direttore Paolo Di Maira

FOCUS/Italian Cinema in Middle America

2013  is  the  Year of  Italian Culture  in the  USA: the special bond that unites these two countries is being celebrated with a series of cultural initiatives in many different cities of the United States.  The packed calendar of events will reserve an important space for movies: alongside the tributes to Pier Paolo Pasolini and Marco Bellocchio,  and  exhibitions  offering  views  of the  many  facets  of  the  relationship  between cinema and made in Italy (“Hats on Film”, dedicated to hats in movies, which was held in Los Angeles during Oscar week; “Star Wigs”, about the wigs, costumes and accessories used in cinema, in Washington from April 30 th  – May 6 th ), there will be the numerous festivals that have,
for many years, taken Italian movies from one end of the States to the other, to some of the country’s  smallest  towns,  far  away  from  the glamour and the coastal cities. There are many small festivals organized by volunteers with a high level of involvement of the public (that often assign the awards) and private sponsors.
One example is the Italian Film Festival USA, which is held from March 26 th  – May 18 th  in twelve cities in the Midwest and Mountain States: St. Louis, Missouri; Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Kansas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Cleveland, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Columbia, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Indianapolis, Indiana; Memphis, Tennessee; and Boulder, Colorado.
“Lots of movies go to the coasts –  New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco – but few reach the inland cities.  I founded the festival in 2005 in St. Louis: I had just come back from Italy where I had been living for two years and I was very disappointed not to have a chance to see the latest Italian pictures”, says Barbara Klein, of the St. Louis Italian Film Festival, the no-profit association that organizes the festival.  “After the great success of St. Louis, I decided to take the festival to other inland cities with the cooperation of Italian lecturers at various universities.  Thanks to the contribution of many sponsors, admission is free, and all the movies are screened in Italian with English subtitles.
In 2012 we had over 8,500 spectators.  There are a lot of Italians working in the USA, often university researchers: for them this is a wonderful opportunity to meet other people from their own country and to see Italian movies.
Then there are the Italian Americans who want to learn more about the country of their ancestors, Italian language students and movie buffs”.
The films scheduled for the 2013 festival are: “Terraferma” by Emanuele Crialese, “Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy” by Marco Tullio  Giordana,  “The  Entrepreneur”  by Giuliano Montaldo, “The Human Cargo” by Daniele Vicari, “It Was the Son” by Daniele Ciprì, “One Day More” by Massimo Venier, “Escort  in  Love”  by  Massimiliano  Bruno,
“Even If It Is Love You Don’t See It” by Salvatore Ficarra  and  Valentino  Picone,  “Torment-Designed Film” by Fliberto Scarpelli, “Caesar Must Die” by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, “Shun Li and the Poet” by Andrea Segre, “The First on the List” by Roan Johnson, “The Immature-The Trip” by Paolo Genovese and “Welcome to the North” by Luca Miniero. “This year, some of the movies have been incred ibly successful, such as “Welcome to the North” which attracted 710 spectators to the Detroit Film Theater.  “The First on the List” was also very popular”, concludes Klein.  “The final leg of the festival is Indianapolis on May 18th: we expect to reach a total of 10,000 spectators with this edition!”
“The Immature 2 – The Trip” and “Escort in Love” were also screened in Atlanta in April, at Cinema Italy (together with “The Woman of  My Life” by Luca Lucini,“Maternity Blues” by Fabrizio Cattani, “Martino’s Summer” by Massi-
mo Natale, “Lezioni di Cioccolato 2” by Alessio Maria Federici and “We Can Do That” by Giulio Manfredonia): “The festival, which this year we are also taking to San Juan in Porto Rico from May 16 th  – 18 th , will offer a ‘repeat screening’ of the best movies from Cinema Italy in Miami, which is held in October, and is eleven years old this year”.
The director, Claudio Di Persia, explains “in addition to features, we also screen documentaries and shorts, as well as tributes to some of the “big names” in classical cinema.  The screenings are free and every evening there is an after movie party in the best clubs of Miami Beach for our audiences with whom we keep in contact all year round through our Newsletter, one free screening a month in Miami and Atlanta and a series of other events.  In Miami and Atlanta we have more than 8,000 spectators who have been following us for years”.
The Cleveland Italian Film Festival (from September 12 th  to October 3 rd ) also holds suppers prepared by a famous chef, based on the theme of the opening movie, before the screenings.
The movies selected are not limited last season’s titles, “however, the older pictures are also the most difficult to find”, explains the director of the Festival, Joyce Mariani: “It would be bet-ter if relations with Italian distributors could be
made simpler, more immediate, if DVDs were also available with English subtitles, because the
demand is there but sometimes is seems as if cinema is not an industry for you Italians and
that is a shame because Italian movies, your comedies, are full of creativity, talent and imagination”.
In Boston, in September, contemporary Italian cinema will be the protagonist of “Italian Cinema: the newest wave”, the result of a collaboration between the Italian Consulate in Boston and the Harvard Film Archive which jointly organized a review of the Risorgimento in 2011 and, in 2012, a tribute to Michelangelo Antonioni.
On May 3 rd , Apulia became the protagonist with an evening dedicated to the actor, producer and director, Joe Mantenga, organized by the Puglia Center of America and the Italian Cultural Institute of Los Angeles, and with the
Italian Film Festival Sudestival (from May 21 st  – 23 rd  in Washington).
The Year of Italian Culture in the US will also feature other initiatives held along the coasts: new and established events, such as ItaliANimation, in Los Angeles, an evening dedicated to Italian animated movies (June 11 th ) or  Open  Roads.  New Italian Cinema, organized at the Lincoln Center in New York by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Cinecittà Luce.
The year will end with N.I.C.E., the historic festival directed by Viviana Del Bianco which, for over twenty years – in the month of November – has brought many young Italian movie directors to America (New York, San Francisco
and Philadelphia). The 23 rd  edition (November 7 th  – 27 th ) will present seven recently produced debut or second works.

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