All for the Good Header Image

March 2009

Philanthropy Starts With A Good Education

Brett Ratner has made a name for himself as one of the most successful young directors around, with such recent smash hits as Rush Hour 3 and X-Men: The Last Stand, as well as forays into the photography world, with his coffee-table book The Hillhaven Lodge: The Photo Booth Pictures. Here, he sits down to tell Haute Living about his life’s passions.

HL What made you get into film and photography?

BR Growing up in Miami Beach, I would skip school and go to the set of Miami Vice. And the first movie I was on the set of was Scarface, so at that moment I knew I was going to be a director-from a young age. As for photography, what I am is a storyteller, and I use my filmmaking capabilities to tell stories. So that’s why my photography sticks out, because I tell a story with one picture.

HL Tell us about your relationship with Alvin Malnik.

BR Al Malnik was my biggest inspiration, and I’ve known him since I was a little baby. I used to spend every New Year at The Forge sitting next to him. Not only was he the smartest guy I knew growing up, he was also the coolest. He taught me tremendous morals and a work ethic, and he was a part of inspiring me to use my brain and to be fearless. Also, if there’s one thing I learned from Al, it’s to give back and help people. I’ve never met a person in my life who is more giving of himself, his time, and his energy-and gracious-than Al. It’s no surprise he’s turned Make-A-Wish into such a big event. Above all else, Al Malnik is a philanthropist and he has inspired that in me.

HL We hear that you played a role in Al finding true love?

BR Yes-Nancy. The film he asked me to do, he used the film to get closer to Nancy. I’ll always cherish that film and I think it’s my best work because Al found true happiness because of that film. That film, we shot it all in Al’s house, and it was the first time I ever directed a real movie. We locked ourselves in his house for two weeks-it was the first time I bonded with Al, he wasn’t just a father figure, he was a friend. And Al got a wife and a lovely family out of it. That film, which is ironically called The Good Life, that really led to the good life.

HL What projects are you coming out with?

BR I am doing a series of documentaries on directors, the first will be The Work of Brett Ratner, it will have all my short films and music videos.

HL Any upcoming projects on the horizon?

BR My next movie will be Playboy: The Life of Hugh Hefner. There’s a writers’ strike now, but that will be the next one. I find myself also wanting to do a sequel to The Hillhaven Lodge: The Photo Booth Pictures too. I love music videos, too-I love music. I love commercials, I love short films-any medium of story telling that I can be a part of, I want to be a part of.

HL And we hear you are venturing out into business with Al’s son, Shareef?

BR I am not much of a businessman, but I love the restaurant and casino business. So who better to join forces with than Shareef Malnik, and we plan to launch The Forge in Las Vegas. It will eventually expand all over the world, but right now I think Vegas is the ideal market for The Forge. I call Shareef a raconteur, because he’s the ultimate host. The Forge could be the next global brand the way that Nobu is a global brand. And it doesn’t work without Shareef-he is the face of The Forge. He is the restaurateur version of what I do.

HL Tell us about your approach to life and work.

BR For me, I do what I love, and for every person that’s successful, it’s because they’re doing what they love, when they put passion into it. When you love something, it shows and works. I don’t think I could ever get bored of what I do because it’s what inspires me, and I’m always creating, whether it’s a book, or it’s a photograph, or a campaign for a company. I feel like right now since I’m in the center of it all, I know what they see and what they feel.

Make-A-Wish 14th Annual Ball – Alvin & Nancy Malnik

Amidst the glamour and dazzle of the 14th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball one thing was clear – each and every guest attending the event was there for the children.

And Boca Raton residents Alvin and Nancy Malnik are no exception.  Their continued support for the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida is just one of the many ways the couple shows that when it comes to helping children, charity comes from the heart.

“This is about the children and doing everything possible to make a difference in their lives,” said Alvin Malnik.  “When you see a child smile and realize how much these wishes mean to them, you know that you’ve got to help.”

The November 8, 2008 event, which raised $1.6 million, featured a mystical-themed dinner, musical performance by The Honey Brothers, and an extravagant live auction emceed by reality television star Kim Kardashian.

Event committee members Norm Wedderbum, president and chief executive officer of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida; Gala Host and InterContinental Miami General Manager, Jack Miller; and event chairman Shareef Malnik proprietor of The Forge joined together to honor Alvin and Nancy Malnik’s pledge of continued support as lifetime benefactors for the organization.

