Category Archives: Awards

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TIFF RED CARPET FOR NOLLYWOOD FILMMAKER OMONI OBOLI’S “OKAFOR’S LAW”

Last night, Nollywood filmmaker and superstar OMONI OBOLI presented her dark romantic comedy OKAFOR’S LAW at the Toronto Int’l Film Festival with a stunning red carpet event full of talent, glamour and sparkle! The packed house was vocal in their approval and enjoyment of the film – you haven’t been to the movies until you’ve shared a theatre with Nigerian film fans…they responded loudly to all the onscreen action with laughter, applause and gasps. The Toronto crowd loved the film, adored their actors and weren’t afraid to show it. As soon as Omoni stepped out of her car (below), a cheer went up from the line-up of eager fans who had been waiting hours to see their idols.20160912_200658 20160912_195543These adorable young fans (above) were first in line when I arrived earlier at the Isabel Bader Theatre and they were thrilled to bits when Omoni came over to say hi and take selfies with them.20160912_200728Next to arrive was the stunning Ufuoma McDermott (above), looking extra sparkly in a long blue gown (scroll down to see how glam she looked on the red carpet). And then the big man himself arrived, Richard Mofe-Damijo or RMD as he’s known by his fans.20160912_204321 20160912_204234Above, Richard joins Omoni (right), along with another stunning Nollywood VIP guest on the red carpet. And below, Omoni walks the red carpet for her photo call with the world’s media, including several Toronto-based Nigerian and African media outlets.20160912_201007 20160912_201637 20160912_204406(0)Below, Ufuoma proves that this “baby got back” showing off her fantastic physique! We’re thinking she would be ideal to portray Serena Williams in her bio-pic….hopefully  someone is writing the script now!20160912_201359The red carpet got very crowded with Omoni’s cast & crew, and many of the Nollywood filmmakers and actors participating in TIFF’s “City to City” program showed up to support her film.20160912_20474420160912_201409 20160912_204536Prior to the screening, the always charming Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s Creative Director, introduced Omoni and her cast and crew to the stage (below)….20160912_210537

Photo courtesy of Mo Vernie

Photo courtesy of Mo Vernie

…then afterwards, everyone came out on stage to rousing applause and cheers, and for a fun Q&A with the audience (below)20160912_230707 20160912_231220Then outside for lots more interviews and photo opps with the fans!20160912_233511 20160912_233611Above, brilliant cinematographer Yinka Edwards was grabbed for a few words with TV news cameras – Yinka has 3 films participating in TIFF…wow! And he is such a humble man…I’m sure he was a little embarrassed by all the applause and media kudos. Bravo, Yinka, well done.

Omoni joined the throngs of fans outside for more selfies and socializing, meeting up with old friends and even a few relatives…20160912_234010 20160912_202259Here are a few more fun pics from last night, including Patricia Bebia Mawa of AfroGlobal TV/Silvertrust Media (below)…20160912_204753 …and Vivianne Collins who hosted the official Red Carpet TV for Okafor’s Law – here I caught her setting up before all the stars arrived. 20160912_200113Ufuoma hung out with writer/director Lonzo Nzekwe, sharing social media posts (below)…20160912_203104And of course…it’s all about the shoes, ladies, right?!  Check out this sparkly gold pair worn by Tomi Adeoye, production manager for the film.20160912_201100So you have just 2 more opportunities to check out this fun movie during TIFF: Wednesday night Sept.14 at 8:45pm & Sunday Sept.18 at noon, both at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto. All details & ticket sales can be found at www.tiff.net

Follow Omoni and her cast via Facebook.com/OkaforsLaw

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NOLLYWOOD’S BOX OFFICE QUEEN BRINGS “OKAFOR’S LAW” TO TIFF!

The reigning queen of the Nigerian film industry – known as “Nollywood” – OMONI OBOLI is bringing her latest film OKAFOR’S LAW to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival next month.  The multi award-winning director, writer, producer and actor will enjoy a world premiere red-carpet screening for her romantic comedy on Monday Sept. 12th at 8:45pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre located in Yorkville where TIFF was first founded. Omoni’s hoping this will be the start of N. American audiences and studios getting to know her and her work. Hollywood has been complaining loudly about the lack of opportunities for women directors, especially women of colour but Omoni has been making her own opportunities in Nigeria; her previous 6 films have raked in over a quarter billion Naira (Nigerian currency) at the box office. Omoni headshotOmoni began her career with her first movie role in ‘Bitter Encounter’ (1996) then in ‘Shame’. She then went on to play the lead female character in three major movies; ‘Not My Will’, ‘Destined To Die’ and ‘Another Campus Tale.’  She took time away from the biz to complete her university education and get married but after ten years, cinema called her back.

