Going Hollywood to ramp up real estate

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • November 16, 2005

by Karen Feld

What do you do when you own an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean and have plans in place to develop more real estate on the island, but it’s still hurricane season and tourism is at a low?

The Canadian father and son team of Fred and Derek Elliott, 35, the respective chairman and president of Sun Village Resort & (under-construction) Spa – located on Cofresi Beach in Puerto Plata on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic – found a solution.

This week, they held the first annual Dominican Republic International Film Festival on the property to “boost awareness,” Fred Elliott said.

Honoring Lou Gossett

The father-son team also exec produces films for Media 8 – including the soon-to-be-released “Man About Town” with Ben Affleck. “It’s a way to connect the dots between what we’re doing in Hollywood and in the Dominican Republic,” Derek Elliott said. Actor Lou Gossett Jr. (“An Officer and a Gentleman”) was on hand to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award later in the week.

… And it helps to know a Kennedy

The Elliotts got the attention of Joe Kennedy, 24, grandson of Ethel Kennedy and the late Robert Kennedy, who has been working nearby in the Peace Corps for the past two years. The Peace Corps, as most know, was established by Joe’s uncle, President John F. Kennedy. The young, red-headed Kennedy, who is easily spotted as a member of that famed family, came to the premiere screening of “Lovewrecked” at the resort Monday night. The movie featured the resort. Kennedy told me he’s been involved with improving the Damajagua River waterfalls, a popular tourist site near Sun Village. Randal Kleiser, who directed “Lovewrecked,” “Grease” and “Blue Lagoon,” was on hand as well and held a digital directing workshop.

See you next year?

Was the festival a success? “We have to be careful what we are satisfied with,” said the senior Elliott. “We are an investment company.” When asked if showbiz has gotten in his blood, Fred Elliott wisely responded: “I hope not. The key to success in show business is not to be an idiot. It’s a crapshoot.” Nevertheless, it seemed apparent that his son, who was the catalyst for the festival, believes differently.

Kidman shops Dupont farmers market

Nicole Kidman, still causing traffic jams while filming the “The Visiting” in various D.C. locales, was spotted shopping Sunday morning at the Dupont Circle Fresh Farm market. She strolled among the stalls incognito, wearing a sports cap and dark glasses, and trailed by a security guy. Kidman spent a lot of time talking to various vendors, asked for some hot spicy sausage (but it wasn’t available) and bought bourbon peaches and bourbon cherries. Simultaneously, well-known chef Ris Lacoste of 1789 Restaurant was ordering plants to grow her own brussels sprouts.

Feinstein: Singer, pianist and raconteur

Michael Feinstein, doing his magic recently at The Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, revealed the secret of how he managed to get Frank Sinatra‘s attention. He played at a party that Old Blue Eyes hosted at Chasen’s in Beverly Hills, Calif., and learned all the obscure songs that Sinatra wished he had never recorded. He played them one after another at the star-studded event. Finally, the man himself walked over to Feinstein, stared at him with those piercing blue eyes, and said: “Jesus, how old are you, kid? 12?”

Blackstone turns 20

The Blackstone Group, which has major Washington connections – Kennedy Center Chairman Steve Schwarzman and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson head the investment firm – turned 20 last week. Spotted among the 900 guests at the bash at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan the other evening were Richard Holbrooke and Nancy Kissinger.

Bulger has the look

The new face of Armani is Jay Bulger, 24, who grew up right here in Chevy Chase. His proud dad is lobbyist Tom Bulger, and stepmom Diana Kaiser Bulger is the savvy PR guru at the Fairmont Hotel. The handsome Fordham grad has already graced the cover of French Vogue.

Trotting right along

Joe Perry of Aerosmith and his wife stopped by the Cavalia tent in Pentagon City while in town for an MCI Center performance. They went for a tour of the stables with famed horse whisperer Frederic Pignon. The amazing horse show is such a hit that the local engagement has been extended three times.

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