A Chapter from the Autobiographical Blog “The Last”
by Bruno Pischiutta
It happened 15 years ago, in 2004, on an early summer evening, at about 7:00 PM.
Daria Trifu and I were walking on Bloor Street, in Toronto, and we were going to see the new beautiful windows of Holt Renfrew, one of the best fashion stores in the city.
Daria and I like to walk in New York, in Cannes, in London and wherever we are, because we believe that you see more when you walk than when you just drive the car. It is however a fact that, if you want to see, you have to look. In a city, if you look up, you’ll always make new discoveries.
That’s exactly what happened that evening when we were walking in the center of Toronto, looking up to the skyscrapers and the tall buildings on Bloor Street and to the lights in their windows. One building was special, on the South-West corner of Yonge & Bloor, and you could see that the entire second floor was an open space surrounded by arched windows (what used to be the second floor of the Stollery’s men wear store at Yonge and Bloor). Daria immediately fantasized that the space would be perfect for a publishing house, a design studio or a fashion workshop. It was, in fact, the store housing the atelier of the Stollery’s Men Store.
Daria said: “It looks like special, maybe they are making a magazine there.”
I replied: “A magazine?”
Daria: “Yes, a magazine. (Pause) I always wanted to publish a magazine, since forever…”
I: “I didn’t know that. Thinking about it, a magazine would be good for our organization and our business if we owned it; if you like it and if you will take care of it, we can do it and we will.”
This is how, in few minutes, we decided to create and publish a magazine.
We arrived at Holt Renfrew and took a long look at the beautiful displays in their windows. After that, we went for a bite and few drinks to toast to our decision.
Here are examples (different years) of window displays at Holt Renfrew:
We spoke a lot about the magazine that evening and in the following two days; even if we were busy with other work, something very important, we continued to think and speak about the magazine. We were approaching the moment of leaving for Africa to shoot “Punctured Hope: A Story about Trokosi and the Young Girls’ Slavery in Today’s West Africa”, the film I directed and Daria produced and that we later qualified for nomination consideration at the Academy Awards® and was proposed for nomination by The Hollywood Political Film Society in two categories, ‘Best Film on Human Rights’ and ‘Best Film Expose’ of 2009.
After those few days of thinking about the magazine this is what we decided:
- The look of the magazine will be a mixture between the looks of Vanity Fair and of National Geographic. The magazine’s content will be illustrated by many extremely beautiful and original pictures;
Here are some pages from Daria! magazine selected from the several issues published from 2005 to 2018:
- Considering that the film we were going to shoot was in Ghana, the next magazine will contain a lot about Africa. During the filming I took some pics, especially behind the scenes’ shots. Daria, who is very good in taking pictures, took about 3,000 of them in Africa. The best were published in the first issue of the magazine;
Here are some pages from the ‘Special on Africa’ articles published in the 2005 and 2007 issues of Daria! magazine:
- Daria will have the total power of decision in choosing the content for the magazine;
- I will be in charge of creating most of the covers and I’ll have the possibility to suggest subjects for its articles;
- The cover will be completely black for two principal reasons: marketing wise, to differentiate our magazine from all other magazines and so that, if anybody wants to know what the cover is about, they will have to turn the page;
- The magazine will not be addressed to the general reader, but to the English speaking media executives worldwide;
- Whenever possible, the magazine will be printed yearly in thousands of copies that will be distributed at the most relevant film festivals (Cannes, AFM, Montreal, Monaco, etc.) and it will be available on line;
- The subjects of the articles will always be original in art, business and entertainment. Regarding subjects in film, the magazine will be oriented to the discovery and presentation of new talents;
Here are some pages from Daria! magazine (art, business and talent) selected from the several issues published from 2005 to 2018:
- The title of the magazine will be “DARIA!” and Daria Trifu will be the Editor in Chief.
These were the starting points; some of them changed in time, but most of them are still guiding our today’s publishing choices.
This is how we commenced our publishing adventure: we contracted journalists from Canada, USA, UK and Mexico and we decided to publish the first issue as soon as we were back from Africa, after the shooting of “Punctured Hope”.
