Sunday, February 11, 2007

Andrew Saffir and Daniel Benedict

Two of the most popular out-and-about men in New York, the team are members of the young social set associated with several New York based charity organizations such as New Yorkers for Children, ASPCA, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, New York City Ballet, Make-A-Wish, Central Park Conservancy and God’s Love We Deliver. In the summertime they are ubiquitous on the Hamptons social scene and more recently have become prominent on the movie celebrity scene because of Saffir’s business interests.

Saffir is a native New York, attended Hunter High School and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a year spent abroad in London and France. He began his career as a marketing executive with Polo Ralph Lauren. Today he has taken that experience and run with it in the highly successfuly the Cinema Society, which he founded.

The Cinema Society is basically a marketing tool for the film industry, an effective method for creating “buzz” about a film. Saffir consistently brings together a wide group of celebrities for his screenings which are often held in the hip, downtown Tribeca Grand Hotel in its screening rooms. Screenings are often followed by a dinner for all the invited guests at a popular (and hip) restaurant, also downtown. The Cinema Society screenings have brought out film stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Scarlett Johansson, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Bruce Willis, Tim Robbins, Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Harvey Weinstein, Hilary Swank, Kevin Costner, Woody Allen, Salma Hayek, Heath Ledger, Ron Howard, Claire Danes, Glenn Close, Terrence Howard, Jane Fonda, Naomi Watts, Pierce Brosnan, David Bowie and Iman, Lindsay Lohan, Sharon Stone, Beyonce and many more too numerous to mention, along with the New York social set. The hobnobbing that Cinema Society’s evenings creates is as big an attraction as the film to many of those attending. The result is that Cinema Society’s screenings of new films (some premiering, some even before release) have garnered volumes of publicity for the films in magazines, newspapers and on the internet.

Saffir’s parter, Daniel Benedict grew up in Massachusetts and attended Northeastern University in Boston before coming to the Big Town to make his way as a designer. Several years ago he and Jodi Della Femina, a childhood friend of Andrew Saffir, created the very popular (and controversial with the Hamptons locals) Jodi’s Shortcuts, a book which provides an insider’s knowledge and know-how to getting around by the back roads of the now densely traveled communities of the South Fork of Long Island.

Three years ago with partner Marjorie Gubelmann Raein, Benedict launch a high end fragrance candle line calledVie Luxe. The products have become one of the most successful and preeminent home lines in the business, in over 1000 stores worldwide, with a big following among celebrities and jet-setters alike. Vie Luxe also has the license for the Oscar de la Renta home fragrance line, and does private label for a number of the world's top design houses.

What are they like to be good friends? Outgoing, but not overly, hospitable and congenial, always well-dressed, well-liked, courteous, and thoughtful. They often travel in threes or fours with some of the most popular women in town. One of the most frequently asked questions NYSD gets from readers is: Are Saffir and Benedict a couple? Answer: they’ve been living together for about nine years.