Peterborough-Kawartha MP Maryam Monsef and her mother Soriya Basir had an inspiring meet with actor/activist Angelina Jolie on Sunday (September 10th) at the TIFF screening of The Breadwinner, an animated film Jolie executive produced about an 11-year-old girl in Afghanistan living under Taliban rule.
The film, about a headstrong young girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family, is based on the bestselling book by Canadian writer Deborah Ellis.
Monsef says the book and movie speaks to her for many reasons: "It's the story of an 11-year-old Parvana's journey of survival in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and her attempt to help her family as the breadwinner. Breadwinner tells the story of Afghanistan through the eyes of a child. For years, Ellis has shined light on the struggles and resiliency of Afghan people and the strength of women and girls of Afghanistan. With the animation of The Breadwinner, we are all reminded once again to never underestimate the power of a girl."
Monsef tells PTBOCanada that she and her mom had a memorable few minutes with Jolie: "She is proud of Canada's role in the world as we progress gender equality and promote diversity. She also said that of all the places she goes to, she is happiest when she is surrounded by the women of Afghanistan. She doesn't know what it is about them, she just feels connected to them."
Monsef's mother even received this hug from Angelina...
Monsef, who says Angelina is beautiful inside and out, adds that she told the actress this at the meeting: "I thanked her for helping to tell the story of Afghan people, and she said she would continue to do so."
Monsef also "fan-girled huge" when she met the Breadwinner author Ellis (pictured 2nd from left below)...
Monsef came away very moved by her experience at the TIFF screening:
"Teachers in Peterborough often call me and Mom to come in and talk to their students after they read The Breadwinner," Monsef tells PTBOCanada. "The kids always had many questions and such compassion. Seeing all the kids in the audience yesterday and talking to Angelina and others involved made me appreciate the deliberate efforts to focus content like this on children as the audience. They will grow up to fix this broken world and it's never too early to teach compassion."
The Canadian Mental Health Association, Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge (C.M.H.A. H.K.P.R.) is once again a sponsor of the ReFrame Film Festival, and this year one of the films of note they're sponsoring is a local one called Surfacing.
Written by well known local director/playwright Frank Flynn—and produced by Blake Richardson and choreographed by Rachelle Bemrose—it tells the story of Flynn’s wife’s journey through mental illness, her subsequent suicide in August 2014 and its impact on the family and their eventual journey to healing.
TELLING HIS STORY THROUGH DANCE & MOTION
Flynn was rendered speechless and heartbroken when his wife took her own life, and didn't know how to put it to words. “When my wife died, I struggled to give sorrow to words," he says. "As a playwright, to be without words was a unique kind of torment. I felt a constant physical ache in my chest and pressure building in every cell of my body."
Months later, after seeing a dance piece by Richardson and Bemrose, it occurred to Flynn that his was a story best told with bodies in motion. Collaborative work on Surfacing followed soon after with the two.
Surfacing, a dance/soundscape/poem, was made for Frank’s children as a living memorial to their mother and also as an invitation into the discussion of mental health, stigma, and healing.
Surfacing plays at Showplace Performance Centre on Friday, January 27th at 11:30 a.m. For more info on Reframe Film Festival, visit their website.
The community support—both financial and emotional—was amazing, and the story went viral around the world about how the city came together to show solidarity with the mosque. To show how inclusive we really are.
This film conveys the story of what happened in subsequent months, and how the mosque in turn gave back to the community.
Watch it below...
"There is a lot more to it than just the makeup that goes on the skin," she tells PTBOCanada of her art. "I do life casting, and I sculpt, mold, cast and apply Prosthetic appliances to change the actor's appearance. I also make props such as severed body parts and puppets, for film and TV."
Since childhood, Rhonda has had a keen interest in being creative and exploring art. "I was always sculpting, drawing, writing," she tells PTBOCanada. "Most of my work depicted monsters of some sort. Being a big fan of sci-fi and horror movies, I was never short of inspiration."
As an adult, Rhonda continued to fuel her passion for art by creating sculptures—which she sold on eBay and at shows. But she knew she hadn't yet found her true calling. That all changed when she did some acting in a couple of low budget horror films.
"I met two young makeup FX artists whom I spent most of my time with on set—gazing over their shoulder, watching them work," she tells PTBOCanada. "They told me I should go to school to learn this profession, since I was clearly mesmerized by their creations!"
In 2010, after losing her job, Rhonda decided this might be her last chance to go back to school and do what she's always felt she was meant to do. So she enrolled at S.O.M.A (School of Makeup Art) in Toronto.
"Towards the end of my schooling in Toronto, I asked my teacher whether he knew of any Makeup FX artists in need of shop help, so that I could gain some industry experience," says Rhonda. "I went for an interview with FX artist Paul Jones who was working on the movie Silent HIll: Revelation at the time. He hired me the day I graduated."
Silent Hill: Revelation was Rhonda's first Makeup FX gig. She was blessed to have had the opportunity to not only meet, but work alongside such amazing talent at PJFX studio—and work with some of the biggest names in Toronto's makeup FX industry.
In 2012, Rhonda officially started her own FX business, Reel Twisted FX. She has done makeup FX work on 16 productions—ranging from music videos to short films to feature films to TV.
Rhonda was also hired at Fleming College to teach a Makeup FX intro course in their Continuing Education program. Since then, she has started to teach two additonal makeup FX related courses there.
Rhonda will be doing a makeup FX demo at the Fleming College Open House Saturday, November 21st. To learn more about her, visit her Facebook page and check out her IMDB credits. You can contact her by email here.
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[UPDATE: We got him! Robert Pattinson in Millbrook! See pics below!!]
[UPDATE 2: Moviefone.com picks up our post.]
The Hollywood movie Life starring Robert Pattinson (Twilight film series) is filming scenes in Millbrook, Ont., near Peterborough on Tuesday (March 4th). Pattinson plays the role of Dennis Stock, the photographer for Life magazine who took many of the iconic images of James Dean. Millbrook's downtown on King Street is being transformed by the film crew into the 1950s era (see pic below), with primary scenes to be filmed at The Pastry Peddler—which will stand in as a Fifties shoe store. Pattinson will be in town for the shoot. The movie is slated for release in 2015.
UPDATE: Robert Pattinson on set below in Millbrook...