RVD Comm | Holiday Markets That Give Back

We’ve all heard the old adage “it’s better to give than to receive” — this year at UrbanSpace, we’re taking it one step further! Our 2014 Holiday Markets feature many lovely, locally made gifts with an extra philanthropic or environmental benefit. Not only are shoppers able to purchase perfect gifts for their loved ones, but they can rest assured knowing that their money is going to benefit charitable causes!

Here are a few of our favorites:

Find Article 22: Peace Bomb at the Union Square Holiday Market where they sell bags and accessories that are naturally dyed, hand woven and constructed by artisans in Laos. Proceeds from every single purchase go towards supporting the talents of culturally sustainable artisans, and help to promote entrepreneurship and community development.

Faire Collection at the Union Square Holiday Market offers fair trade jewelry and accessories that are designed in Brooklyn and crafted by artisans in Ecuador, Vietnam and Swaziland. The goal of Faire Collection is to reduce poverty in disadvantaged communities and benefit social education programs. As a social enterprise, Faire Collection is deeply committed to elevating the lives of their artisan partners by providing dignified wages and holistic social programs that provide a path out of poverty.

Look for Cliff Belts at the Union Square Holiday Market; the company creates belts, bags, wallets and accessories from cork and other eco-friendly materials. All Cliff Belts products are vegan and made in New York. So, why cork? It’s environmentally preferable to leather as it comes from a lower carbon impact source (tree bark) – it is a naturally beautiful and greener alternative to leather.

At both the Columbus Circle and Union Square Holidays Markets, Mr. Ellie Pooh is an eco-friendly and fair trade focused company that makes exotic handmade gifts and paper made of 50% fiber from elephant dung and 50% post consumer paper. But, why create gifts from recycled elephant dung? Elephants in Sri Lanka are being killed at an alarming rate—not for their tusks, meat, or hides—but simply because they interfere with agriculture. Mr. Ellie Pooh is part of a movement that helps elephants and humans to co-exist successfully in the same environment by developing ways in which the elephant is proven to be a sustainable economic resource. This includes utilizing their byproducts to create beautiful and unique paper products.

The Columbus Circle Holiday Market is open now until Wednesday, December 24th; market hours are 10:00am to 8:00pm Monday through Saturday, and 10:00am to 7:00pm Sunday. The market will close at 4:00pm on December 24th. The Union Square Holiday Market is open now until December 24th. Weekday hours are 11am-8pm, Saturday hours are 10am-8pm and Sunday hours are 11am-7pm.

Contributed by Amanda Williams via RVD Communications

RVD Comm | A Very New York Thanksgiving at Union Square Holiday Market

The Union Square Holiday Market offers far more than just holiday shopping. We opened our doors last week with over 150+ vendors, many of them serving delicious food and drink, making the market the perfect spot for a little pre-Thanksgiving celebration. While the market is closed Thursday for the holiday, stop by early this week to get your stuffing and cranberry fix without the family drama, or trying to cook a huge turkey in your tiny apartment kitchen. Here are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving inspired bites:

You can find all your favorite Thanksgiving flavors in a perfectly portioned, bite-sized sandwich with Mighty Balls’ Turkey Cranberry Slider. The rich savory flavor of their turkey meatball is perfectly complimented by a delicious, and slightly spicy cranberry horseradish sauce. Topped with tangy goat cheese and perched on a freshly baked mini bun, it has all the flavors of Thanksgiving in one delicious package.

Cranberries could probably contend for the title of “Unsung Hero” of the Thanksgiving table, but they really stand out in The Jam Stand’sdelicious Cranberry Jam. The company, started in the Brooklyn kitchen of best friends Jessica Quon and Sabrina Valle pushes the limits of jam with their unique flavor combinations. Start the holiday gift giving season off right and bring along their 3 Jam Variety Pack to your Thanksgiving fete – the set includes their Cranberry, Pumpkin and You’re My Boy Blueberry Bourbon Jam.

Arancini Bros. are known for their creative take on authentic Sicilian arancini – crispy fried risotto balls. They have created a festive, holiday inspired treat for the season. Called The Thanksgiving Special, it is filled with roasted turkey, stuffing and fresh cranberry sauce. It is the perfect, portable snack to enjoy as you peruse the market.

Wrap up your Tour-de-Turkey Day with a sweet snack from Doughnuttery. Fresh, and hot from their on-site doughnut making machine, their seasonal Pumpkin Pie Brulee Doughnut is dusted with pumpkin, graham crackers, bruleed sugar, and fall spices.


Stop by the market this week to enjoy these treats, and get a head start on your holiday shopping. The Union Square Holiday Market (#HolidayMarket) is open now until December 24th (closed on Thanksgiving Day). Weekday hours are 11am-8pm, Saturday hours are 10am-8pm and Sunday hours are 11am-7pm.

Contributed by Amanda Williams via RVS Communications

Film London | The Escape Artist

Premiering 29 October is BBC One’s new legal thriller The Escape Artist which shot extensively across London, with iconic locations including Victoria Embankment and Middle Temple. Created and written by David Wolstencrost (Spooks, Shooting Dogs) the show stars David Tennant (Doctor Who), Toby Kebbell (Black Mirror), Sophie Okonedo (Criminal Justice) and Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty).

