Tag Archives: TIFF

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TIFF-ADJACENT “TORONTO ECO 2017″ PRESENTS WOMEN FILMMAKERS SHARING THEIR STORIES

Thanks to friend and filmmaker NOEMI WEIS, I was invited to attend the “Toronto Eco 2017″ presentations this afternoon taking place during the massive Toronto Int’l Film Festival. Noemi was asked to sit on a panel of women filmmakers talking about their experiences getting films made and just getting the gigs themselves. 20170912_160315Pictured above from L to R: Kate Perotti (Edendale Pictures), Blythe Frank (Middle Kid Inc.), Nancy Puetz (Int’l Women in Film + Tennessee chapter President ), moderator and host of Toronto Eco 2017 Hal “Corky” Kessler (Deutsch, Levy & Engel/Exec. Producer of numerous box office hits), then Christin Baker (award-wining director & Emmy-nom’d  producer) and award-winning filmmaker Noemi Weis (Filmblanc)

Sitting in such prestigious company, I found it fascinating hearing the opinions of each filmmaker as she shared the challenges experienced and triumphs to be celebrated working in a male-dominated industry where women are constantly forced to demand equality both on-screen and behind the camera. The small but attentive audience contributed well-targeted questions and had Corky not reminded us of time-constraints, I’m sure we could have continued for another hour.

Christin Baker (L) with Noemi Weis (R)

Christin Baker (L) with Noemi Weis (R)

Following this panel was an interesting informal “pitch” panel featuring 2 Toronto-based established filmmakers (Coral Aiken & Hannah Cheesman), who were seeking script development $s for their new project that will definitely appeal to the young adult/millennial audiences. Moderated again by Corky, the panel featured Noemi and Strath Hamilton, CEO of TriCoast Worldwide distribution company, as well as a representative from the Italian film distribution industry (apologies, I did not get his name as he was not introduced).20170912_171316As Coral and Hannah made the pitch, I could already “see” their film and thought about how perfectly suited it was for the massive int’l genre film fest/cos-play/Fan expo crowd and I already know there are number of elements with which I can help them (Laura Rock, be prepared for a phone call!).20170912_171822After this panel concluded with a rousing round of applause, several of the panelists gathered for some group photos…

(LtoR) Coral, Strath, Hannah & Corky

(LtoR) Coral, Strath, Hannah & Corky

Below, director/screen writer Katia Cafe-Febrissy (L) with Barrister & Solicitor Terry Markus, Noemi and director/writer/producer Nikki Cole getting chummy after the event.20170912_172722Thanks to Noemi for the invite, and thanks to all the participants for giving me an afternoon of intense filmmaking insider views and shared experiences.

To watch these videotaped panels, log on to: www.torontoeco.tv

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NOLLYWOOD FILMMAKER & STAR OMONI OBOLI ATTENDS CITY TO CITY PRESS CONFERENCE @ TIFF16

Yesterday, Nollywood’s finest converged on the TIFF Bell Lightbox – HQ for the annual Toronto Int’l film Festival – where a panel of filmmakers representing Nigeria’s sizzling movie industry spoke about their films being showcased at TIFF this year, as well as the challenges involved in attracting international audiences and distributors.20160913_115247Award-winning writer~director~producer and actor, Omoni Oboli, arrived for her official portrait and a digital interview prior to joining her panel colleagues. Here she’s greeted by event security – 2 of Toronto’s finest – and she couldn’t resists grabbing a quick selfie!20160913_114614She was then escorted into the studio & green room for her official portrait.. Below,I caught her coming out of the photo booth…can’t wait to see the gorgeous portrait on the TIFF website.20160913_115909She met up with the other panelists (below) before being led into the studio that was packed with international film journalists and news outlets!

Don Omope of FilmOne prods/Distribs.

Don Omope of FilmOne prods/Distribs.

Naz Onuzo of Inkblot Prods. & Niyi Akinmolayan of The Arbitration film

Naz Onuzo of Inkblot Prods. & Niyi Akinmolayan of The Arbitration film

Olumide Iyanda

Olumide Iyanda

Moderated by TIFF creative director Cameron Bailey, the panel introduced themselves and their films, then took questions from the media. I was able to grab a few screen-caps via the green room monitor, as did other publicists.