Since then, Omoni has shot to prominence as the class act of Nollywood because of her professional demeanour and strong work ethics. Playing lead roles in blockbusters like ‘The Figurine,’ ‘Anchor Baby’, ‘Being Mrs Elliott’, ‘Feathered Dreams’ and Mo Abudu’s ‘Fifty’ has set her apart as one who knows how to choose good screenplays. She has also set the bar higher by being the first actress from Nollywood to bag such international awards as Best Actress in two international festivals in the same year (2010) – the Harlem International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Movie Awards for her lead role in the movie, ‘Anchor Baby’. She’s pictured below with castmate, the late Sam Sarpong (L) and Anchor Baby director Lonzo Nzekwe (R) at the Toronto premiere.Omoni 5Omoni has won and also been nominated for several other awards, both locally and internationally. The movie, ‘Anchor Baby’ currently has the record for the longest running African movie in the UK cinema for the year 2011 and the longest running Nigerian movie in the UK cinemas in history. She wrote, directed, produced and starred in the movie, ‘Being Mrs Elliott’ which happened to be her directorial debut. ‘Being Mrs Elliott’ was chosen as the opening movie at the 2014 edition of the ‘Nollywood Week in Paris’, and it is the first Nigerian movie to be screened at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, ASO Rock.  Her movie ‘The First Lady’ which recently screened at The Nollywood Week Festival in Paris won the highly coveted ‘Audience Choice Award’ which is the only award at the festival. Her recent Wives On Strike garnered great reviews from both fans and critics and was hailed as the comedy of the year.

Director’s Statement: The idea for Okafor’s Law came on a fine evening during dinner and drinks with friends. I happened to be the only woman in the group and the conversation was very ‘male’ in tone and subject. Somehow, we started talking about our exes and how most guys felt they could always go back and have sex with their old girlfriends even after a relationship had long ended. It was apparently a belief widely known in Nigeria as ‘Okafor’s Law’ It was a very interesting conversation and emotions ran high. At a point, one of my friends turned to me and said ‘Omoni you are a filmmaker. Why don’t you make a movie about Okafor’s Law’. I looked at him and said ‘why not?’ The idea was born! I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I talked back and forth with those friends, getting all their thoughts on the subject.  I initially contacted a writer because I was busy with other projects, and we talked about the story. Somehow, I never got a script from him so a couple of months later, I decided to write my story myself.
Apart from the main theme of ‘Okafor’s Law’, the movie takes us through a journey of love, passion, infidelity, violence and forgiveness. It’s also laced with humour which is a common thread in my movies. I love to take people into the world of my movies and make them forget for almost two hours, their own lives.  Omoni Oboli, 2016_MG_9971FILM SYNOPSIS:  Chuks (aka Terminator) is an ardent player with the ladies. He enjoys the attention of women, including girlfriends from the past. He believes that once a man has had a woman, he forever has access to her. When challenged by his friends to see if he can prove the universality of that theory with three ex-girlfriends from his school days within 21 days, he accepts it. Turning on his best charm he sets off to try and prove himself, but his quest brings him to three women, Ifeoma (Fifi), Kemi and Ejiro, whose situations in life have changed drastically since school days. This challenge of their various new statuses makes his quest to win the bet more and more insurmountable as he tries to prove the immutability of the age-old law, OKAFOR’S Law.

Okafor’s Law also stars African screen favourites Blossom Chukwujekwu, Ufuoma McDermott, Toyin Aimakhu, Ken Erics, Gabriel Afolayan and the “George Clooney of Nollywood” Richard Mofe-Damijo (below)image7You can find out more about Okafor’s Law from the official TIFF website where you can also purchase screening tickets www.tiff.net/tiff/   Look for the special City to City programme which features Lagos and the talented Nigerian filmmakers who call that city home. 79be306f-9fb4-4e48-b518-2fcd1a68337e

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Canadian-Nigerian filmmaker LONZO NZEKWE shares indie success story & this year’s TIFF spotlight on his home country

I first met self-taught Canadian-Nigerian filmmaker LONZO NZEKWE about 5 years ago when he asked me to promote the debut screening of his first feature film, Anchor Baby, here in Toronto during the annual Toronto Int’l Film Festival. Although Anchor Baby was not part of the Festival, we arranged that the screening take place at a major cinema multiplex during the period when most int’l film media and industry folks were in town. The screening was a resounding success with a packed house (we actually turned people away), lots of media coverage and Lonzo was off and running with his feature film that was made mostly in and around Toronto on a shoestring budget.anchor-baby33865_165229630154037_4176194_nOver a dozen or so int’l film awards later…Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 8.15.51 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.31.53 PM….the writer/director has now brought his latest project, a 37min. crime thriller, Meet The Parents, to the screen and that, too, has started amassing critical kudos and awards including the Best Short Film award at the 2016 Africa Movie Academy Awards. Meet The Parents by Lonzo Nzekwe 12289712_10156318942150525_7545685570378629312_nI recently sat down with Lonzo and asked him to share some insights into his self-made career, and about the upcoming Toronto Int’l Film Festival where he will be supporting fellow filmmakers and stars of Nollywood, as the Nigerian film industry is called, who are coming into town as part of this year’s TIFF City to City: Lagos program.

Having only spent a short time studying filmmaking, can you share some of the most challenging obstacles you’ve experienced being a self-taught producer/director?
One of the major challenges is getting funding for new film projects. Up till now, all my film productions have been self-funded because it’s tough to get investors when you are an independent filmmaker. Another challenge is getting media exposure for the films after they’ve been shot, but thanks to social media and my IronFlix movie streaming platform, I’m now able to reach a global audience without breaking the bank.

