Runaway Spoon

Two Mega Stars in One Week

June 18, 2015

Singer/songwriter Michael Bolton dined on Marina pizza Tuesday for lunch at il Canale.  He gained his first major hit as a songwriter, co-writing "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You."

Another major hit was "When A Man Loves A Woman."

On Monday for dinner, one of the most acclaimed film stars ever, Julianne Moore, dined at il Canale with her family.

The American/British actress won an Oscar for her lead portrayal in Still Alice, the real-life story of a professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease.  Moore's long list of roles and credits is impressive.

At il Canale, she dined on Salmone alla Siciliana.

Click here to share your thoughts.

Hooray for Hollywood: DC Enters Film Animation at Gallaudet

May 28, 2015

Animation development company Pigmental Studios will establish its new headquarters at Gallaudet University’s campus in Northeast, D.C. city officials and filmmakers announced on Thursday.  Pigmental is to start work on animated feature film and TV series in its new home this fall.

Gallaudet Provost Carol J.Erting & Pierre Bagley (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Gallaudet Provost Carol J.Erting & Pierre Bagley

“It’s okay to call us The Hollywood of The East,” said DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to open the news conference with Pigmental CEO and co-founder Marina Martins and Gallaudet’s Provost Carol J. Erting

Imaginative and colorful animated films with hit songs such as “Let It Go” is where a lot of the film industry seems to be going on TV and in movie theaters.  DC gets that. Not to be left frozen on the backstage steps as other cities take leading roles in digital  animated film production, the troupe of DC officials, Gallaudet leaders and LA executives revealed plans to put DC up on the billboards.


This will be Pigmental’s first venture into the nation’s capital's still nascent film industry.

Although the invitational event was billed as a news conference, in reality, it was a pep rally for filmmaking in DC.  Also, it was what the casting world calls a “looksee,” for potential moneyed investors who might yearn to get into the entertainment sector.

Aviva Kempner, Pierre Bagley & Marina Martins (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Aviva Kempner, Pierre Bagley & Marina Martins

“We look forward to working with Pigmental and Gallaudet to support their efforts to grow the District’s innovation economy,” said Mayor Bowser. ”By leveraging the District’s position as a hub for innovation and technology, we can improve the lives of District residents, create jobs, diversify our workforce, and grow a more sustainable creative economy.”

Pigmental  Studios is an independent entertainment company with “dedicated financing” for animated theatrical films and television series, says its website. ”Pigmental is currently active in international co-production projects in China, Korea and Spain.

“With an office in Los Angeles, Pigmental Studios is home to a corps of renowned animation artists and technologists who produce groundbreaking work in cooperation with international production partners.”

Among Pigmental’s current projects is KONG, which was announced at the Cannes Film Festival in May, 2014.  It is being produced as a Chinese co-production with producers Gary Zhang and JJ Kim of Aquamen Entertainment. 

Logo, Pigmental Studios (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Logo, Pigmental Studios

The first animated feature slated to be produced in the District will be a co-production with the creator of Despicable Me, Sergio Pablos, says Pigmental.

Pigmental’s first studio -- to open in a few weeks -- on the campus of Gallaudet University will be in the Appleby Building at 800 Florida Avenue NE, with an expansion planned for future development in a yet-to-be-built building on the 99-acre campus. JBG Cos is the development partner for the longer-term building project.

The District has agreed to issue a $250,000 grant to Pigmental to build out its new offices as part of D.C.’s tech fund incentives, according to the Washington Business Journal.

 “Today’s announcement shows the District’s commitment to attracting innovative companies to increase jobs and workforce development,” said Brian Kenner, deputy mayor for Planning and Economic Development.  “By offering new skills training for Gallaudet students and local residents, Pigmental will help us further diversify our economy.”  Pigmental will initially employ from 20 to 40 people.

The announcement of Pigmental’s new DC studio is part of Mayor Bowser’s “innoMAYtion” initiative to highlight innovation programs that engage residents and position the district as a hub of innovative activity.

Judith Terra (left), Marina Martins & Elizabeth Webster (Photo by: Natalia Janetti) Judith Terra (left), Marina Martins & Elizabeth Webster

Martins said that Pigmental will create an academic program in animation design and programming for Gallaudet students as well as offer internship and training opportunities. Gallaudet, established in 1864, is the world’s only university with programs and services designed to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Helping to spearhead Pigmental’s move into town is film producer/director Pierre Bagley, former director of the District’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.   Also, among those several hundred attending were Angie M. Gates, director of the D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development,  Elizabeth Webster, director of Business Outreach for At-large City Councilman Vincent Orange, American filmmaker Aviva Kempner, Sharon Pratt Kelly, former DC mayor; Marie Collins Johns, former deputy commissioner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, and arts and culture activist Judith F. Terra.

Click here to share your thoughts.

A Whale of an Event with Real Royalty

May 17, 2015

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco took a day or two away from his royal twins to travel to Washington to personally receive a Peter Benchley Ocean Award at a ceremony that drew 300+ invited guests on Thursday night.

Sen. Ed Markey presenting Secretary of State John Kerry's award to undersecretary Catherine Novelli (Photo by: Jeffrey Dubinsky for the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards) Sen. Ed Markey presenting Secretary of State John Kerry's award to undersecretary Catherine Novelli

For his leadership to save the seas, Prince Albert was honored with the “Excellence in National Stewardship of the Ocean.”  The award was presented by Dr.  Enric Sala, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and founder of The Pristine Seas project.

The Peter Benchley Ocean Awards, now in its 8th year, was founded by Wendy Benchley and David Helvarg, author and executive director of the Blue Frontier.

The world’s preeminent ocean honors are named after the late author of “Jaws” and lifelong marine conservationist Peter Benchley.

This time Jaws lives on with a touch of royalty.

Prince Albert had an especially busy week but was relaxed and affable during a full day of speaking activities discussing environmental subjects, first at the National Geographic, then in the evening going over to the Carnegie Institution for Science for the Benchley awards. The Prince  lingered at the VIP reception, which was packed with ocean advocates from Hawaii, British Columbia, Australia, California, North and South Carolina to Massachusetts, and the list goes on.

Monaco's Prince Albert II flanked by Dr. Sylvia Earle & Dr. Enric Sala (Photo by: Jeffrey Dubinsky for the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards) Monaco's Prince Albert II flanked by Dr. Sylvia Earle & Dr. Enric Sala

“The world needs your passion and your energy,” Prince Albert told the National Geographic audience.   Too often, he said, “we don’t put a street light at a crossing until there’s been an accident.  We don’t want to get to that point for the oceans.”

On Sunday, May 10, Prince Albert and his wife, Princess Charlene, baptized their 5-month-old twins in services in Monaco.

Still another top award recipient was Secretary of State John F. Kerry, honored for
Excellence in Policy.  Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts presented the award.  Kerry was in the air over one ocean or another at the time of the ceremony, Markey noted.  So, his award was accepted on his behalf by Catherine A. Novelli, Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and The Environment.

Dr. Enric Sala had a succinct way of how to save the oceans:

“Eat more vegetables!”


Click here to share your thoughts.