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November 2009

Palm Beach International Film Festival

From 2003 – Palm Beach International Film Festival Website:

The 8th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival attracted huge audiences, far outnumbering last year’s attendance. The success of this year’s festival created a whole new level of awareness and recognition not only in Palm Beach County, Florida, but in the entertainment industry as well.

The fest opened Thursday, April 3, 2003 with “The Kid Stays In The Picture” presented by legendary producer Robert Evans. Commissioner Burt Aaronson announced to the audience that the PBIFF has turned over a check for $100,000 to Film and Television Education Programs for the schools throughout Palm Beach County.

An enthusiastic swarm of fans eagerly awaited the arrival of Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody outside the Mizner Park Theater where Brody introduced the festival’s screening of Roman Polanski’s multi-award-winning film, “The Pianist.” Alex Simon from Venice Magazine moderated a passionate Q&A session with the audience members.

The audience attending Saturday night’s Grand Gala ceremony at the Palm Beach International Film Festival at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, was treated to a surprise visit by such stars as Brett Ratner, Chris Tucker, Carol Alt, David DeLuise, Alvin Malnik, Michael Jackson and host Cady Mc Clain as honors were awarded to Oscar winner Adrien Brody, silent film legend Fay Wray, producer/writer/actor Robert Evans and producer Suzanne DeLaurentiis. Brody graciously accepted his honor for Performance of the Year with the same elegance that rivaled his infamous Oscar speech. Evans received a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by director Brett Ratner, Fay Wray received the Legend in Film award. and Suzanne DeLaurentiis received the Founder’s Award.

With over 90 films to choose from, there was certainly something for everybody! Filmgoers turned out in record numbers to see such films as “The Bachelorman,” (that had David DeLuise and producer/writer/ actor Rodney Lee Conover working the streets), “Broadway: The Golden Age,” (Fay Wray came to talk about the film to a sold-out crowd, along with director Rick McKay), “Annihilation of Fish” (with standout performances by Lynn Redgrave and James Earl Jones), “Coney Island Baby,” (directed by Amy Hobby, who recently produced “Secretary” and “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing”), “5 Card Stud,” (with Khrystine Haje attending), “Kissed By A Crocodile” (made by Aussie Wendy Dent, focusing on how western tourism is changing the face of Bali and their traditional family culture) and “Movie Hero,” (a fascinating tale of a man who is convinced his life is a movie). Attendees also sought out more serious fare such “Klezmer on Fish Street,” “Small Voices,” “Season Of Youth,” “The Egoists” and “The Last Reunion: A Gathering of Heroes.”

Over 700 people attended an encore presentation of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” outdoors at the Old School Square Pavilion.

The short films drew a particularly enthusiastic crowd throughout the week with such popular offerings as “Polaroid” “Home,” “Salaryman,” “Today You Are A Fountain Pen,” “Over My Dead Body,” and “The Wedding Bout.” The talent showcased by many of these directors is sure to elevate them to a new level of filmmaking!

Word of mouth about the exceptional lineup of films has reached beyond Palm Beach, garnering interest from various studios requesting to see several of this year’s entriessomething every film festival aspires to do.

The week concluded with several well-attended events, ranging from a Latin-themed party at the popular Oceans 11 following the screenings of “12 Horas,” (for which ex-Menudo star Charlie Mass came in from Puerto Rico) and “Los Zafiros,” to a beach party at Canopy Palms on Singer Island at which pop sensation Heather (who currently has a song rapidly rising on the charts) performed.

The closing night festivities started with a screening of Alan Rudolph’s newest film, “The Secret Lives of Dentists,” starring Denis Leary, Campbell Scott and Hope Davis, followed by a Wrap Party at the Old School Square in Delray Beach. The Film Awards were presented at the party, emceed by Rodney Lee Conover, producer/writer/co-star of “Bachelorman.” (The list of winning films is attached.) The crowd, which consisted of filmmakers, press, volunteers and festival attendees partied the night away! The Awards ceremony was sponsored by WCI Communities and the Closing Night event was sponsored by the City of Delray Beach and Old School Square.

The 8th Annual PBIFF became a competitive forum for the first time. The jury consisted of three individuals from different areas of the business. The jury was headed by national journalist Luke Sader, and was accompanied Terry Tharpe of Sony Pictures and Gregg Chabot, writer of “Reign of Fire.”

The 2003 PBIFF Award winners

SMALL VOICES (Mea Munting Tinig) Directed, produced and cowritten by Gil M. Portes.

Documentary Feature
THE LAST REUNION: A GATHERING OF HEROES, Directed by Brent Wilson. Producer Robert Reese

Short Subject
TODAY YOU ARE A FOUNTAIN PEN, Written and directed by Dan Katzir.

Gil M. Portes, SMALL VOICES.

Gil M. Portes, Adolfo B. Alix, Jr. and Senedy H. Que, SMALL VOICES.

Jonathan Bennett, SEASON OF YOUTH, Directed by Eric Perlmutter.