Your first film was the feature length Anchor Baby (2010) which went on to win so many international awards after premiering here in Toronto. How did such immediate success impact your career and/or goals for your future?
Anchor Baby (pictured below) catapulted me to the front of the line after its success. The film played in Nigerian cinemas for about 12 weeks, the UK for 6 weeks, Ghana and Canada for about 2 weeks. As dark as the ending of that movie is, there’s something special about the film as a whole because it pulled no punches and it’s brutally honest. All the 13 film awards including Best Film at the Harlem International Film Festival and two nominations at the 2011 Africa Movie Academy Awards made people take notice. I guess at the time, they wanted to know what’s up with this self-taught first time filmmaker.38609_150496438294023_1449759_nYour most recent film was a short titled Meet The Parents which is garnering critical acclaim as well as moviegoer praise. It recently won Best Short Film Award at the 2016 Africa Movie Academy Awards – what sort of comments/responses have you received about this second film from the African and worldwide film community?
It’s interesting because after I made Anchor Baby,  a few people thought its success was a fluke. The truth is that Anchor Baby was easy for me to make and I knew at the time that I have the potential to write and direct other good movies. By the way, Meet The Parents is 37 minutes long and I consider it a mini-feature film because it actually feels like you’re watching a full feature length film. When you watch Meet the Parents, you can clearly see the growth on the writing and technical aspects of my filmmaking. I’ve received great reviews from film industry people here in Canada as well as Nigeria. Recently, a well respected industry insider in Toronto watched the film and wrote that he likes the film’s look, especially the real sophistication in the way I crafted the images and sound. I jokingly tell people that the film has a “38 Special” flow to it because a snub-nosed 38mm handgun played an important role in the major turning point of the film.

As a film writer, what inspires your stories? I gather Meet The Parents was inspired by a Jay Z song?
I get inspirations from my pains, worries, love, loss and life in general. Meet the Parents was originally inspired by a Jay Z song of the same title in his 2004 Blueprint 2 album. It’s about a father who abandoned his infant son for a life on the streets and 15 years later, fate brings father and son together again in deadly street fight that will alter their lives forever. I’m a huge Jay Z fan from his Reasonable Doubt days and his music in general has been a source of inspiration as a black filmmaker. He paints vivid pictures with words and every time I heard that song, I get these haunting cinematic images in my head that won’t go away. So I decided to put it into film in my own personal interpretation and also added other plausible twists and turns that made the film special.

You recently launched another exciting project, this time it’s a film, documentary & TV streaming platform called IronFlix that offers entertainment from Africa-based production companies.  What inspired this new business and how did you create IronFlix.com?
I believe that filmmakers should create their own path to success instead of waiting for someone to else to get you there. I started IronFlix because I kinda see the direction film consumption is heading. VOD streaming is not the future; it is now! I want to be able to reach my audience anywhere in the world without depending solely on cinemas and traditional television networks.

I originally came from Nigeria, a country that built their film industry (Nollywood) from scratch without help from the government. Most people like me (Nigerian filmmakers) don’t worry about things like “Oscar So White” because we try as much as possible to create our own opportunities and create a market for our work. No one can marginalize us and tell us the types of movies or stories to tell. We have our own film industry, film festivals, cinemas and the Africa academy awards that’s slowly being recognized around the world. One of my main goals is to collaborate with like-minded individuals working in Nollywood, Hollywood and other western film industries to help spread genuine African stories to a global audience.

What are the top films being viewed on IronFlix that we should all watch out for?
Some of the great films and Tv shows you can watch now on IronFlix include Anchor Baby, Ojuju, Making of A Mogul, Pamper Your Mum, Form 36 and many many more.

Your next film project is called Laundrymen – is that a short or feature film? Can you share any teasers or background info on this new production?
Laundrymen will be a feature film. I’ve been developing it for over three years now and it’s a revenge crime thriller. It will be my most ambitious project till date and I’m looking forward to starting production. I’m still raising funds to shoot it so if you know anyone interested in financing a great film, please contact me let’s make it happen.

What advice (or cautions) can you offer emerging indie filmmakers starting out along a similar career path as you did?
All I can say is just do it. Most people talk about what they are going to do when they have the right money, equipment, cast and crew etc. Truth is, you will never have everything right the way you want it. Also, make sure whatever film you’re making is saying something, and it’s something you can be proud of after all is said and done. Your time is way more valuable than money because you can’t replace the time you lost on a film that isn’t about anything.39839_150497681627232_4139089_n

You can follow Lonzo on his journey with Meet the Parents, as well as his activities during TIFF via social media:
https://www.facebook.com/MeetTheParentsMovie/
http://www.ironflix.com
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1666555/

And I’ll be posting updates throughout TIFF so subscribe to my blog or follow me on Facebook.com/FordhamPR or Twitter & Instgram: @FordhamPR

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URBANSOURCE CREATIVE CATERING SPONSORS TORONTO UNITED CHURCH’S HEART & VISION AWARDS CONCERT