20160913_134449 20160913_135957 20160913_13502620160913_140546After the press conference, the filmmakers enjoyed an ad hoc networking session in the greenroom where they were greeted by Toronto’s favourite son of Nigeria Masai Ujiri – the President and General Manager of the Toronto Raptors basketball team.  Here Omoni spent some time with Mr. Ujiri sharing tweets and Instagram posts.20160913_142959 20160913_143008 20160913_143107We managed to grab a quick interview for Omoni with CBC Television (Canada’s national broadcaster)20160913_144839 20160913_144926Then more friends to greet and important contacts to be made!20160913_130430(0)20160913_12090420160913_144549Thank you to all the friendly and professional staff and volunteers who guided Omoni and myself thru the press conference process. TIFF is truly a world-class festival that treats its guests with such warmth and respect.

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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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ANOTHER GREAT “NOLLYWOOD” FILM FOR THIS YEAR’S TIFF-GOERS TO SEE

For this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 8-18), the focus for their City-to-City program is Lagos, Nigeria – home to “Nollywood” filmmaking. One of the films being featured is 76 helmed by the multi award-winning director Izu Ojukwo, and starring Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Chidi Mokeme, Ibinabo Fiberesima, Memry Savanhu and Daniel Kanayo Daniel.IMG_3500 IMG_351076 is a love story that centers around the challenges women married to men in the armed forces go through when their husbands are captured in war. The 76 story is told using the backdrop of the Nigerian 1976 Dimka’s coup. The movie isn’t about a botched coup attempt but is clearly about the women who are courageous enough to bear a soldier’s last name. It is visually pure, emotionally engaging, intellectually stimulating and humorously therapeutic.

Six years after the Nigerian civil war, Dewa (Ramsey Nouah) a young officer from the middle belt gets entangled in a romantic relationship with Suzy (Rita Dominic) a young lady from the southeastern part of Nigeria. Their budding romance was almost ruptured by the overwhelming strains of tribalism. Now heavily pregnant, her world comes crumbling when news of her husband’s involvement in a botched coup attempt hits the headlines.IMG_3506 IMG_3505 IMG_3514You can check out the official preview trailer here:

Visit the official TIFF website for tickets, screening times and additional information on the City-to-City “Nollywood” programme

www.tiff.net/tiff/

 

 

 

 

 

Okafor's Law red poster flat

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

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

 

 

 

20150909_112051

GLO COMMUNICATIONS HOSTS “MEDIA DAY” PREVIEW OF THEIR BASK-IT-STYLE CELEBRITY GIFT LOUNGE

Every year, I have the privilege of attending a number of media events during the Toronto Int’l Film Festival (TIFF) and today I had the pleasure of visiting the Bask-It-Style celebrity gift lounge presented by GLO Communications (for the seventh year). This year, they’re located in the exclusive Private Estates Above the Shangri-La Hotel….and oh what a view!

20150909_114053Bask-It-Style hand delivers their VIP gift bags to the hotels where the stars are staying during TIFF and this year’s sponsors cover all the want/need bases from beauty to fashion and from food to books. Past celebrities gifted through Bask-It-Style’s hotel partners have included Sir Elton John, Megan Fox, Matt Damon, Ellen Page, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Garner, Julianne Moore and many more.

“We are excited to kick-off the seventh year of Bask-It-Style,” says Jessica Glover, Principal, GLO Communications. “Every year we work with some top brands showcasing new products that we are thrilled to share.”

So here are all the lovely folks who greeted us all today….come enjoy a virtual walk-thru with me and see what fabulous swag the stars enjoy.

