Hollywood casts eye on Manitoba goods

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WINNIPEG'S Heather Stewart saw plenty of celebrities in Los Angeles on the weekend, where she put together a gifting exhibition of Canadian products for Hollywood.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/01/2010 (4641 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG’S Heather Stewart saw plenty of celebrities in Los Angeles on the weekend, where she put together a gifting exhibition of Canadian products for Hollywood.

"It was really exciting and very worthwhile. It was also very chaotic," Stewart said of the two-day affair at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel, a business event that preceded last night’s Golden Globes award ceremonies.

Gifting exhibitions have been accompanying award shows for years. They provide an opportunity for manufacturers and designers to display their products in venues that celebrity actors, producers, photographers and publicists tour, looking for products to use in a film or television production or for photo shoots.

What made this event unique is that it was the first time Canadian products were housed in a single location for the industry to see — that was Stewart’s idea. She organized the Oh Canada gift suite, bringing in a truckload of fellow Winnipeg and Manitoba businesspeople.

The Canada exhibit included products from Stewart’s Lilyfield Cakes, jewelry, chocolate, bath and body goods and even mukluks — most of them made or sold by Manitobans.

"It was an amazing experience," said Stella Mazza, owner and designer of KaTonGiovi Crystal Collection, on her first trip to a Hollywood gifting tour.

When prompted, Mazza dropped the names of famous people who came through the suite: film producer Ivan Reitman, SCTV alumna and Christopher Guest favourite Catherine O’Hara, Twilight’s Ashley Greene (Alice Cullen), actor Carlo Rota (Little Mosque on the Prairie, 24) Deidre Hall (Dr. Marlene Evans on Days Of Our Lives).

Greene — who plays the good vampire sister in the Twilight series — spent a lot of time at the Oh Canada suite. Her official website includes several photos of her holding Winnipeg-made products, including one of Stewart’s famous cake hat boxes.

"The naked guy from Borat came … I can’t remember his name. He was very funny," Stewart said. "Catherine O’Hara spent all day with us… She was a blast."

Stewart said the celebrities were followed by people probably more important — writers and editors from beauty magazines looking for products to surround their models in upcoming photo shoots.

Mazza said that in between posing with the stars, she and the other exhibitors explained her work to the inquisitive, exchanged email addresses, phone numbers and other contact information.

"It was an amazing experience," Mazza said. "I was able to get global attention on my designs. It was rewarding. There were many contacts made."

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

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