One of the more challenging new facts, was to be able to match the deadlines of our film productions with the magazine’s. This was especially difficult for Daria who was taking care of the whole organization necessary to arrive to the moment of publishing. I had much less to do and everything I was doing for the magazine was for me more a pleasure than a job.
This is how I created the first cover of DARIA! 15 years ago.
I was feeling the necessity to give an image to the title: clearly the proper image was the one of Daria Trifu because she was the magazine’s founder and editor in chief, but I didn’t want to just publish a photo of her. Considering that Daria looked (and still does) much younger of her age and that she has a very well proportioned petit body, I though that I could photograph her close to the statue of Edgar Degas “Little Dancer of Fourteen Years.” I always loved Degas’ statue which I saw at the Ottawa Art gallery during a beautiful and comprehensive exhibition of Degas’ artistic works. Even if the original model of the statue had an appearance that was a little sick like the inspirations for “Les Fleurs du mal” of Charles Baudelaire and Daria is definitely more proportionate and has a healthier look, I put Daria’s image together with the Little Dancer. I had a reproduction of the statuette, about 25 centimeters tall, that was executed at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and, with a simple photographic effect, I made Daria and the statuette look the same height and appear in basically the same pose. I liked the first cover very much; it was a sensational success and still today I believe it is one of the best covers of the magazine. Judge by yourself, here it is:
The Premiere Issue of the magazine was presented to the media and film personalities during a party we held at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, California while the American Film Market took place in 2005. For that occasion, thousands of printed copies were distributed at the AFM and inside the principal hotels in Santa Monica.
Here is Daria!’s Premiere Issue (2005):
That was the first cover, it was created in Canada in 2005 and, the following is the last one I realized for the magazine 13 years later, in 2018, in Greece.
This one features my dear friend actress Christie Norton and it is, at the same time, the cover of the magazine and the poster of the 2018 edition of Global Nonviolent Film Festival, the most important and renown non violent Film Festival in the world. When I took this picture on a Greek beach, it was a very cold day in January and Christie was very courageous to pose covered in a veil only…
In all these years, the magazine was always present in my mind. As I write this blog, Daria is already starting to prepare the 2019 edition.
Here is Daria!’s 2018 issue:
We can say that, in time, the magazine has become known and followed by the world media executives. DARIA!’s team has interviewed and collaborated with some very famous people such as Bill and Melinda Gates, Vivica A. Fox, Bill Dryton (founding father of Social Entrepreneurship), and more, as well as some young talents not yet known to the public such as actors Taylor Williams, Christie Norton, Lesha Bey, Joe Legend, etc. The magazine has been presented and distributed in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Las Vegas, London, Cannes, Monte Carlo, Milan, Bucharest and many, many others.
Here are some photos from the several world events where Daria! magazine was distributed throughout the years:
Publishing DARIA! gives us a lot of satisfaction. One of the moments of “satisfaction” came in 2006 when a very famous magazine was inspired by our DARIA!. Daria Trifu, in the Editor’s Page of the 2018 issue, tells the story and lists the facts; here is part of what she wrote:
“In 2006, I envisioned an issue dedicated to Africa and to social entrepreneurship in general. It was because I produced a film in Ghana, and while there, I discovered Africa. I wanted Daria! to become the first publication that looks at some aspects of the world that were never addressed in main stream media.
I envisioned the top personalities in the world being interviewed by our magazine and, in conclusion, Warren Buffet, Melinda and Bill Gates being featured on Daria!’s cover.
I worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the article on fighting malaria and their initiatives in Africa, and they provided the picture for the cover of the magazine. In the process of making the 2007 issue, I communicated with Oprah’s office, Bono’s management (and twenty plus others) and outlined the vision while requesting their participation.
Here is Daria!’s 2007 issue:
In May, the special issue of Daria on Africa and Social Entrepreneurship was printed but it was not ready for its mass distribution, so it was kept in the printing house in Florida. One day, a month or so later, I came out of my house, and on the newsstands, there was the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair. Different covers shot by Annie Leibovitz, one of which was similar to Daria!’s.”
I’ll continue to work on the magazine until I’m be able to, because I like it, I think that it is worth and because it’s one of the ways I communicate with the world. I really hope that Daria Trifu will go ahead and will publish many more editions after I’ll be long gone.