Monday, May 21, 2018

ICFF brings Italian films, design and Michelin Chefs from Italy to Canada

The Italian Contemporary Film Festival returns to Canada for it's 7th year.

ICFF isn't just a film festival it brings the culture of Italy to Canada along with it's Contemporary Films, Italian clothing and car design and of course the food.  This year they will fly in 2 Michelin Chefs from Italy for their Parties.  I look forward to this festival because it's a class act.  From the hilarious comedies to the glamorous parties, you feel like you have travelled to Italy and experience being immersed in the Italian Culture. This is a well run festival for being relatively young and is one of the most fun festivals in Toronto.

TORONTO, May 16, 2018 – The Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF), presented by IC Savings, announced its lineup at The Ritz-Carlton, in Toronto, of 107 diverse and acclaimed films; features include shorts and documentaries with a total of 180 screenings - its largest and most ambitious program to date.

The 7th edition of the ICFF will run from 
June 14-22, 2018 and take place in Toronto, Vaughan, Hamilton, Niagara, Ottawa, Montreal, Qu├ębec City and Vancouver.

Artistic Director, Cristiano de Florentiis, declared that this edition will feature a record breaking number of Italian Canadian co-productions, a reflection of the strong bond that exists between the two countries and their shared artistic vision. The seven selected cinematic co-productions will celebrate this, starting with the world premiere of 
Road To The Lemon Grove, a delightful comedy based on a family history in Sicily and directed by Dale Hildebrand.

Andrea Iervolino, producer, founder and president of AMBI, will introduce 
Music of Silence, a film that traces the childhood and early days of Andrea Bocelli's musical career. This co-production will be the closing film of the ICFF’s 2018 program on June 22nd.

ICFF will showcase the best films produced in Italy this year such as: Manetti Bros’ 
Ammore e Malavita / Love and Bullet, the latest movie by Gabriele Muccino A casa tutti bene / Neverland and The Place directed by Paolo Genovese.

Claudio Bisio, renowned actor and comedian, will present the film classic Mediterraneo, winner of an Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film in 1992. Bisio will also be presenting the North American premiere of his Gli sdraiati / Couch Potatoes, the new bittersweet comedy by Francesca Archibugi.

Acclaimed actor and director 
Antonio Albanese will showcase his box office success, the hit comedy Come un gatto in tangenziale / Like a Cat on a Highway that will open the Festival on June 14 at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. Albanese will also be presenting his new comedy Contromano / Against the Flow, which he not only starred in, but also directed.

Two food related films to check out are Il Vegetale and The Last Prosecco.

Italian rapper, singer and actor 
Fabio Rovazzi who is bringing to Canada his first feature film Il Vegetale / The Vegetable, directed by Gennaro Nunziante.
Genre: Comedy | Language: English

Il Vegetale
Fabio Rovazzi is a 24’year’old graduate in Communication Sciences who lives in Milan “with a view of the future”. Fabio is looking for a job, dealing with a cumbersome father and a spoiled little sister, both of whom consider him to be a useless “vegetable”. He is searching for a career that respects his ethical criteria, but he knows that his weak spot is trust, both in himself and in others. An unexpected event will suddenly change everything. Between comical situations and paradoxical finds, our protagonist will have to reinvent his life.

The Last Prosecco
Genre: Comedy-Mystery | Language: Italian | Subtitles: English/French   2017  101 min
The story unravels on the rolling hills where Prosecco grapes are grown; a winemaker Count, fighting to protect his territory, a stubborn half Italian half Persian police inspector; the manager of a cement plant, killed by three gunshots; and a crazy man who scrapes the rust from the tombs in the cemetery. A story about the inheritance of beauty and the value of quality. In 2010, north-east Italy began to feel a recession which nobody had expected. Only one productive sector resisted: Prosecco. This film forces us to remember that anyone who destroys the land destroys the future for everyone.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

10 Tips to treat your MoM like a Queen this Mother's Day

My mom has been gone for just over 7 years but this is a quick video that came up in my Google photos so I thought I would post it for Mother's Day.   I did not edit this video so there are images from various times of the last few year's of my mom's life.

If you mother is still with you and you have a good relationship with her then treat her like a Queen this Mother's Day and every day since you wouldn't be reading this if it wasn't for her.

Most moms just want to spend time with you but if you want to spend time and do some other special things then I have some ideas for you.

Even if you have no time or live apart there is always ordering something online or just sending a card and calling for a long chat.  My mom had difficulty communicating the last couple of years so I would bring her cupcakes or something like that.

1.  Afternoon Tea -  Take your mom to a nice Afternoon Tea or set up a nice afternoon Tea at home with some fancy China and some scones and finger sandwiches and little desserts.

2. Macarons- Pick up a box of fancy Macarons,  these are from Delysees or you can get some from Nadege or Laduree or bring your mom to the Laduree shop at Yorkdale and have her pick out her favourite flavours.

3. Flowers- Flowers are the number 1 gift to give for Mother's Day.  Flowers are great but they don't last long so consider maybe something like a succulent plant or go to a Garden Centre and get some plants and plant a small garden for her either in a container garden for a deck or a balcony.

4.  Salon Services - Consider booking a mani-pedi with your mom even if it's just a mani in side by side chairs it's quality time with your Mom.  If she likes spas book her a massage, facial or even consider booking her a hair appointment if you know her stylist.

5.  Do the Dishes - I am not a mom but boy would I love it if someone would come and do my dishes and clean my house and organize my stuff.  It's time that can be spent on things that are more fun and relazing.

6.  Make Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or Reservations- If you can't cook, make reservations. You don't have to be a fancy cook to make a meal for your mom.  Take simple foods and plate them nicely.