Wish benefactor James Ferraro, grand benefactors Stanley and Gala Cohen, founding benefactors Howard and Barbara Glicken, and corporate benefactor Robert Press of Trafalgar Capital Advisors were also honored during the event.

Following the ball, Shareef Malnik and Michael Capponi lead the celebration of the evening’s success by turning the Chopin Ballroom into the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub.  Kim Kardashian and The Honey Brothers also joined in to host the venue featuring a fashion show by designer Richie Rich and a performance by New York cult-favorite Tokyo Diiva.

Both Al and Nancy Malnik enjoyed the glamorous and entertaining evening and say their focus and commitment to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the children their programs help, runs deep.  “We’re honored to be involved with and contribute to the success of this wonderful organization.”

Intercontinental Miami Make-a-wish Ball Featuring Live Auction Emceed By Kim Kardashian


14th Annual Ball brings star power to South Florida and raises money for deserving children throughout the region

On Saturday, November 8, 2008, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida and InterContinental Miami will celebrate the 14th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball with a mystical-themed dinner, musical performance by The Honey Brothers, extravagant live auction emceed by Kim Kardashian, and the debut of the Ball’s InterContinental Make-A-Wish Nightclub hosted by Miami nightlife impresarios Michael Capponi and Shareef Malnik. Watching over the bidding war will be Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who will also be appearing as a guest honoree at this year’s Ball.

This year’s Intercontinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball has once again been made possible by the committee’s star players and “The Three Amigos” – President/CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, Norm Wedderburn, InterContinental Miami General Manager and Gala Host Jack Miller, and Ball Chairman Shareef Malnik, proprietor of The Forge. Also honored at this year’s Ball will be Lifetime Benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik, Wish Benefactor James Ferraro, Grand Benefactors Stanley and Gala Cohen, Founding Benefactors Howard and Barbara Glicken, and Corporate Benefactor Robert Press of Trafalgar Capital Advisors.

“This year’s event is destined to be the most memorable yet,” said Norm Wedderburn, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. “With a “who’s who” guest list of Miami VIPs, our most generous and loyal benefactors in attendance, and an extraordinary line-up of auction items, I am confident we will exceed the amount of money raised last year. Our ability to grant the wishes of hundreds of children in South Florida would not be possible without the time, dedication and heart-felt generosity of our host committee and local community.”

The evening will begin with a lavish cocktail reception featuring hors d’oeuvre stations created by the InterContinental’s Executive Chef Alexander Feher, spirits provided by Southern Wine & Spirits, and the renowned silent auction of 120 premier items donated by top hospitality, entertainment, fashion and luxury brands, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bal Harbour, Tiffany & Co., Ocean Reef Club, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Christian Dior, to name a few. Numerous InterContinental Hotels worldwide will also be providing gift certificates for the auction. For the first time ever, the Ball will offer a “Buy it Now” option, enabling guests to forego the bidding process and purchase items on the spot for a disclosed price tag.

Following the cocktail reception, Executive Chef Alexander Feher will honor attendees with an indulgent five-course meal. Guests will feast on Cold Water Lobster a la Marche with Creole Mayo, Herb and Lettuce Bundle with Citrus Vinaigrette, a main course of Filet of Beef with Gorgonzola on Polenta Disk with Potato Gratin with Madeira Reduction, as well as Rum-Infused Pineapple with Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Cup with Espresso Mousse and Chocolate Bonbon for dessert. The dinner gala will include beats by Miami Heat’s own resident DJ Irie and an action-packed live auction hosted by Kim Kardashian, star of Keeping up with the Kardashians and former contestant on Dancing with the Stars, who has contributed one of her own Catherine Malandrino dresses to be auctioned at the benefit. A-list celebrities and Miami’s top VIPs and philanthropists will be bidding on a series of luxurious items, including an 2009 Aston Martin DBS and six high-end vehicle rentals donated by THE COLLECTION; an Aspen home rental provided by Edward Freedman; a gentleman’s watch provided by celebrity jeweler Jacob & Co.; a package of 10 Lasik procedures by “surgeon to the stars” Dr. Cory Lessner of Millennium Laser Eye Centers; a private party for 500 with full bar, courtesy of The Opium Group; a wine excursion provided by Southern Wine & Spirits with accommodations courtesy of InterContinental Hotels; and a walk-on role on the hit cable TV show Entourage, courtesy of cast member, actor Kevin Connelly.

