For the 9th year, the Italian Festivals of New Mexico is presenting a wonderful event to honor Italian culture and its place in the world of film, art, music, fashion, food and much more. From February 16-21, the Italian Film & Cultural Festival will showcase 7 films, offer a unique Kickoff Reception and close with a film followed by dinner at Scalo Northern Italian Grill.
The Guild Cinema, 3405 Central Ave NE, will host all films. Festival and other passes are available at the Italian Festivals of New Mexico website. Unsold seats, if any, will be available at the door before each film for $10 but pre-purchasing is recommended. All films are in Italian with English subtitles.
The Festival’s tradition is to raises funds for the UNM Children’s Hospital. “Over its past eight runs, the festival has raised more than $230,000 for the Hospital,” notes IFNM Board Treasurer, Carl Alongi.
The opening night Kickoff Reception on February 16 will include hors d’oeuvres and wine. A delegation from the Los Angeles Italian Consulate, led by Consul General Antonio Verde, is attending. This delegation includes Dr. Florindo Blandino, Director, Italian Trade Commission and Valeria Rumori, Director, Italian Cultural Institute. The purpose of their mission is to strengthen bonds of friendship and cooperation between Italy and New Mexico in the areas of trade, culture and tourism.
The delegation will be hosted at the restaurant Osteria d’Assisi in Santa Fe by New Mexico Honorary Consul Cavaliere Lino Pertusini at 6:00 PM on February 15. The reception is open to the public for $39.50/person and will be attended by Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales and other Santa Fe city officials.
On Tuesday, February 16 at 5:00 PM, the delegation will be honored guests of both Rosalba Maniaci, New Mexico Consular Agent, and the Italian Festivals of New Mexico at the opening Kickoff Reception. The Kickoff will be at Scalo Northern Italian Grill in Albuquerque and is open to the public for $25/person (which includes the opening night film).
The opening film, screening at 7:00 pm on February 16, is “Ti Ricordi Di Me?” (“Remember Me?”) (2014, 9l minutes), directed by Rolando Ravello. This romantic comedy is about a relationship between two patients who meet in front of their therapist’s office. Beatrice, a school teacher, suffers from narcolepsy and amnesia. She compulsively documents everything that happens in her life. Robert is a kleptomaniac who write fairy tales that are too scary for children. Will love cure their ailments?
The second film, a drama screening February 17 at 7:00 pm, is “La Mia Classe” (“My Class”) (2013, 92 minutes), directed by Daniele Gaglianone. This is a docudrama about immigrants enrolled in a class to learn Italian, and includes both actors and real refugees. Immigration is an issue front and center around the world, and this film brings their stories to life.
On February 18 at 7:00 pm, Director Susanna Nicchiarelli’s “La Scoperta Dell’Alba” (2012, 95 minutes) screens, a film in which she also co-stars. This is a drama/fantasy about two sisters whose father disappeared in the past. Through the use of a rotary phone, they are able to phone the past.
The fourth film, “La Mafia Uccide Solo D’Estate” (“The Mafia Only Kills in Summer”) (2013, 90 minutes), screens February 19 at 7:00 pm. Directed by Pierfrancesco Diliberto, this film blends fact and fiction in telling the story of the Sicilian Mafia from the 1970s to the 1990s in Palermo. It has been nominated for 25 awards, winning 13, including Best Screenplay (Italian Golden Globes) and Best New Director (Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists).
On February 20 at 2:30 pm “Uno Su Due” (“One Out of Two”) (2006, 100 minutes) screens, a drama directed by Eugenio Cappuccio. Lorenzo, a successful attorney, is about to complete a big deal in Russia when he falls to the ground unconscious, awakening in a hospital. He has to now deal with a possible brain tumor, where only one of two survives.
At 7:00 pm on February 20, “Viaggio Sola” (“A Five Star Life”) (2013, 85 minutes) screens. Directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi, this film is about Irene, a woman with a job she loves but with a life she begins to question. What fulfills us personally and professionally? This film explores the life of someone who seems to be living the dream.
February 21 is the festival finale. At 3:30 pm, “Viva La Liberta” (“Long Live Freedom”” screens (2013, 94 minutes). Directed by Roberto Andò, this comedy/drama is the story of a political candidate who disappears after his poll numbers drop. The party leadership recruits his twin brother to stand in for him, a completely different man, troubled but charismatic and brilliant. Another winner of multiple awards, this is a fantastic film for closing the festival.
After this film finale, dinner is served at Scalo Northern Italian Grill ($50/person) and patrons can also take a first look at a Fiat 500X Crossover SUV.
This year, the festival is sponsored by Fiat of Albuquerque and Scalo Northern Italian Grill, each of whom is playing a major role in fundraising by donating more than $5,000 in goods, services and cash. There are also sponsors for each film night, listed on the festival’s website.
Scalo is pairing up with its Central Avenue neighbor, Zinc Bistro and Wine Bar, for the festival’s first Dine and Donate program. The program encourages festival patrons to enjoy dinner at Zinc or Scalo during the festival and to show their film ticket; the restaurants will then donate 15% of their bill to the festival for the Children’s Hospital.
For more information, prices for the dinners and other special events, and tickets (including individual tickets along with the all-festival pass) go to the Italian Festivals of New Mexico website.