Breakfast - Make dressed up eggs or even Avocado Toast with lots of toppings would be great.  These eggs were scrambled with Gruyere cheese and topped with bacon, green onions and a side of potatoes.

Lunch - You don't have to cook lunch but I am sure you can assemble a nice salad like this one.  You can probably pick up segmented citrus fruits at your local Whole Foods or other similar markets and just cut up some Avocado cubes and add to a salad with a simple or store bought citrus dressing and a quick simple light lunch with crunch topping or side would be fantastic.

Dinner - Great spaghetti and meatballs can even be the way to your mom's heart because who doesn't love some comforting Italian Food.  If you still can't master this then find a great restaurant in your area.

7.  Art - If your mom loves Art get some tickets to the hottest Art Gallery exhibition and let her roam the gift shop for a lovely art trinket.

8.  Gifts -  Sephora has a free birthday gift you can get during your Birthday week, but what about picking up a few of your mom's favourite products or you can get a gift certificate for her to try some new things.

9.  Coffee -  Is your mom a coffee lover?  Find a cosy coffee shop with no wifi and just enjoy some time to catch up over a great cup of coffee.  Send her a coffee card stuffed into a lovely mug or travel mug with some nice cookies on the side.

10.  Her favourite things -  Whether she has a special hobbie or passion or she likes jewellery, shoes or going to the movies or the gym.  Think about the things she chooses to do and give her more time to do those things or do them with her.  The main thing is that it really is the thought that counts whether it's just picking up her favourite food to getting chores done that she doesn't like doing, to going to see a chick flick with her.  Whatever it is put some thought and effort into it, even if it's inexpensive it shows her that you made an effort to do something nice for her because you care about her. 

Queen for a Day and Everyday!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

3 Food Films to see at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival


The Toronto Jewish Film Festival runs from May 3-13, 2018 and I had a chance to review 3 of the food related films showing at the festival this week. 

The one thing all 3 of these films have in common is the sharing of food and the connection between people and how it develops community and family with the people sharing the food.  From a drama to a couple of fun documentary short films, food is at the centre of the heart of these films but maybe not the most important thing.

The Cakemaker (Drama)

May 9th - 8:30PM
Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk 9

Country: Germany, Israel
Year: 2017  Running Time: 104 min.
Language: Hebrew, German, English Subtitles: English
Director: Ofir Raul Graizer
Cast:  Tim Kalkhof, Sarah Adler, Roy Miller

The Cakemaker is a man who works in a cafe in Berlin who meets a customer from Jerusalem who works in Berlin.  They develop a relationship but the man from Jerusalem also has a family in Jerusalem.  The man returns to Jerusalem but there is an accident that changes a series of events for the Cakemaker and the Berlin man's family.  This is a story of bonding through food, family, truth, loyalty and following one's passion. This is a very interesting story with religious customs being at the centre of the conflict but with a hidden secret hanging over it.

Bella! Did Ya Eat?: The Story of Judy Perly and Free Times Cafe (Documentary)

 May 10 - 3:30PM
Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk 9
May 13 - 2:30PM
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema

 Judy Perly has owned the Free Times Cafe for decades and is a staple fixture of the Toronto restaurant scene.  She is funny, and has tenacity to keep her restaurant going through tough times and to build a community along the way.

Wendy's Shabbat

Country: United States
Year: 2017  Running Time 10 min.
Language: English
Director: Rachel Myers
Cast:  Gussman Gerri, Sharon & Michael Goodman, Roberta Mahler, Lou Silberman, Barrister Winston, Rabbi Isaiah Zeldin

A group of seniors decide that they should have their Friday Shabbat dinner at their local Wendy's Restaurant and with a very accomodating Manager's permission it becomes a regular friday night Shabbat that grows and develops into a gathering place for new and old friends to pray and break bread, literally.  They laugh and bond over Challah and enjoy their weekly Shabbat dinners together.

For more information and for the Film Schedule check out the 

TJFF Website at:

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Game Changers -changing our view of meat

At first glance I didn't think that Game Changers a film about a UFC fighter James Wilks, would be a film that I would be interested in but after hearing a bit more about the subject matter of the film I became a lot more interested and was finally able to catch the last screening at the Hot Docs Film Festival on a Saturday afternoon.

The film had an amazing team that included Oscar winner Louis Psihoyos (The Cove),  Executive Producer James Cameron and James Wilks was also the Producer and main subject. 

Game Changers focuses on an elite, mostly male athletes to explode the myth that animal protein is required for maximum physical strength, performance and sexual prowess. Scientists and experts join Olympians, UFC fighters, weightlifters and marathoners whose switch to vegetarian and vegan diets has achieved dramatically positive results.  

The subject of the film Wilks has a training injury that puts both of his legs out of commission for 6 weeks and that begins his researching journey on how to recover the fastest way possible.  He finds a study about Roman Gladiators that blows his mind and changed the way he looked at the whole myth of athletes needing protein from meat to develop large muscles.  Nothing could be further from the truth as he finds out from a host of studies by health professionals.

This film is not only informative, it's entertaining, mind blowing and hilarious.   With it's focus on Plant Based foods you wonder why this hasn't been public knowledge before and why we are still pushed the health benefits of meat and dairy.  My body has been telling me that dairy isn't so great for me and I have been thinking about Plant Based diets for a while because of the fact that it's better for the environment and it's also better in fighting some of the top diseases.  I have been eating a lot less meat because it's expensive but I have to increase my plant based sources of food and see what happens, but I think I will start after my Birthday next week and see what happens by my birthday next year.  My friend already has a 3 week headstart on me so I will at least have someone to share a meal with me.  If the Terminator thinks this is a smart idea then "You Gotta Do it".

James Wilks, Producer 
Louis Psihoyos, Director
James Cameron, Executive Producer