Boy, what a busy time UrbanSource Creative Catering is having…last week they catered a number of high profile events and last night, Monday May 9, they kicked off the week by providing the post-concert reception for attendees, VIPs, the entertainers and the esteemed winners of the annual Toronto United Church Council’s Heart & Vision Awards.20160509_220232The 8th annual concert honoured Roberta L. Jamieson, President of Indspire, Canada’s premiere Indigenous-led charity, and the first First Nations woman to earn a law degree in Canada, and Marie Wilson, one of the three commissioners on Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Musical entertainment was provided by: Alana Bridgewater, star of We Will Rock You, Christa Couture, Canadian Aboriginal Music Award winner, Brenda MacIntyre, Medicine Song Woman, Billy Newton Davis, Juno Award winner, Nukariik, Inuit throat singers, and Jackie Richardson, Gospel, Jazz, and Blues sensation
The evening was hosted by Hon. Bob Rae, lawyer, mediator, speaker, writer, and Ontario’s 21st Premier.
Proceeds from the concert and gifts to the Community Relief Fund support the Council’s partnership programs through which local congregations rebuild and equip their church facilities to enhance community social services.20160509_205741The hors d’oeuvre menu included Angus mini beef burgers, Cajun salmon cakes, Moroccan chicken rouelles (below)20160509_205639Also making an appearance: Urban’s famous Arancini risotto balls filled with luscious gooey buffalo mozzarella cheese and served with roasted chipotle pepper sauce (below)…20160509_211300….as well as Pear and Stilton Tartlets (my new favourite), and a Crostini Duo consisting of roasted grape with burrata, basil and balsamic drizzle, and fresh Bosc pear poached with port and cinnamon, with ricotta and candied walnut both served on toasted honey crostini.20160509_205617 20160509_211318As usual, Urban’s friendly staff (hear, resting up prior to service) kept everyone well fed and watered….20160509_210348…and here’s Sales & Events Coordinator Jean-Marc (below R) with bartender Yaz (below L)20160509_210011Chef Lyndon (below R) kept his kitchen staff hopping…preparing so many plates of treats that they could rival that legendary loaves-and-fishes event…20160509_20570520160509_205852The most popular treats of the night where the mini-burgers….they disappeared quickly off each tray as soon as they came out of the kitchen!20160509_220414And the dainty dessert trays were also a huge hit.20160509_205556 20160509_210259Compliments were freely offered by all attendees who were rarely seen without some yummy treat in their hands (and mouths)! 20160509_215435And the modest understated decor, also provided by Urban, was perfectly suited to the occasion.20160509_211531 20160509_210157Thanks to all involved and if you’d like to learn more about the Toronto United Church Council, please visit them here: www.tucc.ca/

And for all your catering needs…and then some! …..please contact UrbanSource Creative Catering here: www.urbancatering.com/20160509_221735

 

PRISM PRIZE ANNOUNCES 2016 TOP 20 BEST CANADIAN MUSIC VIDEOS

 The Prism Prize is thrilled to announce the Top 20 best Canadian music videos of the year, as voted by a jury of more than 120Canadian music, film and media arts professionals. After viewing hundreds of music videos released in 2015, jurors selected the Prism Prize Top 20 based on originality, creativity, style, innovation and effective execution.
View the trailer here: https://vimeo.com/154121538
THE 2016 PRISM PRIZE TOP 20 (in alphabetical order):
A Tribe Called Red – Suplex (Director: Jon Riera)
Absolutely Free – Vision’s (Directors: Scott Cudmore and Michael LeBlanc)
Aidan Knight – All Clear (Director: Ft. Langley)
Alessia Cara – Here (Director: Aaron A)
Braids – Miniskirt (Director: Kevan Funk)
Daniel Romano – I’m Gonna Teach You (Director: Chad VanGaalen)
Death From Above 1979 – Virgins (Director: Eva Michon)
Drake – Hotline Bling (Director: Director X)
Drake
The Elwins – So Down Low (Director: Alan Poon)
Fast Romantics – Julia (Director: Matthew Angus)
Grimes – Flesh Without Blood (Director: Grimes)
Harrison – How Can It Be (Director: Maxime Lamontagne)
Kalle Mattson – Avalanche (Director: Philip Sportel)
Monogrenade – Le Fantôme (Director: Kristof Brandl)
Peaches – Rub (Directors: Peaches, A.L. Steiner and Lex Vaughn)
PUP – Dark Days (Director: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux and Chandler Levack)
Shy Kids – Rockets (Director: Walter Woodman)
SonReal – For the Town (Director: Peter Huang)
Spek Won – Black Body (Director: Mark Valino)
Yukon Blonde – Saturday Night (Directors: Mac Boucher and Gaya Abdalian)
“This was the best year for Canadian music videos ever, and a Top Ten list just couldn’t capture all the talent,” said Louis Calabro, Director and Founder of the Prism Prize. “With the Prism Prize Top 20, we are proud to present a diverse group of incredible artists and their remarkable work.”
The Prism Prize Top Ten will be announced on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
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On Sunday, May 15, 2016 the Prism Prize Screening and Awards Presentation at TIFF Bell Lightbox will include a screening of theTop Ten videos, and award presentations including: the $10,000 Grand Prize for best Canadian music video of the year; the Audience Award (presented by Noisey Canada); the Special Achievement Award (presented by FYI Music News) for artistic achievements and exceptional world-wide contribution to music video art; and the Arthur Lipsett Award (presented by MuchFACT) for innovative and unique approaches to music video art.
All Prism Prize Award recipients, including the Grand Prize, Audience Award, Special Achievement Award and the Arthur Lipsett Award, will receive $2000 grants from William F. White for production equipment rentals, and an exclusive gift bag from MAC Cosmetics.
The Prism Prize is also happy to announce FYI Music News as Lead Sponsor of the Prism Prize with support for the Special Achievement Award and a post-screening celebration at the 2016 Prism Prize Awards Presentation.   FYI Music News is a daily newsletter focusing on the Canadian music industry, offering a tightly written digest of key events and news of the day in Canada and beyond, at the start of each workday.
We are very proud to have FYI Music News and Slaight Music onboard as a Lead Sponsor this year. These guys do so much for the music industry in Canada, it’s staggering. It’s an honour being associated with such a forward thinking organization.” said Louis Calabro.
Past Prism Prize winners for Best Canadian Music Video of the Year include Noah Pink for Rich Aucoin’s Brian Wilson is A.L.i.V.E (2013), Emily Kai Bock for Arcade Fire’s Afterlife (2014), and Chad VanGaalen for Timber Timbre’s Beat The Drum Slowly (2015).
Prism Prize is proud to host a comprehensive resource for music fans to watch the best Canadian music videos all in one place. Videos and news from Canada’s music video community are available throughout the year at www.prismprize.com@prismprizewww.facebook.com/prismprize
Prism Prize acknowledges the financial support of Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters.
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WHAT A WEEK THAT WAS FOR GRAMMY NOMINEE RON KORB

