Conference Centre that can accommodate up to 800 visitors in its main showroom which can also be divided into 2, 3 or 4 separate spaces, depending on the client’s needs. It will offer full A/V services, catering and furnishings. Additional local event suppliers and support businesses can be coordinated thru the resorts’ professional events office. The beautifully appointed accommodations feature all the luxury mod cons and the staff are charming, friendly and most efficient. And the resort has its own private beach with palapas, loungers and beach towels available for guests. Here’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Tanesha Clarke, to tell you all about this unique location for your upcoming meetings….

Thank you for sharing all this information, Tanesha, it was a pleasure experiencing the resort and all its facilities first-hand.  20200222_145612The resort itself opened in December and its imposing conference centre is undergoing the final tweaking and decorating stages, and should be open and ready to present your events by late Spring  (2020). Between or after meetings and business activities, there are multiple dining venues and activities for you to enjoy as a group, or just relax on your own…20200220_151117 20200222_142041 20200224_06412520200222_141936 20200222_142052If you’d like to learn more about Coral Ocean Spring Resort & Conference Centre, visit their resort website: www.hoteloceancoralspring.net
or contact Tanesha directly to receive the corporate events information package (and ask for the wedding package, too, if you’re planning a destination wedding):
Tel: (876) 615-8100 Ext. 9150
Mountain Spring Bay – Coral Spring Trelawny Jamaica
Email: tanesha.clarke@oceanhotels.net  20200219_162509Your rum cocktail is waiting for you in the lobby bar (above). Come check your group in today!