Lynn Redgrave, THE ANNIHILATION OF FISH, Directed by Charles Burnett.

Special Jury Prize
KLEZMER ON FISH STREET Directed by Yale Strom. Producer Elizabeth Schwartz.

Audience Favorite Awards

BACHELORMAN, Co-producer/co-writer/co-star Rodney Lee Conover.

BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE, BY THE LEGENDS WHO WERE THERE, Directed by Rick McKay, who was on hand to accept the award.

Short Film
KILLING PEDRO RIVERA, Written and directed by Austin Stark and Jeffrey Karp, who were on hand to accept the award.

Kick-Off Event for 15th Annual Make-A-Wish Ball

More than 200 of South Florida’s top philanthropists and supporting VIPs attended the Kick-Off event for the 15th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball on Thursday, May 21 at InterContinental Miami.  Norman Wedderburn, President/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida and Shareef Malnik, owner of The Forge restaurant and returning Gala Chair of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, together announced the theme for this year’s Ball, “Imagine,” inspired by John Lennon’s influential song promoting peace and hope.

The Ball continues to signify an unprecedented partnership between InterContinental Miami and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Gala Host, Jack Miller, General Manger of the InterContinental Miami, graciously underwrote the entire cost of the Kick-Off event again this year.  “Last year’s ball raised a record $1.6 million for South Florida’s children in need. In the Ball’s 15-year history, the event has raised more than $7.6 million and granted more than 1,600 wishes to children in our community,” said Miller. “Our partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida is the vehicle through which lasting memories are created and dreams come true for these very special children.”

“We appreciate the support of everyone who attended the reception and those generous individuals who helped make wishes come true through their continued support of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball,” said Wedderburn. “As always, we hope to raise a record amount this year to fulfill the wishes of children in Southern Florida who are battling life-threatening medical conditions.”

Esteemed guests at the event included Lifetime Benefactor Al Malnik, entertainment sponsor Antonio Misuraca, Make-A-Wish Foundation Chairman of The Board Robby Elias, Wish Foundation Chairman of the Board of Directors Ben Eisenberg, Founder of the Ferraro Law Firm and Wish Benefactor of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball James Ferraro, couturier Rene Ruiz, Lady Monica Heftler, restaurateur Fabian Basabe and avid Make-A-Wish supporters Howard and Barbara Glicken, Jillian Dinnerstein and Jonathan Basicka. Guests also enjoyed cocktails and an elegant spread that included a kobe beef carving station, raw seafood bar with stone crabs and tiger shrimp and exotic miniature desserts.  Each guest received a triple-dipped chocolate covered strawberry in tribute to the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which was originally inspired by the name of a Salvation Army Children’s Home just around the corner of Lennon’s childhood home in London. Celebrity DJ Irie provided the beats and was thanked for his commitment and support to The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida.

“On behalf of the Foundation, I would also like to thank my father Al Malnik and step-mother Nancy for their unwavering support,” announced Shareef Malnik. “Thank you also to Mr. Jim Ferraro who sponsored 40 wishes at last year’s event and Mr. Stuart Miller who sponsored 20 wishes. Because of their involvement and that of everyone in this room, the Ball has historically been hugely successful and we need your participation more than ever. In addition to attending the Ball, we ask that you consider sponsoring one or more wishes. Each wish has a profound impact on a child and his or her family. For the modest cost of $5,000, you have the ability to make a sick child forget about their medical condition by focusing on their most heartfelt wish coming true.” Malnik then introduced his father, Lifetime Benefactor Al Malnik, who also encouraged guests to experience the magic of granting a wish. The evening closed with heartfelt speeches by Wish Kids Kinsley Laurent and Marina Diez, testifying to the impact such generous donations have made upon their young lives.

Bruce Sutka of Sutka Productions has again been commissioned to produce the décor for this year’s soiree following his creation of a magical experience at last year’s mystical garden-themed Ball. Guests attending this year’s Ball can expect their “Imagine” experience to begin the minute they arrive at InterContinental Miami’s limo-lined porte-cochere. The excitement will continue throughout the mezzanine reception with an elaborate silent auction. The Ball will build up to a glittering crescendo in the Grand Ballroom where more than 800 of the most glamorous and big-hearted philanthropists will be dazzled by what will await them, including a live auction featuring a Ferrari California, donated by Ken Gorin of The Collection. Following the Ball will be an invitation-only after-party at InterContinental Make-A-Wish Nightclub 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.

Tables for the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball range from $5,000 to $20,000, and for the past four consecutive years, seats have been sold out two months prior to the event. Wish Sponsors range from $5,000 to $100,000. Tables, wishes and other sponsorship opportunities can be purchased by calling 954.967.9474 extension 318 or by visiting

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida grants the wishes of children who have life-threatening medical conditions, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Covering a 13-county territory of Southern Florida, the chapter’s goal is to grant more than 540 wishes this year. For more information, contact the Foundation at (888) 773-WISH or log on to