I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since I logged onto the Grammy nominee list, cuppa coffee in one hand, mouse in the other, scrolling down as I held my breath….Category 30, New Age Album…….blah blah blah blah…and RON KORB for ASIA BEAUTY. Yaaaay!!!!12096026_10153033946140448_2532998975567882371_nAfter a very busy year of composing, producing and performing, Toronto-based flautist and composer Ron Korb awoke last Monday morning as a Grammy nominee! Having worked with Ron over the summer to promote the release of Asia Beauty, I am so proud and excited for him at the prospect of walking the red carpet on Grammy weekend (mid-February) rubbing shoulders with the likes of  Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks, and fellow Canuck nominees, Drake, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber.logo

As soon as the nominations for all the categories were announced I started working my media contacts here in Toronto – all the TV and radio networks, the dailies, the music bloggers – how would you like a Grammy nominated artist on your show?  Sadly, as is typical these days, we had few takers. Unless you are an international, multi-award winning artist, they just don’t care. But hang on…..that’s exactly what Ron Korb is. Ron has won countless international music awards, has performed in some of the world’s most celebrated concert halls and collaborated with numerous other award-winning artists, has produced over 30 hit albums in various genres (Celtic, Latin, Jazz, native American, African, classical, Japanese….) composes film & tv scores, and he’s also the third most well-known Cdn in China which has the greatest buying power in the universe these days.  Ron has performed for Queen Elizabeth, Princess Takamado of Japan, Princess Bopha Devi of Cambodia, and was featured on the World Youth Day recording for Pope John Paul and the Dalai Lama’s World Festival of Sacred Music in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He has also shared stages with Peter Gabriel, Jane Siberry, Tia Carrere, Liona Boyd, The Yardbirds, Olivia Newton John and Cesaria Evora.

With fellow Cdn artist Liona Boyd

With fellow Cdn artist Liona Boyd

So how come Canadian media doesn’t recognize his accomplishments and want to brag about them to their viewers/listeners/readers? Beats me!  At least the Toronto Star and CTV Headline News acknowledged Ron’s accomplishments…..

TorStar Dec 9Ron and his lovely wife Jade, who took all the photos for Ron’s Asia Beauty album which included a 32pg full-colour booklet, have worked long and hard to promote Canadian music and artistry around the world. Asia Beauty has already won “Best of Show” at the 2015 Global Music Awards as well as awards for Best Instrumental Solo performance (Blue Bamboo) and Best Album Design. The CD also won Best Instrumental Album and Best Instrumental Song (Two Mountains) at the Akademia Music Awards in Los Angeles. Ron has toured countless times around the world and when composing his 2014 Europa album, he performed in venues where classical legends  – Mozart, Beethoven, Bach – once trod the stage. Ron even shared the cover of a recent online edition of Billboard with Keith Richards……keith and ron….so why no love from our own media? This is the sad reality for most Canadian artists. No matter how brilliant, how popular, how well covered by int’l media or how awarded you are by other countries, Canada apparently doesn’t give a rat’s ass about its own artists. So hopefully I will be proven wrong and more editors, columnists, bloggers and news directors will realize the treasure they have under their noses and will step up as we head into Grammy month (Feb/16) and my phone will be ringing off the hook for interviews with the amazing Ron Korb!  Why not see for yourself why he’s such a superstar…. http://ronkorb.com/home_MG_2214

Post script: in his usual humble manner, Ron played a special Christmas concert on Saturday at the St. Paul’s Anglican church in Newmarket – the perfect way to end the hectic and exciting week. Here he is performing to the packed pews!su3IlLSoGq9IKL8EMgK2QECzFI7aLqOftJOwUl5-z3U SnUyYlWoD14w3bUuGCGogFsN8MHisTXgTpDNP7hwUQc

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THE BABY DEBUTS TO FULL HOUSE….AND A STANDING OVATION!

