Talk of the Town! 9

kkurman, on the beat.  13 August ’11

Last Thursday, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Dr. Aida Takla O’Reilly was duly installed as President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The ‘Installation Luncheon’ is a traditional high point in the season around here because it happens in August when most people are out of town and movie releases are at a low ebb so there’s not much else going on.

However, its significance goes far beyond that for two reasons.

The first is that at a time when money is tight, the studios depend ever more on international distribution to make their bottom line revenues. The journalists of the HFPA help to open up the markets abroad, increasing ticket sales in the global market.

The second is that, as a non-profit organization, the profit that the HFPA makes off televising its annual Golden Globes Awards ceremony all goes to charity. That contribution is considerable. This year the HFPA handed out over $1.5 million dollars to schools, arts organizations and disaster relief. Over the last seventeen years, they’ve distributed over $13 million.

Both sides of this equation come together on the Red Carpet that draws “A” list stars and the major behind-the-scenes moguls who drive the industry. Dr. O’Reilly was there to receive Leonardo DiCaprio who would accept $350,000 for the Film Foundation, Taylor Lautner (of the TWILIGHT series) was accepting for The Sundance Institute. Mark Walhberg, Gerard Butler, Lea Michele, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Hugh Dancy and many more joined producers Ryan Kavanaugh (Relativity Media), Nancy Utley (Fox Searchlight) and others to support the cause.

The event, organized by long-time HFPA member, Judy Solomon, moved right along as each receiver introduced the next, making for some fun banter, like when Mark Walhberg introduced Taylor Lautner as being better looking than DiCaprio and in better shape than himself, “…Boogie Nights and Titanic were a long time ago, pal. It’s over.”

Dr. Takla O’Reilly, in case you were wondering, is from Egypt and represents Egypt and Dubai within the Association. She has been a member of the HFPA for many years and was President before, back in the ’90’s. We are very proud of her and congratulate her on stepping up to the challenge of moving the HFPA forward for a new generation of members.

A special shout-out goes to The Beverly Hills Hotel, which provided excellent service and an iconic location for the event, and on a personal note, the food was delicious!

That’s it for now, when a good movie comes out, I’ll let you know! ’till then, See ya’, Salam, Alikum!

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About kkurman

Garden Designer, Horticulturalist, Landscape Gardener/Consultant bi-coastal
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