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"A Passion For Giving": Philanthrophy Plays Leading Role

November 19th, 2009. Published in FILM by Aaron Lyle Gelbman, Intern.


(New York, NY – November 18, 2009).   Leading philanthropists and society insiders joined hosts Phillip Bloch, Jennifer Creel, Gillian Hearst Simonds, Albert Maysles, Christophe de Menil, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, Renée Rockefeller, Susan Shin, Mary Alice Stephenson and Lucy Sykes Rellie in the stunning Pool Room Terrace of The Four Seasons Restaurant last night for Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur’s special screening of “A Passion for Giving,” a film by Robin Baker Leacock.

     Catherine Malandrino, Pialy Aditya, Thuy Diep                       Fay Ann Lee, Phillip Bloch

The 50 minute documentary feature film takes an in-depth look at the importance of giving, the passion and dedication of those who do give and philanthropy’s impact globally whether on a grand scale or in a simple act of kindness.  From an astronaut’s eye-view of fire/dust clouds to the visceral experiences of the homeless on the ground, the film inspires help and hope.  This uplifting film explores peoples’ passion for giving through touching vignettes, poignant quotes, striking and breathtaking visuals, original music and compelling interviews with a diverse group of people.  Subjects in the film range from street poet Mr. Smiley to  Dan Ackroyd, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Donna Karan, Fran Liebowitz, Robert Thurman, Russell Simmons (Art for Life), Ross Bleckner and Bob Colacello (ACRIA), Gael Greene (City Meals on Wheels), Run DMC's Darryl McDaniels (The Felix Organization), Henry Buhl (Soho + Tribeca Partnership), Missy Hargraves (for Wildlife Rescue), John Sykes (VH1's Save the Music), representatives from the UN Millennium Project, Habitat for Humanity and more.

                Christopher Mason, Euan Reille                                     Euan Reille, Lucy Sykes Reille

Albert Maysles, one of the fathers of cinema verité, introduced the much awaited film, noting that headlines are made on war and violence these days, not generosity and kindness, and that “this film is utterly necessary.” Guests such as Lisa Anastos, Marisa Arredondo, Maggie Betts, Geoffrey Bradfield, Henry Buhl, Christine Cachot, Kipton Cronkite, Katherine Cohen, Lauren Ezersky, Elizabeth Fekkai, Kimberly Guilfoyle,  Kalliope Karella, Barry and Karen Kieselstein-Cord, Anisha Lakhani, Euan Rellie, Lady Sharon Sondes, Tracy Stern, Sonja Tremont Morgan, Edward Tricomi and Joel Warren were enraptured by the moving film as they savored Solerno Passionata cocktails created especially for the occasion, and the scent of blood oranges wafted subtly from the glow of warm Solerno-scented candles.  

                    Henry Buhl, Anthony Buhl                                                         Jen Creel

A Passion for Giving was the theme of the evening but a parallel Passion for Fashion clearly was evident as Emanuel Ungaro’s Asim Abdullah chatted with designers Thuy Diep and Andrea Karembelas while Catherine Malandrino generously hugged Phillip Bloch and Baby CZ’s Carolina Zapf congratulated Ms. Leacock on her impactful and inspiring film.

               Kimberly Guilfoyle, Anisha Lakhani                Robin Baker Leacock, Susan Shin, Carolina Zapf

An established filmmaker, Robin Baker Leacock's credits include “It Girls” for WE: Women's Entertainment Television, “I'll Take Manhattan” (screened as an official selection at the Montreal World Film Festival, the Berlin and Hamptons Int’l Film Festivals) and a series of summer documentaries for Plum TV in the Hamptons.  Produced and directed by Robin Baker Leacock, with Associate Producer Victoria Aitken, the documentary is stylishly filmed by Emmy-award winning director/cinematographer Robert Leacock (son of legendary cinema veritée pioneer Richard Leacock), whose credits include “Madonna's Truth or Dare”, Al Pacino's “Looking for Richard” and Christy Turlington's “Catwalk”.  Originally screened at the 2008 Hamptons Film Festival, “A Passion for Giving” will premiere nationally on PBS (WNET13) on November 21, 2009 at 1pm ET.  Please see for more information and national broadcast times and channels.

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Contact:  Nick Dietz,, 917 349 605
Shin Advisors, LLC

Photos courtesy of PMC Jackie Snow.


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