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Sunday, October 11, 2015


The climax of the 9th annual Italian Film Fest is "Viva la Liberte", a brilliant political satire/comedy starring actor Toni Servillo in a dual role.

feStival 2015--What’s nice about the days surrounding Columbus Day in San Diego is that we all get to be Italian.  But why celebrate by just going to a favorite Italian restaurant (plenty of those in North Park)?  Expand our horizons instead of our waistlines to include the ninth annual San Diego Italian Film Festival showcases the best of new Italian film and culture with a series of premieres ranging from engaging dramas and entertaining comedies to documentaries telling unique stories. All but one of the films were produced in Italy in 2013 and 2014, and all but one are San Diego premieres, with several regional premieres and one U.S. premiere.

“Going into our ninth year, this lineup of films is very exciting,” says SDIFF president Victor Laruccia. “We are reminded that the San Diego Italian Film Festival is about more than just movies. It is about history, identity, and a shared appreciation of great Italian cinema and culture—in a word, community. The San Diego Italian Film Festival fulfills the role of Italian piazza or town square, for a diverse audience of film lovers and those who appreciate Italian culture.”

feStivale 2015 begins on October 13, 2015, at the Museum of Photographic Arts, with O’mast. The festival continues with 11 more Italian films, all but one of which have never been shown in San Diego, including incisive documentaries reflecting life and society in Italy today. Venues include the Museum of Photographic Arts, La Paloma Theatre, and UltraStar at Hazard Center.

Details of all feStivale 2015 events and films can be found on the website:

All tickets are $10 ($8 SDIFF Members/Students/Military), at the door, cash only, except for the Gala presentations, which are included in the Gala ticket.


Documentary by Gianluca Migliarotti
October 13 @ 7:30 pm
Venue: Museum of Photographic Arts
Balboa Park
Details:  This San Diego premiere is not the fashion of blazing lights and runways. This is the quiet, generations-old culture of private spaces and the fabrication of a second beautiful skin for a client who aspires to high taste. The work of Neapolitan tailors is justly recognized throughout the world, not only as a very special craft but one that requires no fanfare. In this film we see the hands of masters who stitch melodies into gorgeous fabrics and who make art at once heavenly and human.

Zoran, il mio nipote scemo (Zoran, My Nephew the Idiot)
Comedy by Matteo Oleotto, Italy/Slovenia, 2013
October 14 and October 15       
--Hazard Center, Mission Valley, October 14 @ 7:30 pm
--La Paloma Theatre, Encinitas, October 15 @ 7 pm
Details: San Diego Premieres: Far in the northeast corner of Italy, where border changes made this spot orphan territory, Paolo, a grumpy cook in an old folks’ home, spends his time drinking local wine, until he learns of an inheritance in the neighboring town in Slovenia. Instead of wealth, Paolo gets Zoran, a gawky teen with no redeeming qualities as far as Paolo can see. But then Zoran finds a way of teaming up with Paolo. Can Zoran survive his adventure? This Italian dish is all sweet-and-sour delicious!

Drama by Edoardo De Angelis, Italy, 2014
October 15
Venue: MoPA, Balboa Park @ 7:30 pm
Details: Regional premiere depicts a smart man on the edge of society who knows his talents but not himself. A woman who uses him. Dark streets and dark moments. It all adds up to Noir, which never have happy endings. This one has a stunning setting in Naples, great acting, and choices between bad and even worse. Is there salvation in this film? Is there redemption for a man who has never understood redemption? This is a breathtaking look at the dark insides of human frailty and the horns of a dangerous dilemma.

Il venditore di medicine (The Medicine Seller)           
Drama by Antonio Morabito, Italy/Switzerland, 2014   
Venue: October 16: MoPA, Balboa Park @ 7:30  pm
October 22, La Paloma Theatre, 7 pm
Details:  Previous U.S. screening: only in San Francisco.
A worthy exposé of a pressing problem, both in Italy and the U.S.A.: Corruption in the pharmaceutical industry. Bruno is a drug rep for Zafer. He bribes doctors, deceives colleagues, betrays the trust of close friends. He is the last link in illegal and widespread practices. The movie feels like a Hitchcock suspense when Bruno pulls out all the stops to keep his world from imploding. Claudio Santamaria delivers a multi-dimensional performance, mastering the character’s irritability as pressure increases to the point where he trembles with stress.

Il nome del figlio                                 
Drama by Francesca Archibugi, Italy, 2014
Venues: October 17 at La Paloma Theatre, 7 pm
October 23 at MoPA at 7:30 pm
Details: This San Diego area premiere has everything: secrets. friendships. lies. music. Fights and generations. Families are stuffed with these. What makes an Italian family different? Is it the shadow of their Jewish patriarch’s wartime tragedy? In a single night everything changes for the Pontecorvos, beginning with a teasing joke, ending with powerful revelations, and ultimately with a reaffirmation of both the people and their relationships. It’s a comedy, deeply Italian. And maybe this is all you need to know. An incredible cast, a great story, and a vision of love, hate, and ultimately hope.

Two Films:
October 18 (both)
Documentary by Christopher Wilkinson, U.S.A., 2014
Venue: MoPA 4 pm
Film #1: The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, held every four years in Texas, is about to begin. Running 17 days, the Cliburn invites 30 of the world’s finest pianists to battle it out for top honors. At stake are prizes worth millions, and the winner is practically guaranteed a performing career. This delightful documentary is an engrossing, well-rounded portrait of some of the world’s most talented (and nervous) musicians. And among them there are a few incredible Italians. Come see who is going to win!

