Antonio Cupo Mambo’s Italiano

Italian Heritage Month has begun and is being featured in this week’s Westender. The other day I had the opportunity to have lunch with the lovely editor, Martha Perkins and her charming husband Jean-Edouard at L’Artista… and an Italian heart throb by the name of Antonio Cupo. Ever the gentleman, he drove me back to work afterwards (and I wondered how much people around the world would pay to be me!). Antonio shall be receiving an award at the BC Italian Business Excellence Awards tonight (June 21, 2012). He and his sister Carmelina Cupo shall be honored jointly with the ‘Young Enterpreneur Award.’

Click on the photo below to read the article and fall in love with Antonio that little bit more!


Photo: Martha Perkins, WE


Antonio & Carmelina Cupo accept their Young Entrepreneur awards at the Italian Chamber of Commerce

Ali Liebert Stuns on the Red Carpet

Thank you to The Express for posting some footage from the 2012 Leo Awards. See nominee Ali Liebert shine in her ‘sea foam’ dress. Though Ali didn’t win her award (Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series for ‘Bomb Girls),’ she accepted an award on behalf of her very lovely and very talented co-star, Meg Tilly. Meg won Best Lead performance in a Dramatic Series for Bomb Girls. Click on photo below to see some Leo Awards 2012 action!


Ali Liebert by Les Baszo

Wonderful Wonderland Photos and Footage

Project Limelight’s Wonderland was a huge success and had packed houses for both shows! The audience had a fantastic time and laughter abounded. The children put on a fantastic performance and there wasn’t a dull moment in the entire show. Here is a sample featuring Tweedledee, Tweedledum, the Carpenter and the Walrus. Click on the photo to get down!

Photo by Luc Dumas

We’d also like to thank our celebrity guests, Mr. Young stars Brendan Meyer and Gig Morton for coming out to support Project Limelight! I had the honour of sitting with the lovely Meyer family and I can say that Brendan was laughing the entire time.

Mr.Young Getting Creamed - by Luc Dumas

Gig Morton Drops In








You can see part of the finale – ‘We are the Champions’ by clicking on Alice (the gorgeous Amina)!



Project Limelight, Cory Monteith, Sir Richard Branson and Mayor Gregor Robertson for Project Limelight


Photo by Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press

On Friday May 25th, the Project Limelight Society received a great boost from Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Mobile / Virgin Unite foundation and received a donation of $25k. Click on photo above to see the gallery and read the full article by Denise Ryan in the Vancouver Sun. The event made international news. Click the photo below to see the UK’s Daily Mail article!

Cory and Celestine share a sweet moment. Photo by REUTERS

To hand over the cheque, we were honoured to have Sir Richard in person, as well as Glee star Cory Monteith, Mayor Gregor Robertson and Project Limelight Founders (and sisters) Maureen Webb and Donalda Weaver. Some of the children of Project Limelight performed at the event, doing a medley of pop songs, and ended with a rousing version of ‘We are the Champions.’ Led by the extremely talented Celestine, the children’s voices were beautiful and they looked super cute in their costumes for Wonderland. They were understandably extremely excited to meet Cory, who gave them all big hugs and signed posters for them!  Somehow, I have a very strong feeling that this won’t be the last time these kids hit the media!

Click on this photo to see footage from the event!

Photo by Luc Dumas

A Sneak Peak of Wonderland

Only a few more weeks until the talented children of Project Limelight make their stage debuts in Wonderland on June 2nd! Here is a quick look at some of the actors in costumes made by Playhouse costumier, Jodi Jacyk. Featuring Celestine as the Queen of Hearts, Amina as Alice and Sidney as the White Rabbit.

Photo by Luc Dumas


Photo by Luc Dumas


Project Limelight Presents….




WONDERLAND features 26 young performers, ages 8 – 12, who have worked together to create a show for their friends, family and community. WONDERLAND, a modern spin in the tradition of pantomime, combines audience interaction, music, comedy and dance, and is suitable for audiences from the very young to the young at heart. The play is directed by Paul Belanger, and features sets by Mark Pilon, musical direction by Erin Aubrey, choreography by Kat Single-Dain and costumes by Jodi Jacyk (The Playhouse).

About Project Limelight:

Project Limelight is offered at no cost to participants and is open to young people aged 8 to 15 in the DTES and surrounding areas. The first month is spent learning skills, techniques and forms of expression, including clowning, creative writing, voice work, movement and improvisation. The following three months are spent rehearsing a full-length theatrical production, leading up to a final performance on a community stage, giving participants the opportunity to showcase everything they have accomplished.

