The NM Italian film & culture festival announces 2015 festival program: films - events - special features

Dec 19, 2014 1064

The New Mexico Italian Film & Culture Festival prepares to roll out in Albuquerque on February 8 for an 8-day run celebrating Italian cinematic excellence and iconic Italian cuisine, and with some new, first-time-ever features.

The big news in the films lineup will be the screening of Il Capitale Umano (Human Captal), awarded the 2014 David di Donatello (Italian Oscar) for best picture, and Italy's hopeful in the 2015 Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Film category. "A film of this stature, with 38 awards and counting, is a first for the festival and it's sure to be a sell-out," said Dan Puccetti, who chairs the festival's film selection and acquisition committee. An expertly woven socioeconomic commentary, the drama by director Paolo Virzi is one of two festival showcase films.

The other is Ettore Scola's Che Strano Chiarmarsi Federico (How Strange to be Named Federico), an affectionate reminiscence of Scola's years of friendship with Federico Fellini. Scola, too, was a contender for a Donatello award in 2014 in the category of Best Director. His tribute to Fellini delivers a unique look at a slice of Italian cinematic history and a portrait of one of its chief architects. Che Strano will be introduced by the festival's guest director, Fulvio Ottaviano, himself a Donatello winner and a friend of Scola's.

Rounding out the lineup are:

• Giuseppe Piccioni's Il Rosso e il Blu (The Red and the Blue), a 2012 bittersweet drama set in a Rome high school.


• Ivano de Matteo's Gli Equilibristi (Balancing Act), a 2012 drama, also set in Rome, that explores the anxieties of those struggling to get by and the delicate balance between affluence and poverty.


• Edoardo Leo's Buongiorno Papa (Hello Dad), a 2013 tender comedy about surprise fatherhood with a charming mix of characters who discover new ways to define family.


• Riccardo Milani's Benvenuto Presidente (Welcome Mr. President), a 2013 playful comedy full of social commentary, political satire and laughs.


• Massimo Venier's Il Giorno in Piu (One Day More), a 2011 Romantic Comedy involving a ladies' man enchanted with a woman he sees daily on his commute, and a difficult decision he has to make.


• Giulio Manfredonia's Si Puo Fare (We Can Do That), a 2008 8-time award winning comedy/drama based on real events after the Italian government closed mental hospitals in the 1980s - a film filled will humor and hope.

All films are in Italian with English subtitles; all making their local premiers.

All films will be preceded by a short video art show showcasing the work of a New Mexico visual artist of Italian heritage.

The opening event, Strings Attached, kicks off on February 8 in the Hyatt Regency's grand ballroom-turned-theater with New York's celebrated documentary film-maker, producer, director and cultural historian, Tony DeNonno, who will take the audience on an enlightening journey into the Sicilian marionette theater tradition with an authentic handcrafted marionette in hand.

The evening's finishing touch will be an exquisite Italian cuisine buffet reception prepared by the Hyatt's Executive Chef, with entertainment provided by acclaimed Albuquerque guitarist, Tony Cesarano who will depart from his signature jazz repertoire and play the music of Italian cinema as well as some old Italian favorites.

The festival's Valentine's Day event, La Festa dell'Amore, unfolds at the Domenici Center on UNM's north campus. Doors open at 5:30 for a buffet of bocconcini (light bites) and sweets, and Italian wine and beer, followed by an upbeat, live performance of the love songs of the 40's 50's and 60's made famous by Italian American artists interpreted by Las Vegas-class vocalist, Al Chance who, for many years, was an entertainment staple at New York City's Italian festivals and restaurants, and now makes his home in Las Cruces. The evening's feature film is, appropriately, a romantic comedy.

The festival says Arrivederci on Sunday, February 15 with an inspiring and heartwarming, multi-award winning film at the Guild, followed by a family-style pranzo at Saggio's on Cornell where Al Chance will serve as DJ.

So far, the NM Italian Film & Culture Festival has raised nearly $200,000 for the UNM Children's Hospital. "Our goal for 2015 is to give the Hospital $30,000," notes the festival's managing director, Maria Arancio Berry. "We're constantly challenging ourselves to make each festival more successful than the last through the selection of exceptional films with broad appeal and through the production of unique events with delicious food and outstanding talent that will leave you eagerly anticipating next year."

For full schedule and to buy tickets: www.italianfilmfest.org

Maria Arancio Berry - Managing Director - 505-281-0743 - mariaberry97@gmail.com

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