Smetto quando voglio (I can quit whenever I want), I
Comedy by Sydney Sibilia, Italy, 2013
Venue: MoPA 7:30 pm
Details: San Diego premiere. Brilliant researcher Pietro is laid off when cuts are made at his university. What a common story in contemporary Italy! But Pietro reacts boldly. He decides to put together a gang with the best of his ex-colleagues, who are by now all underemployed. Macroeconomics, theoretical chemistry, anthropology, and classics all turn out to be perfect for climbing the drug-dealer career ladder. Success is immediate, with money, power, and women. But when you go up too fast, falling down loudly yet with great humor seems to be inevitable.

Maicol Jecson (Moonwalking Distance)
October 19              
Comedy by Francesco Calabrese and Enrico Audenino, Italy, 2014
Venue: MoPA 7:30 pm
Details: U.S. premiere,
It’s the last week of June 2009. Sixteen-year-old Andrea decides to skip summer camp while his parents are on vacation. The boy’s plan is clear: He schemes to be alone with Eva, a beautiful girl who wants to make love for the first time, and with him! His plan, though, is hampered by his younger brother, Tommaso, a smart and introverted kid whose idol is Michael Jackson, and Cesare, an old man who pretends to be their grandfather. Ready for a hilarious adventure on the road?

I nostri ragazzi (The Dinner)
October 20                                      
Drama by Ivano De Matteo, Italy, 2014
Venue: MoPA, 7:30 pm
Details: Regional premiere. Pediatrician Paolo and lawyer Massimo are brothers who seemingly enjoy all the trappings of bourgeois success, dutifully meeting once a month for dinner with their wives at an expensive restaurant despite the women’s mutual dislike. However, when a tape reveals that Paolo’s son and Massimo’s daughter may have done something potentially very wrong, heavy resentments boil to the surface. The tension is intense and the acting is superb: All the players show great intensity and De Matteo adds humanity to Koch’s dark story.

La nostra terra (Mafia & Tomatoes)
October 21                          
Comedy by Giulio Manfredonia, Italy, 2014
Venue: MoPA, 7:30 pm
Details: Politics, humor, irony and the beauty of the Italian countryside. What else should we wish from an Italian comedy? Planting tomatoes may seem a safe enough activity, except when it is conducted on a land confiscated by the State from Mafia bosses. Determined to work the land, a group of dreamers is undeterred by the fact that they don’t know how to farm. Unseen powers, orchestrated by the boss from behind bars, obstruct them at every turn. Nonetheless, the co-op members find ways to muddle through, and they finally produce a fabulous harvest. Is this victory or just the beginning?

L’arbitro (The Referee)
October 22                                                  
Comedy by Paolo Zucca, Italy/Argentina, 2013
Venue: MoPA, 7:30 pm
Details: Regional premiere. In a Sardinian setting as iconic and timeless as the Old West of Monument Valley, Montecrastu and Atletico Parabile fight it out on all levels of life: work, romance, class, sheep, and most of all—calcio (soccer). It’s a blood sport, with Parabile always loosing, with the local boss (and captain of Montecrastu) lording it over all. Into this world come two outsiders: l’Arbitro Cruciani, rising star demoted for getting caught, and striker Matzutzi, Argentine with feet of gold. There are, however, other rules in this world than those of the sport—there’s irony, vendetta, and winning, period.

Viva la libertà (Long Live Freedom)    
October 24 (Closing gala presentation)                                           
Comedy by Roberto Andò, Italy, 2013
Venue: MoPA, 5:30 pm.  This night only. $100 per person ($85 for Members, Students, and Military) includes heavy appetizers and movie.
Details: Enrico Oliveri is an important politician on the verge of a breakdown: Unwilling to face the failure of his party, he vanishes. His assistant Andrea finds out that there is a twin brother, Giovanni, who has been in an institution. Andrea’s plan to have Giovanni pose as Enrico takes a turn when the supposed “crazy” stand-in turns out to have bright ideas wildly embraced by the electorate. A bold political satire with an extraordinary performance by Toni Servillo, who plays two roles,filling each character with brilliant nuance.

About the San Diego Italian Film Festival
A complete lineup of SDIFF events, dates, venues, tickets, and more details, can be found at

Now in its ninth season, the San Diego Italian Film Festival (SDIFF), a not-for-profit 501c(3) organization, has quickly made its mark on the local landscape, joining ranks among the most beloved film festivals San Diego has to offer. Each year it brings the passion, love, comedy, despair, and hope of the best of Italian film to San Diego, affording audiences the opportunity to learn about Italian film from scholars and directors who continue to influence filmmaking throughout the world.

The San Diego Italian Film Festival is about more than just movies—it is about identity, history, and a shared appreciation of Italian culture and great cinema. In a word, it is about community, a place for a diverse audience of film lovers and those who appreciate Italian culture. Movies or events such as CineCucina or Dine on the Docks are presented year-round, celebrating Italian film and cuisine. The annual SDIFF Gala brings people together in lively Italian style providing guests with great film and food for the senses.

San Diego Italian Film Festival
Victor Laruccia, Executive Director
3593 Fifth Ave., Suite A, San Diego, CA 92103

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