Russo Brothers Align Hollywood Stars to Launch New Vision of Italian American Storytelling on the Big Screen

Jan 21, 2024 2099

Italian American leaders and entertainment industry luminaries came together this week to support the launch of the new Russo Brothers Italian American Filmmaker Forum. RBIAFF, developed in collaboration with Italian Sons and Daughters of America, is a fellowship program that offers production grants to emerging filmmakers who seek to create stories for the screen that illuminate aspects of the Italian American experience.

The top five applicants will receive a grant to create a short film based on a submitted concept. The winning film will be chosen by a selection committee, comprised of executives at AGBO and leadership at the ISDA. The winning filmmaker will receive an additional $10,000 and admittance into the AGBO Storyteller’s Collective.

"The new Filmmaker Forum will reshape the form of Italian American storytelling on the big screen, as we honor and uphold our culture, history and heritage," said COPOMIAO and ISDA President Basil Russo, who co-developed RBIAFF.

Applications for the RBIAFF grant open on February 1st, 2024. You can find more information at

RBIAFF, launched under the AGBO Foundation — a philanthropic initiative committed to harnessing the transformative power of storytelling, media, and the arts to inspire meaningful change — presented its inaugural Renaissance Award to Marvel Studios Co-President Louis D’Esposito on Jan. 18 at AGBO Studios in Los Angeles.

The Renaissance Award celebrates outstanding contributions to Italian American heritage and the entertainment industry. This was the first annual event for RBIAFF.

D’Esposito has made a significant impact in his 30-plus year career in the entertainment industry. Under his stewardship, Marvel Studios has carved an impressive path, boasting 33 films that collectively have grossed nearly $30 billion worldwide, including ten that have achieved the billion-dollar milestone.

“We’re greatly privileged to honor our esteemed friend, Louis D’Esposito, for his remarkable contributions. His tireless dedication to preserving and promoting Italian American culture profoundly resonates with us and perfectly aligns with the Filmmaker Forum’s commitment to cultural preservation through storytelling and film,” stated Anthony and Joe Russo.

Jon Favreau presented the award to D'Esposito, and Chris Pratt, Tom Holland, Josh Brolin, Paul Rudd, Robert Downey Jr. and many others congratulated the famed producer and co-president on this distinct honor.

Dozens of COPOMIAO and ISDA leaders attended the precedent-setting event in support of RBIAFF and D'Esposito. More details on this exciting initiative will be announced in the coming weeks!

SOURCE: Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations

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