First, I was greeted by a lovely “safari guide” who escorted me around this stunning mansion in the sky….20150909_112044…and I was quickly whisked into the NEUTROGENA® room where I was treated to some great product info and samples, courtesy of the two Laura’s (below). www.Neutrogena.ca20150909_112326 20150909_112331 20150909_112513Then I met the mother & son team of Pat & Ian MacDonald (below) of Old Tomorrow, an exciting new Canadian Pale Ale named for the original Canadian Idol – John A. MacDonald (a.k.a. “Old Tomorrow”).  www.oldtomorrow.com  I can’t wait to enjoy my complimentary brewskie now chilling in my fridge!
20150909_112943Next, I met Jeannie and Melissa from the Starlight Children’s Foundation who were promoting the charity’s “Tea & Tiaras” fundraiser in October. Learn all about them at www.starlightcanada.org and www.teaandtiaras.ca 20150909_114002 20150909_114012I was pleased to see some great books and authors represented in the gift lounge, and I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Houston (below), the Marketing Director for DK book publishing [ www.DK.com ]  All the books are beautifully printed and bound – I know what’s going on my list for Santa this year…LOL20150909_114711 20150909_11420120150909_114205These two fabulous ladies (below) immediately caught my eye – I want that purple dress!! Here’s author L.C. Moon (below left) and her BFF composer Lana Chacra (right) who together have created a great book/CD package. LC’s erotic romance, A Bedtime Story, looks like a must-read, and the CD offers the perfect soundtrack for the book. Looking fwd to tuning in and turning the page! 20150909_115414 20150909_11550520150909_115417A Bedtime Story is available via http://thebtsproject.com/

Who doesn’t love dogs? Nobody here, that’s for sure. I was thrilled to meet author Colin Campbell who was autographing copies of his new book “Free Days With George” published by Penguin Random House Canada http://www.freedayswithgeorge.com/ His book tells of how caring for an abused rescue dog ends up rescuing him; a heart-warming tale of a once-nervous un-trusting dog walking into a man’s life and changing his world – for the better. Yep, I’m in!20150909_120219I may have to write a review of Colin’s book for www.theRider.com as I know horsey people are also doggy people, too.

Now let’s hit the fashion studio…follow me.20150909_12035420150909_120512

20150909_120624Gorgeous clothes and accessories from Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein (above) had me aching for my old svelte bod from the 80’s and 90’s, and don’t get me started on the glam Warner’s & Olga unmentionables (below). Their No Side Effects Bra and No Pinches, No Problem Panties are awesome and I’m thrilled to have a few samples for some special ladies (sadly, my big girl knockers wouldn’t fit these lovelies).20150909_120943Love the Van Heusen shirts that offer a little stretch in the collars and the soft Izod sweaters (below). I have a special man in mind for the beautiful sweater I was given. Thanks to Zov and Czery of PVH Corp, the marketing specialists for these heritage brands.20150909_120749

20150909_121207Bling! I see BLING ! Yaaaay, now these will fit me. LOL Here’s Tamara Kronis, designer, gemologist and metalsmith from Studio1098 that’s located up on Yonge St near Rosedale. www.studio1098.com Tamara is currently collaborating with CANFAR by creating a simple wishbone pendant to raise funds.  Here’s Tamara, pictured below left, with the charming rep from CANFAR. Thank you for my beautiful earrings, Tamara.20150909_122126 20150909_122135Coffee, coffee, coffee! Meet John A. Darch, President of Doi Chaang Coffee (below left, with the charming Daliah) the delicious new Beyond Fair Trade organic coffee.  www.doichaangcoffee.com   20150909_123022

20150909_123025Doi Chaang Coffee is a single-estate, premium Arabica coffee. It’s certified organic, shade grown, hand picked, fresh water washed and sun dried. Each bean is hand sorted and freshly roasted to ensure the highest possible quality for each cup. Naturally low in caffeine, it has a complex and flavourful profile that is enhanced and released through detailed cultivating, processing and roasting methods.  Cannot wait to brew up my first batch of the Social Medium beans.

So a BIG THANK YOU to all the gift sponsors I met today (and those who supplied the tasty treats found inside my gift bag when I got home) and an especially big thanks to Jessica and her GLO Communications team for their generous hospitality.   www.glocommunications.ca

20150909_105938Gotta love the Shangri-La Hotel for presenting such an outstanding hospitality suite, too. Now you know why I always refer to it as the Shangri-La Dee-dah (thanks to The Flintstones). Happy TIFF’ing to you all !