Award-winning writer/director Dan Spurgeon‘s hilarious homage to 70’s grindhouse movies, THE BABY, debuted live on stage at the Storefront Theatre tonight and if the enthusiastic preview audience is any indication, the play’s gonna be a BIG HIT!20151015_212740The talented cast of local actors bring “high camp” to a whole new level, delivering lines in a manner Benny Hill would envy! New York actor Frank Blocker (below) reprises the role of Mama he made famous in LA when the play premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2013, winning numerous awards as well as critical acclaim. 20151009_222104Jeanie Calleja sparkles as the seemingly good-hearted social worker, Ms. Gentry, but things turn decidedly dark when she meets Baby (below) and the whole Wadsworth family. Jeff Dingle‘s portrayal of Baby the man-child is sweet, hysterically funny and poignant, and he chews up the scenery…including the carpet, the stuffed toys…even his hotsie-totsie babysitter, played by Olivia Marshman!

Photo: John Gundy

Photo: John Gundy

Photo: John Gundy

Photo: John Gundy

Baby’s sisters are over-the-top, wildly funny and played to perfection by Alicia Richardson as Alba, the ultimate wicked yet sexy villainess (below left) and Claire Burns (below right) as Germaine…think Ellie-May Clampett meets Ann Margaret!20151009_213835Winner of Best of Hollywood Fringeand “Top 10 LA Theatre Production” honours in 2013

What the LA Critics said about The Baby:
“Gleefully perverse with a delicious campiness!”  Paul Birchall, LA Weekly
“The most fun I’ve had at a play in a long time!”  Andrew Moore, Mad Theatrics
and my favourite…..   “That was fuckin’ funny!”  Ron Jeremy, adult film legend

But don’t take their word for it….come enjoy this raucous, vulgar, naughty, high camp entertainment yourself.
THE BABY runs now until Nov. 1, 2015 at The Storefront Theatre, 955 Bloor Street West, Toronto
Showtimes: Tues. thru Sat. @ 8pm & Sun. @ 2pm
Tickets: $20-$25 available from www.thebabyliveonstage.com or at the theatre box office.logoCongratulations to the cast and crew…take your well-deserved bows!20151015_212736

David Gale, Ferne Downey, Theresa Tova

HITTING THE RED CARPET @ ACTRA TORONTO TIFF PARTY (Pt. II)

“More more more…how’d ya like it, how’d like it?” Only readers familiar with the disco era will probably get that….but it was still the case last night when Toronto’s fabulous film folks walked the red carpet at the ACTRA Toronto TIFF party held at the HangLoose Media studios…and they brought more more more glamour and fabulosity!
Was great to catch up with my old friend David Gale, pictured above with Ferne Downey and Theresa Tova who had some fun with Kate Wheeler of What She Said web radio who interviewed them on their way inside (below). CvPkRm0bemNp-rL8Pzd19SDtqSETkSp4x24ZHGiRBa4Meet the multi award-winning Helena-Alexis Seymour, 2 time Best Actress winner (F.A.B.I.O) and Best Actress nominee at the Black Canadian Awards (below).mYoDXNb1WB1baNjEj13lkE81ZznyhiKUcMFloWn9NkgAnd here’s the beautiful, elegant Clara Pasieka (below) who is also Chair of the Young Emerging Actors Assembly (YEAA).irNax-GfQfOhaX5uWLoisllILIN7RxoFCKiU2fE6Eg0Canadian acting royalty was in the house…yes, that’s Tantoo Cardinal, award-winning actor, activist and recipient of the Order of Canada! Ms. Cardinal was just honored with the 2015 ACTRA Award of Excellence20150915_200329I love it when actors get “into it” during photo calls – gives us all something to shoot and play with. And I soon discovered the shoes! My inner Carrie Bradshaw freaked out over some of the sexy footwear and even the guys brought it.20150915_194723 Rachel Tores 20150915_203440 20150915_204059 J8kaCs3VhIVjvEAD_39FxdjBkrp3Me9PEZFcElBvwLwEven the wristwear was pretty cool….I want that one!20150915_195732Recent imports from LA, here’s writer/director Dan Spurgeon (below, left), and his partner, producer Drew Blakeman (right) who were chatting up the actors about their award-winning play, The Baby, which is set to open here in Toronto next month.  http://thebabyliveonstage.com/  Dan and DrewHere’s internationally renowned flautist, composer and film scorer Ron Korb and his beautiful wife & photographer Jade.20150915_203635 12026688_10153507311771259_781100657_nOne of my favourite photo opps for the actors was this “selfie station” (below), What a great idea.selfie timeI love this photo (below) ….two of my fave party VIPs, ACTRA’s PR Officer Karen Woolridge (left) and Safiya Ricketts (right) who’s on the ACTRA Diversity, TAWC and YEAA committees.