“The law often seems like an intellectual exercise, but scratch under the surface, and it’s all blood and guts,” says Wolstencrost. “I wanted to write a thriller set in the legal world that’s as much about those primal feelings as it is about the twists and turns of the case.”

The three-part drama has the feel of a Hitchcock thriller. The story revolves around Will Burton (Tennant), a criminal barrister whose expertise is getting people out of tight legal situations but who sometimes falls short in his personal life.

The drama opens with Burton at the top of his profession and yet to lose a case, something which highly aggravates his courtroom rival Maggie Gardner (Okonedo). Burton believes that everyone deserves a defence, but when he gets a prime suspect acquitted off a horrific murder trial, the results leave him struck with unexpected consequences.

The Escape Artist shot widely across the capital, taking full advantage of the city’s diverse and excellent locations. When watching the show, keep your eye out for London spots including Tower Bridge, Lincoln’s Inn, Whiteleys Shopping Centre and The Old Bailey.

Director Brian Welsh greatly enjoyed shooting in historic London locations, particularly lauding The Old Bailey.

“It was amazing to be in that environment,” Bailey said. “Quite early on we came up with a colour pallet for the look of the show, I wanted it to have a heavy, dark feel. I was amazed at how nicely The Old Bailey fitted in with our film noir vision. Then we found Kingston which had the same architect as the courtroom we used in the Old Bailey. It was important for us to stay authentic to that world but also to maintain the look we wanted.”

See the first episode of The Escape Artist on iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p01jqq59/The_Escape_Artist_Episode_1

Contributed via Film London 

Film London | Production Finance Market

What do Amour, Blue Jasmine, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,Howards End and Mike Leigh’s upcoming Turner epic have in common? Two men: Michael Barker and Tom Bernard. One company: Sony Pictures Classics.

The Film London Production Finance Market 2013 — introduced by organiser Angus Finney as “high end speed dating” between producers and financiers — got off to a flying start with a keynote speech from one side of this truly legendary distribution and production team, Mr Michael Barker.

An inspirational and generous speech, here are some of the highlights.

Putting film-makers first

“It all started with auteur theory” Barker said, explaining his approach to producing. “I didn’t understand a word of it, just that the director owned the film”.

This, Barker went on to outline, remains fundamental to the way he and his partner work. Believing in film-makers “is what got us where we are”.

And they always give directors final cut.

The United Artists model

Barker cites his time at United Artists as fundamental to developing the approach that he still applies today. Giving fascinating insight into the changes sweeping the industry in the 1970s, Barker explained that with rising marketing costs, big studios could no longer work out how to make money from foreign language or ‘niche’ movies. Even if the studios managed to recoup, film-makers were left with little to show for it.

What United Artists did was to set up UA Classics, a separate entity with its own economics to work specifically on foreign languageand ‘art house’ films. Very quickly it became profitable. Not Just for UA Classics, but for film-makers too.

Building Sony Pictures Classics

When the pair headed to Sony via some years at Orien, they took this approach with them and have gone from strength to strength, co-producing about one third of their eclectic slate, with the other two being acquired titles for distribution.

One of the key things that makes it work, Barker says, is that he and Bernard have different tastes. “It’s like the perfect marriage” he said, smiling, “where each spouse has something the other doesn’t”.

Make it evergreen

Known for their close relationships with celebrated film-makers such as Woody Allen and Pedro Almodovar, Barker explained that he and Bernard are always also on the lookout for new talent. Emerging directors who will help shape the slate for the future.

Keeping on top of all this takes a particular approach, “you have to bifurcate your brain in the sense that you have to think of that which is a mainstay”, such as working with established directors, “and on the other side you have to pay attention to change and move with the moment”.

But whoever they worked with, “the goal is that our marketing profile will be big enough to make these films last forever, to be evergreens”

Building the audience

Directors might be core to what Sony Pictures Classics does, but the decisions about what projects to get behind are also always about the audience. Barker might work on ‘niche’ films, but as he reminded a room full of international delegates: “niche doesn’t necessarily mean small”.

Harnessing the power of social media, titles can cross over to have a larger market. With Blue Jasmine, for example, Sony Pictures Classics looked at the supporting cast in the film – Louis CK, Alex Baldwin, Andrew Dice Clay – and went after their fan base.

It turns out they were really responsive and flocked to the independent release in the middle of blockbuster season. It is now due to make $35m and according to Barker, “years ago it would have made a third of that”.

Let the meetings commence

Advice dispensed, the ever-affable Barker left the gathered financiers and producers to their speed-dating. By the time he was upstairs opening the first Film London Micro-Market, meetings were buzzing with the sound of pitching – delegates undoubtedly fired up by encouragement and advice from a producer whose films have achieved 135 Academy Award® nominations between them.

As Angus Finney commented, “Hearing Michael Barker talk about the last 30 years of independent film, auteur-driven films, and the passion he has for world cinema encapsulated an inspiring PFM key note message. Barker’s engaging display that enshrined his deeply personal approach to film and film makers will go down as a coup for the PFM for years to come.”

Over the course of the two day event, the PFM would see at least 800 meetings between producers and financiers. One or more might just result in a project that Barker may be interested in distributing through SPC.

Contributed via Film London