In true InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball tradition, the grand finale of the event will feature live music entertainment for the after-dinner crowd to enjoy. The Honey Brothers, featuring actor Adrian Grenier on drums, will perform a number of tracks that will be sure to fill the dance floor. The five-member band will perform the Florida premier of “Won’t Last Long,” a single from the band’s forthcoming album that includes Adrian Grenier himself on vocals.

Bruce Sutka of Sutka Productions will transform the ballroom at The InterContinental Miami into a mystical enchanted forest evoking a magical world of fantasy and mythology. Tables will be adorned in exotic tapestries featuring vibrant flower centerpieces, complete with intertwining, lush green vines and floating candles, emulating the blossoming gardens of these fantasy-like worlds. The ballroom will be populated by a variety of mythical fauna and little people guiding guests throughout the night by the sounds of their trumpets, to further enthrall guests into the magical realm. The signature InterContinental Miami ice sculpture will adorn the mezzanine level with an enormous presence, displaying a feast of seafood and sushi.

Following the Ball and for the first time in Intercontinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball’s history, the invitation-only after-party at InterContinental Make-A-Wish Nightclub will be held to celebrate the Ball’s endeavors and reintroduce the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida to its next generation of contributors and Miami’s premier buzz creators in the fashion, arts, music and nightlife industries. Hosted by Kim Kardashian, The Honey Brothers, along with nightlife impresarios Michael Capponi and Shareef Malnik. The InterContinental Miami’s Chopin Ballroom will be turned into a hip after-hours venue with giant disco balls, progressive DJ beats and a mini fashion show by cutting-edge designer Richie Rich, who recently launched his Celebutante label.

The mission of the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Florida is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. In its 13-year history, the InterContinental Make-A-Wish Ball has raised in excess of $6 million. With these much needed funds, the Foundation has been able to grant more than 1,400 wishes for deserving children in our community. Past VIP guests of the Ball have included Sharon Stone, Scottie and Larsa Pippen, Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons, Venus and Serena Williams, Don King, Sex in the City’s Candace Bushnell, Marcus Schenkenberg, Pauly Shore, and performers Macy Gray, Natalie Cole and Wyclef Jean, as well as Bernadette Peters, the late Nel Carter, Andrea McCardle, Rikki Lake and Deborah Gibson.

Fairies, satyrs, Charlie Crist, Alvin Malnik at Make-A-Wish ball 08

Written By Jose Lambiet from Page 2 Live

With all due respect to Palm Beach, the world’s capital of the black-tie gala, Ocean Ridge check-cashing store king Alvin Malnik’s yearly Make-a-Wish shindig in Miami is fast becoming the best and most imaginative in South Florida.

Bar none.

To raise in the middle of a recession $1.5 million or so – that’s more than twice the loot of the average Palm Beach fund-raiser! – organizers allowed West Palm Beach party designer Bruce Sutka to go wild.

Result: Cocktail time Saturday night in the lobby of the Intercontinental downtown Miami was in a built-from-scratch “enchanted forest” straight out of The Chronicles of Narnia, with actors dressed as fairies and satyrs and centaurs and werewolves and butterflies and rocks and an ice queen.

As the likes of Gov. Charlie Crist, HBO’s Entourage star Adrien Grenier, designer Richie Rich, reality TV’s Kim Kardashian and former Gov. Bob Graham strolled through, they found what appeared to be a fountain sculpture come alive. Or a bush with human eyes.

Long-haired Norm Gitzen, a Lake Worth artist who made news in 2005 when the Village of Wellington banned his sculpture of a well-endowed mermaid from a village building, actually played a half-man, half-horse. He designed it for Halloween years ago.

“Someone once tried to light my tail on fire,” he said, “but this is not the kind of party where that’d happen.”

The food wasn’t too shabby either. Nice touch: An array of ice creams with flavors most people wouldn’t want to touch but did after a taste: olive oil, pepperoni, and garlic.

The conversation, meanwhile, turned to politics. It was, after all, President-elect Barack Obama’s fourth day on the transition job.

“My guy didn’t win, but President-elect Obama is my guy, too,” said Crist, who was eyed by GOP presidential hopeful John McCain as a potential vice president. “We need to work together to go forward.”