ZnWVaJZJoRoP6A3XXQJ3lj8-MD1jDBNqkULhudSPUhQStand-up comedians/actors Ali Hassan & Dave Merhege (below) shared a few laughs with us.Stand-up comedians & actors Ali Hassan & Dave MerhegeOne of the hardest working men in Toronto showbiz is Bobby DelRio, actor, writer, director, handsome dude about town…you name it, Bobby does it!WOqPUm8SrkiPlcdwok8l-0QB_hQ9mDFB7CLxUHUNgSI

Randi & Barrie Shelson put in an appearance

Randi & Barrie Shelson put in an appearance

The stunning blonde in the firetruck red gown (below right) is Christine Jenna Cilano, Founder/CEO of Bella Life Model Agency of Boston (she whispered to me that she may be opening a Toronto office) who arrived with a cool entourage that included local club entrepreneur David Laxton (at left), musician Rasta Phill, model Lauren Marx and CEO of Madflower Creative, Nico Bacigalupo.yQTyqN5v1kM-GGL44cb2q1rpEy-ZS3tSUHlapNUvgEsHere’s more ACTRA members enjoying themselves, nice and relaxed, having fun and working the red carpet photo opps.OJIRHqd0bVaU4jjGp5R-0ezvQS34_1o2D_17nOsvs4o Ngpwhd_vCvhTyEdxQbBTGmuMnRDQC7F0ISeRF0O-H4U M5okz7jIZUh3Lt_9iFExwjzakOj-hKBPXN3sIsWKjJ0 7-lo5gQJZbh6Im2tm5wv4vwSOR09vejcdy7Q1W-Y93Y,3Veld1wxzYIQ46J9C5ijwMPEcw7TQOyM5LOcX_gcj5w 12033596_10153507312041259_1206314458_n

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CQ2NZh6eEDC4v15zabLZ5D9fTgAVGwhaCh0JSvkjaqkTa-daaah! That’s all I can say about this lovely, funny volunteer who helped keep our energy up while working the red carpet for 3hrs.20150915_191010Below, Raj Girn, publisher of Anokhi Media, one of the night’s sponsors, sparkled and shimmered. I remember attending the launch party for her successful luxury magazine, Anokhi Vibe, several years ago and I’m so happy for her success in such a tough market.20150915_211317More fun, fabulous party people….dxiTeCXwn7q97BTGIbrg-c4L6VRZJJl_oTMoDHPWN14 bGQwPS_aQoqgTdzdn81ZsOipvox3dBGfnA6x-wBfFTU aOgoU_g8nJJzmNVZ8zYzAiVgpMCYIDvV-bNuKXwGWUQNow…a big thank-you to to all the event sponsors and partners for making the soiree so successful.ACTRA logo Diversity Logo copy TAWC Logo copy YEAA Logo2 copy

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d'alessio logo copy flow water sdtclogo copy st royal copyAnd congratulations to all the amazing volunteers who worked so hard to pull off such a fun, glamorous event. Bravo, and a big standing O to you all!dlhiCKZOOhmYqP3LlMxvXmGVJpRBli8PRaejNptgJJM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HITTING THE RED CARPET @ ACTRA TORONTO’S TIFF PARTY (Pt.1)

The war cry last night was “ACTRA Gets Loose”! And judging by all the happy smiling faces on the glammed-up guests, all members of Toronto’s acting elite and film industry pro’s had a blast at the Hangloose Media Studios!WtksRsRxX5IC5GN--9A-gJCT7DQ0M1_OwNntYEhKZNs

2eBO2I3L8qXEjLKQaXS9Jidz94XkQxKl6Xwo20r5cR8bF1sl7qIoLrJ96bUNeB8bRfMMC_j3E4LOqmL1H5F1Ck My photographer, Gabriella Luchetta, and I arrived early to check out the studios and Gabs made a bee-line for the yummy candy buffet…20150915_18552420150915_185531We were introduced to the charming Fode Bangoura (below), ACTRA member and our “minder” for the night. Isn’t he handsome?Fode BangouraI, of course, had to try making an entrance on the red carpet prior to all the celebs….LIlgqCzSXjjJ1WQxrG-UeEtNhEbb3M39eiPq1LkqnvkOrganized by 3 groups within the ACTRA organization (Young Emerging Actors Assembly, Diversity and Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee), my access to the party was thanks to Sarena Parmar (below) who Gabs snapped just before she disappeared to change into her party gear.with Sarena ParmarFirst to arrive was Art Hindle, one of Canada’s great film and TV actors and, who I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, was one of my “crushes” in the 80’s when he starred in the hit TV series, E.N.G.  Here he is (below) with his lovely wife Brooke, and the hosts of SiriusXM’s What She Said, Kate Wheeler and Christine Bentley (bottom pic)HW-tBSQgh6fhev2rnys9kcdy4-OTRyc8yrcHLWymrNo,qPvlOgB7ykyAqN6LfOmh9CKHdHrG4gDQm98Klp9Jbnc 20150915_191209 20150915_192659Then Kate grabbed Art for a quick interview (below)…20150915_192242And then it all started – so many beautiful ladies in their finest party frocks…so many handsome men all spit’n’polished ready for their close-ups.Z9nRhEY0JM_J-dzkqr4FDBzryWMS4xsNKJU0zcS0j_c,5GDHdoN_S_XIafBZ2Pppg-YtRqkP0jG9ef6WBTVX9jU

