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July 26, 2017: Toronto International Film Fest Lineup Announced, Just For Laughs Fest Continues to Evolve, Time Inc. Looks to Sell Share of 'Essence'

1. TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FEST LINEUP ANNOUNCED: On Tuesday, Toronto International Film Festival organizers announced the event’s preliminary lineup, which includes about 45 films. The fest, which takes place from September 7 to 17, usually features 60 films, but this year’s event has been trimmed down. Of the 45 films announced, at least a dozen are directed by women. The New York Times: “‘The film industry is making a concerted effort to wake up and acknowledge women have been underrepresented behind the camera and writing and producing,’ Cameron Bailey, the festival’s artistic director, said in an interview Monday night. ‘We’re seeing more great films from women to choose from, and we are making an effort not just at the festival but across the board to open up space.’”

2. JUST FOR LAUGHS FEST CONTINUES TO EVOLVE: In its 35th year, Montreal’s Just For Laughs, which is happening now through July 31, has grown from a two-day event into an international franchise, with festivals in Toronto, Vancouver, and Sydney. The flagship Montreal event spans more than two weeks, with sets and panels from big-name comedians, as well as upcoming talent. Fast Company: “Part of Just For Laughs’ evolution has been about knowing where comedy lives today. Social media has given rise to a new class of entertainers that can fill a space just as quickly as any headlining staple—hence the addition of New Faces Creators this year, a platform for influencers and digital content creators. ‘The last thing we want to do as a festival is wake up 10 years from now and realize we missed that boat,’ [director of industry and special events programming Paul] Ronca says. ‘The same way we have our New Faces show and how it gives us a chance to discover these comedians at a young age like [chief operating officer Bruce Hills] did many years ago with Kevin Hart, we want to make sure we’re doing the same thing with these online creators.’”

3. TIME INC. LOOKS TO SELL SHARE OF 'ESSENCE': As part of its cost-cutting efforts, Time Inc. is planning to sell a majority share of Essence magazine. C.E.O. Rich Battista cited the strength of the title’s events business, which includes the Essence Festival, as a reason for driving its value. Adweek: “Battista told [the Wall Street Journal] that despite the planned sale of shares, he did consider Essence to be a core asset, and the decision was rooted in a desire to further grow the brand: ‘Mr. Battista cited Essence’s events business, its growing digital presence, and its long relationship with big marketers, as reasons for optimism. A new investor might have the resources to enable Essence to expand its growing events business at a time when many publications are seeking new revenue opportunities.’”


The International Live Events Association (ILEA) has awarded the 2017 Klaus Inkamp Lifetime Achievement Award to David E. Merrell, C.E.O. and creative director of Los Angeles-based AOO Events. He will receive the award at ILEA Live 2017, which will be held August 10-12 in Calgary, Canada.

Moët Hennessy USA has named Paige Pedersen head of entertainment marketing. She has previous worked as the vice president of communications at both Fendi and Louis Vuitton.


BOSTON:  The Boston Hot Pink Luncheon & Symposium will take place October 25 at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth, Massachusetts, announced a roster of new teambuilding offerings, including the Art of Oysters, where guests learn about the growing and farming process of oysters and how to properly shuck an oyster; Hike the Pinehills; and Mayflower Brewery Tour & Tasting.

CHICAGO:  Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks will be offering free 75-minute abridged productions of Romeo and Juliet at Navy Pier Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 7:00 p.m. 

The 10th annual Slow Food Vegetarian Harvest Dinner will take place August 23 at the Uncommon Ground location in the Edgewater neighborhood at 6:00 p.m.

Chicago Dancers United’s 26th annual Dance for Life Chicago will take place August 19, with a reception at the Hilton Chicago and performance at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University.

LAS VEGAS:  Tropicana Las Vegas will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Robert Irvine's Public House on July 27.

The creators of the Great Vegas Beer Festival will host a new all-inclusive beer and culinary experience called Hopped Taco Throwdown. The inaugural event will be held on August 12 at the Zappos headquarters and will include craft beer tasting and a culinary competition.

LOS ANGELES:  Chelsea Handler has been announced as the host of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Annual Grants Banquet. The event will be held on August 2 at the Beverly Wilshire, and is expected to raise more than $2.6 million in funds for nonprofit entertainment-related organizations and scholarship programs.

The Sheraton Los Angeles San Gabriel Hotel, which is scheduled to open in late 2017, has announced the appointments of general manager Wanda Chan, director of sales and marketing Fred Kokash, and sales managers Antonia Wu and Debbie Vail.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach—a DoubleTree by Hilton has revealed plans to undergo a $7 million redesign focused on reflecting the city’s nautical lifestyle and reputation as the “Venice of America.” The renovation will spotlight the 296-room property’s role as the home of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. The upgrade, which is expected to be completed in October, will include 28,000 square feet of meeting space.

NEW YORK:  The Lighthouse Guild will host its annual LightYears gala at the Mandarin Oriental on November 20.

The World Maker Faire will take place at the New York Hall of Science in Queens on September 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The 5th annual Event Planner Expo will be held at the Metropolitan Pavilion on October 4. The event’s speaker series will feature sessions with Martha Stewart, Colin Cowie, and Facebook's former director of marketing Randi Zuckerberg.

LG Electronics is teaming up with Citi Summer Streets to create Manhattan’s first-ever water park. In honor of the brand's new dishwasher, the water park will resemble a larger-than-life iteration of the LG QuadWash equipped with sprinkler arms, enormous plates, and spoons that double as waterslides. The waterpark will be located at Park Avenue between 70th and 71st Streets and open on August 5, 12, and 19, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Developers have filed plans to build a new JW Marriott in Orlando, this one near Disney. The plans call for a 16-story, 516-room hotel with 50,000 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop bar. Orlando Sentinel:

SAN FRANCISCO:  Proper Hospitality announced three distinctive food and beverage concepts—Villon, Charmaine's, and La Bande—at the forthcoming San Francisco Proper Hotel, opening in the city’s Mid-Market neighborhood later this summer. Villon will offer an all-day dining experience; Charmaine's will be a rooftop bar and lounge; and La Bande will offer house-made pastries, tartines, sandwiches, and salads.

TORONTO:  The 2017 Art Battle Canada National Championships take place at the Great Hall on July 27. Art Battle is live competitive painting, where painters create the best work they can in 20 minutes.

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, Rayna Katz, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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