The Vision and Creation of the Magazine “DARIA!”

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.

Actress Christie Norton and Director Bruno Pischiutta on a brake during shootings.

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.”

In conclusion:

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.

Bruno Pischiutta

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Introducing ABBY

I like to introduce my Romanian friend, Abby. I know her from six years and she gained my full respect and admiration.

Abby is a DIVA. She is a very good actress and an amazing singer.

Visit her Professional Profile.

Enjoy ABBY’s latest music video for her song “Shadows”.

Ice, Sculptures and Film in My Beloved Yorkville in Toronto, Canada

Every year, February is the month when the very beautiful Ice Fest takes place in Toronto. February is also the month when Elio Dell’Unto, Canadian producer who works with me from 28 years and President of our Film Festival’s Jury, and I celebrate our birthdays. Elio’s birthday is on February 14th, the same day of San Valentine, and mine is on February 15th.

The Ice Fest takes place in Yorkville, an area where a wonderful village used to be located in the old times, that is now the center of Toronto. My late friend, the great architect Boris Zerafa, had the vision to transform the old mews of the village, the old stables where the carriage riders put their horses to sleep, into a very elegant retail and residential area. Yorkville is one of the best parts of Toronto and, for many years, it was the base of the Toronto Film Industry.

I live in Toronto for more than 30 years, few steps from Yorkville, and I have a lot of great memories about the village. I shot some part of my first Canadian film “Maybe” in Yorkville, Yorkville was the old center of the Toronto Film Festival and, for several years, every meeting between filmmakers and/or between filmmakers and film investors was always taking place in Yorkville. Many years ago, we the filmmakers, used to go for a drinks at Hemingway’s, for a bite at Sassafraz and we cut our hair at the Roman Empire, or at Tony&Guy the Yorkville hairdressers.

This year, Elio Dell’Unto went to visit the Ice Fest and sent me the pictures that I post here because the Fest is dedicated to the film industry and the important role the industry had in Toronto, for many years, and still has.

So, Happy Birthday to Elio! I hope that you all enjoy the pictures of the Ice Sculptures, here they are:

OUR INTERNATIONAL CASTING CALL

On October 31, 2018 our company published an International Casting Call to find the actors we need for the productions we schedule to do in the next two/three years. The budget of these productions amount to US $27,800,000.

The scheduled productions are:

  1. THE BAD JOKE feature film;
  2. A TV SERIES of 13 Half Hour Films of different cast;
  3. UNTITLED 906 feature film;
  4. SINS AND SINNERS feature film.

One of the Divisions of our company is a Talents Agency. The Division’s name is Global Film Actors Agency (www.globalfilmactors.com). Our Agency is only for film actors and gives to the members the best possible deal: an engagement prize in company’s shares, it does not charge any fees whatsoever and it does not charge any commission from the actors. The Agency has only few members, about 40. They have been chosen between the best English speaking actors worldwide. We have very good actors but we don’t have, in the Agency, a number of them big enough to fulfill our casting need for the scheduled productions. This is why we published our International Casting Call.

The results of our Call were great: we had about 250 actors answering. Many of them are very good actors, some of them, about ten, also applied to be members of our Agency.

In the last three months I have studied all I could about the actors who answered our Call; I respect the actors very much. I was one of them years ago and I know what they are going trough. I watched, whenever possible, their show reels, I wrote to them and I interviewed on Skype and/or WatsApp all of them. I still have to meet one of them because, few days ago, he had to go to a funeral of one of his family members: he will call me when he will be all right.

I met wonderful people and some really great actors. I also met some actors who deserve a shot to stardom and I gave them the possibility to be in our Agency. I had to reject a lot of the applicants (about 180), simply because they were not good enough to participate to our productions.

These are the final numbers:

We have, today, in our Agency about 43 members; they will have priority in the casting.

We have met other actors (about 70) that we will invite to partecipate to our productions: they are mazing artists and I’m looking forward to work with them.

I have to thank Flaminia Graziadei, who will probably be the director of the TV SERIES, for sending to us a number of very good actors.

