Award-winning director David Battistella traveling from Italy to present his new film at the 13th annual NM Italian film & culture Festival

Feb 23, 2020 272

BY: Maria Berry

Among the appealing lineup of films set to screen at 13th Annual NM Italian Film and Culture Festival, a full-length documentary stands out as the Special Feature Film for its historical, socio-political and cultural significance. The Innocents of Florence: the quest to save 600,000 children will be introduced by its maker, David Battistella, who will also conduct a Q&A.

Italian-Canadian David Battistella is an award-winning director, a screenwriter, and Gemini Award nominated film editor. He calls himself a neighborhood filmmaker who forms personal relationships with the people and places around him, and captures their stories on film. Since changing neighborhoods from Toronto to Florence in 2011, Battistella has created four films that reveal hidden stories of historic, artistic and cultural importance in his fascinating adopted city.

The Innocents of Florence is the most recent of those films. It follows the restoration of a mysterious 600 year-old painting and the secrets it uncovers about Florence’s little-known history of infanticide. The film explores art, motherhood, Florentine humanism, and how a progressive-thinking Renaissance society created the first hospital in the world dedicated to caring for children.

Battistella explains, “As early as 1444, the Innocenti Institute would anonymously take in abandoned children, most of whom were girls. Some of these babies were born out of wedlock, or they were the result of wealthy men impregnating servants so they could become wet nurses for their own children. Then abandoned, they were left at the Institute, where the child was named, given Florentine citizenship and baptized. Even if they did not survive, this would ‘save their souls’ because, according to Renaissance thinking, unbaptized babies ended up in Limbo. Elsewhere in Italy, abandoned children were surnamed ‘Foundlings’ or worse, ‘Bastardini’ (little bastards). In Florence, they were called Innocenti, ‘Innocents’ and deserved a chance at life.”

“We’re excited that our festival will premiere this film in the western US,” said festival spokesperson Maria Arancio Berry. “It’s the most impactful film the festival has ever screened. To have Director Battistella in person to talk about his ‘magical and profound’ experience making The Innocents of Florence is a special honor,” she added.

The Innocents of Florence is presented in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, Los Angeles, and sponsored locally by Art Gardenswartz and Sonya Priestly / Gardenswartz Realty; and by Diana Bruno / Una Vita Inc. Women’s and Children’s Healthcare Advisory Firm.

WHEN:  Saturday, April 4, 2020

WHERE:  The Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque

COST:  $10 online / $12 door

TICKETS:  available starting February 24 online at www.italianfestivalsnm.org

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