Project Limelight works with creative professionals who want to pass their skills and their passion on to the next generation by creating a fun-filled environment that inspires kids to express themselves. The focus at Project Limelight is on enthusiasm and passion, and the vision is to create a community of support for young people as they make their way through their most formative years.

The children have blossomed exponentially throughout this pilot program. Project Limelight has provided them with priceless life experience that has boosted confidence levels, communication and social skills, and has imbued a greater sense of commitment and discipline. This exposure to the performing arts has also taught them how to cooperate on an ensemble performance – and that they are all stars, they all have a story, and they are all valuable.

Sociable Films in the Vancouver Sun


by Malcolm Parry, May 3rd 2012

OPENING CREDITS: Flashback to Hollywood, Feb. 5, 1919. Movie director D.W. Griffith and actors Charles Chaplin, Douglas Fair-banks and Mary Pickford launch a collaborative studio they call United Artists. Flash forward to Gastown, May 5, 2012. Canadian director Michelle Ouellet and actors Nicholas Carella and Ali Liebert produce a sequel called Sociable Films. In fact, it was 2011 when the three established “an artist-driven philosophy, where artists’ resources and talents are pooled.” But the “friendraiser” party in Carrall Street Nelson The Seagull restaurant Saturday will bring together many pals and moviebiz colleagues the trio plans to further develop.

Some will appear or help make the feature film Afterparty, executive-produced by actress Yolanda Jes-sel, which will be shot over six consecutive weekends beginning June 9. That schedule will enable Liebert, who is jetting back and forth to L.A., to complete her parts in three movies and be in Toronto Aug. 7 for second-season shooting of the CBC television series Bomb Girls.

Nor are longtime pros Carella and Ouellet sitting on their hands. They completed the final sound mix Sun-day of the “long short” This Feels Nice, a love story of two gay men that was shot on film, not digitally. They’ve also completed two of a 12-episode comedy-sci-fi web series called The True Heroines, which Ouellet says is about “three 1950s women with invisibility, super speed and super strength.” They’re also portrayed in earlier roles as 1940s cabaret performers.

Sociable Films is modelled somewhat on the 1999-founded Toronto band Broken Social Scene. That ensemble varied its lineup and style greatly for a dozen years while featuring many otherwise-solo performers and those from other bands. Whether Sociable Films will last as long is anybody’s guess. Ninety-one years later, though, United Artists still exists, albeit as an MGM subsidiary, and may make movies again.

Photo Credit: Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun


he times are changing, says actor and producer Nicholas Carella (pictured).

“The way that movies are distributed is different, therefore the ways you recoup your funds are different, and therefore the old models have to change,” he tells Playback Daily.

That’s part of why Carella founded Vancouver-based Sociable Films in 2011, alongside his Harper’s Island co-star Ali Leibert andHooked on Speedman director Michelle Ouellet.

The business model is simple: artists pool their resources together and work as a community to create films that are both artistically fulfilling and fiscally responsible.

“We thought we could start with the philosophy of nurturing each other’s talent and dream projects, and see if we could build a successful model around putting the projects first,” says Carella.

Carella hopes this will allow any compelling and exciting idea brought to Sociable Films to be seen through to completion.

But the idea for Sociable Films has been years in the making.

Ouellet credits its creation to the team’s entrepreneurial spirit and experience on the festival circuit, which she says helped it find its voice.

The ability of its founders to attract and maintain relationships with established names such as Ben Ratner and April Telek likely didn’t hurt.

Thus far, the company has operated out of pocket, but with After Party, an upcoming improv comedy film in pre-production, Carella and Ouellet continue to look for a sustainable business model to help them generate revenue and fund their projects.

“We’re trying to think about realistic sales projections from our previous film, and talking to distribution partners about what kind of revenue we can safely project based on a good film that’s made well and kept within a certain budget,” says Carella

“Then we work backwards to see what the budget would have to be, and who we’re paying out to have our best chance at a profit,” he adds.

To date, the company has relied on fundraising and working on small projects to generate revenue, a strategy that Ouellet says will also ensure its ability to fund future projects.

“Starting small, looking at projections and various models of projections with these small films and getting them to generate revenue so they’re sustainable is definitely a way to keep private investment coming in,” she tells Playback Daily.

“Having a detailed analysis of each film project in that kind of rigourous way will let us see our opportunities for funding, especially in this changing market,” she adds.

Carella echoes Ouellet, adding that even a small return on an investment can increase the odds of getting funded again, and that getting as much support as possible from day one is likely to give investors more reasons to say yes to a project.

Sociable films officially launches May 5.