Michelle Latimer, Melina Laboucan, Jarrett Martineau, Nikki Sanchez

Michelle Latimer, Melina Laboucan, Jarrett Martineau, Nikki Sanchez

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Amy Hines & Ange Green

Amy Hines & Ang Green

Lots of film casts attend en masse like the actors from Beeba Boys (below)Beeba Boys 2

gLEmoUXRJ32p5JHsrr8rbucfE9097yz-_FjX4OzmNs4 P6ObzT67pJeI0ThSG4rVG6Sl70LjaEn9lMKeqtxf2vI,5fGZ2UWpse8xwS8aM-kbTjSq-nJIekCuZws7ye4DbcoAnd the stunning Amanda S (below) set all hearts a-flutter in this sexy red gown…Amanda SHere is the dashing trio of Jack Newman, Julian Richings & John Nelles – betcha you’ve seen their faces in numerous films and TV spots….now you know their names!Jack Newman, Julian Richings, John NellesCute-as-a-button actor Ally Williams (below) arrived in this gorgeous yellow silk number, and she even brought her dress designer, Azalea Yang, with her.Ally Williams

20150915_212442I got a chance to meet other media reps working the red carpet – here’s Ruzanna of ForFilmsSake.comZYuQGmDpvSmOWLO486F4UrT1MHQ1qp6a7D7nwfnehBIAnd here I meet actor Shanti Dhore and her beautiful daughter Leila who is also an actor.h3SQrZi8A6q_7oJ3cQUHzuhYFxux8IoZnynh5pHKMqo,MWic01qsfeDjFvizb6zC0nIGsFVG-WX_AHkC-C5bAukAnd the young lady who owns every TIFF red carpet these days…the amazing and talented actor/producer Katie Boland (below) 20150915_204811

KatieI even managed to find a fan of my own, too!6dq6n-JxWUpjR_m0Eju4FuqjCbL2hI6hlcKPtDcUzvwHere’s Cristina Rosato with her gorgeous date…g3cuJPd-v4n8IO2oUC26uPZohkonMmjD0xxyCLY4Kh0,jIALM25FUtw1ORSbpRMWVSIiM_U44RUq3W3osZoruWsAnd here’s super elegant Talia Schlanger wearing a dress by Hilary Macmillan and necklace by Atelier Bymm glaA1hQ4vBIhNGPip2ods53eMHlv5p6oCGL7QadgPNgActor Simu Liu (Omega, Nikita) brought his pretty date and promoted his upcoming TV series “Blood and Water”1BsjbAQUY4lJoT-fF0J5LN5CI782NJl5eBPycbfnyAs,mquStS-uCNvuUulXN7vzMIdbclw4Ipl8K6Z1EWQqHEg (1)Lots more pics to post, so check back later for Pt. II. In the interim, am sending out a big thanks to the ladies of 20Twenty Artistry for keeping us all pretty and fresh faced throughout the night.20150915_190908

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OUT THERE @ TIFF WITH THE FABULOUS MELISSA DIMARCO

And so the dance begins….20150911_133522

20150911_133526The fans are lining up outside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (above) in hopes of spying visiting celebs during the Toronto Int’l Film Festival (TIFF) – the annual high holidays for the movie industry.

Got a great start to my TIFF’ing this year…I got to visit the media hospitality suites in the Hotel Intercontinental on Front St West and my first stop was the www.OutThereWithMelissa.com suite, hosted by the gorgeous, friendly MELISSA DIMARCO (yes, she’s even prettier in person).

Her team of hosts (below) welcomed me to the suite and I had fun with the photo wall….can’t wait to see how “fabulous” they made me look – only hope their Photoshop program was working overtime..LOL!20150911_134618

20150911_134627Downstairs, there was lots of schmoozing going on, as well as tons of nibblies and sponsor drinkies….20150911_134943

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20150911_13501920150911_135023…and more networking opps with industry folks like Dixon and Bruce (below)20150911_135412and I caught these two fellas below mid-chew (sorry)…. LOL20150911_135548Young ACTRA party organizer Sarena Parmar (below right) was working the room like a pro!20150911_135614…and here she is again with Rodger Edralin of Napintas Films (centre) and one of the numerous casting guys (left) in town over the next 10 days.20150911_135634Here are more of Melissa’s great team of room hosts and her official photographer (below right) who looks quite a bit like Chrissy Teigen, don’t you think?20150911_135652

20150911_135700Sadly I left the party a bit too early as I missed fellow countryman and Oscar-winner, Geoffrey Rush (below with Melissa )Geoffrey RushAussie star Rush is famous for The King’s Speech and numerous other films but I will always remember him for his award-winning portrayal of pianist David Helfgott in the movie SHINE which holds a special place in my heart. It’s based in my home town of Perth, Western Australia, and I remember seeing the real David play in the piano bar of the Parmelia Hotel which I frequented after work in the early 70’s (I was under-age to drink booze but kids and dogs were allowed in hotel bars in Oz – civilized or what, eh?). G’day, Geoffrey…if you need any Vegemite or Lamingtons, I got a stash here!

As I left the suites I ran into the adorable and super talented Katie Boland who was making her exit with her hands full of goodie bags. Such a pretty dress!20150911_142502So a really big thanks to Melissa and the Out There with Melissa DiMarco gang, and a special thank you to Caron Nightingale, Director of Sales for APM Canada (one of the suite’s sponsors), who kindly extended the invitation to me.  Check out what APM does here:  http://www.apmmusic.com/  

I’m looking fwd to visiting the ladies of Sirius XM’s What She Said next week so check back for more TIFF news.20150911_141038