About the whole experience, I tried to avoid mistakes: mistakes are always possible and, unfortunately, they are always happening. I believe that some of the mistakes I made in this casting were to over evaluate some of the actors.

In conclusions we are OK: we have over 100 good actors, including our Agency’s members, that could work in our productions. The casting, however, is going on: we still need some teen-agers and some kids. I will answer to whomever will apply the whole year around.

If you like to act in our next productions please apply.

Bruno

Follow-up on My March 29th Blog

An Update About My Eye and My Dog

Many people are still asking what happened with my eye and my dog. My eye is fully recovered after the ‘foreign object’ was removed by the doctor and my sight is back to normal.

I never found my dog, Monica, again. Knowing how wonderful she is, I can only hope that a good family adopted her.

Happy New Year!

Bruno

A New Thing…

Part of my job as a film-author is to write screenplays. A screenplay is the artistic literary extension of some of my ideas and experiences; after the writing, my job is to transform the screenplay into a film. In directing a film I, again, make use of my most intimate visions and of my personal culture. 

For the above reasons, I can say that, in each of my films, there are some autobiographic elements present, some “pieces of my life”. This is the extent of the direct influence that my personal experience has in my artistic work, but I never, until now, wrote autobiographic notes, this is a new thing for me and this is why I probably decided to write a blog entitled THE LAST that will contain a lot of autobiographical elements.

Unfortunately my wife of 50 years, artist Olga Cechova, passed away on August 13 in Toronto (Canada); I got the news via e-mail because I’m in Greece developing the work of my company, Global Film Studio. 

I was very hurt by this event; her death was very sudden and unexpected. She was a very healthy and strong woman but a very aggressive form of leukemia, in just a few days, caused her death. When this happened, I was shocked and I could not think properly to anything for a few days. That is when I had the idea to write an autobiographic blog; I don’t know how big of an influence Olga’s death had on my decision, but I was thinking a lot about how fast, sometime, bad things happen and how important it can be to write the relevant parts of our story while we still have time.

I started to write THE LAST around August 25 but I had to give priority to the publishing of DARIA! magazine and to the making of the Global Nonviolent Film Festival because these are two important parts of my company’s yearly activities.

DARIA! is an arts, entertainment and business yearly magazine that we are publishing since 2005.

On September 10, the IX issue of DARIA! was published and the seventh edition of the Festival took place between September 20 and September 30.

To read the complete ninth issue of DARIA! you can visit this link:

http://www.dariamagazine.com 

Established in 2012, Global Nonviolent Film Festival is the most important and renown nonviolent film festival in the world.

To have a complete vision of the Festival, follow this link and you will be able to see the video presentation of the 2018 Awards:

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/globalfilmfestival 

Now that these two important events have been completed, I’ll go ahead with the writing of THE LAST, the blog with a lot of autobiographic notes, that I started at the end of August. The writing will take time because I want to be as precise as I can in the details. When the blog will be completed I’ll publish it here.

Unfortunately

Unfortunately, my wife, Olga Cechova passed away suddenly a few days ago in Toronto (Canada). 

Her death was caused by a very aggressive and fast form of leukemia. She was diagnosed on Thursday, she was admitted to the hospital on Friday and she passed away on Monday, August 13.

Olga was my wife of 50 years and she was an artist.

She was born in Zlin (Czechoslovakia) in 1947. She graduated in Industrial Design. We met me in Rijeka (Yugoslavia) and were married in 1969 in Zagreb.

In I971 Olga and I moved to Italy and we resided and worked there until 1983, when we emigrated to Canada. 

In Italy, Olga fully developed her career as an artist. She designed some of the posters of my films and she held several exhibitions of her paintings, graphics and sculptures. She held several personal exhibitions in the art gallery I opened and run in Rome for three years.

A few years before we left Italy, her graphic art was exhibited alongside graphic works by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali in the art gallery of St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

When in Canada Olga founded her own company: Olga Cechova Fine Arts and, for about thirty years, she continued her career as an artist and specialized in restoration of antique Chinese paintings, sculptures and ceramic vases. She restored hundreds of Chinese art pieces.

I’m sharing here attached the formal announcement of her passing.