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Basilicata in the Spotlight at the Giffoni Film Festival

  The 47th edition of the Giffoni Film Festival is now in the record books. Over the last week, the signature Blue Carpet has been graced with filmmakers who have come from all over the world to celebrate cinema dedicated to children and teens. The first edition of the Giffoni Film Festival took place in 1971 in its namesake city of Giffoni Valle Piana, which is located in the region of Campania. The festival has served not only as an event to watch films, but also as a place for youngsters to learn about the filmmaking process. The French master François Truffaut is ...

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Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival to feature Italian titles

The 2017 edition of Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival is keeping with tradition in featuring a number of contemporary Italian films. The very first edition of the festival took place on August 23, 1946, with a screening of Giacomo Gentiloma’s “’O sole mio” on the lawn of the Grande Hotel. In the years that followed, programmers embraced the great movement of Italian Neo-Realism and today, the cinema of Italy continues to be a leading protagonist of the festival. This year’s Italian selections include Andrea Magnani’s “Easy,” the story of a depressed race car driver missing his days of glory; Marco Tullio Giordana’s ...

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Actor/Director Pif explores grave impact of Allied forces in Sicily during WW II

  Another successful edition of Open Roads: New Italian Cinema is underway in New York City. Now in its 17th year, the annual series is going strong with numerous award-winners along with some unique independent films. The series, which runs until June 7, is a group effort by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Istituto Luce Cinecittà, the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Cultural Institute New York; Casa Italiana Zerilli Marimò—NYU not to mention the tireless champions of Italian cinema who have been with this festival since the beginning- Antonio Monda, Griselda Guerrasio and Monique Catalina. One of the highlights of the 17th edition is ...

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Gomorrah series Director Claudio Cupellini talks about filmmaking in Naples

  Another record season of the popular Italian television series “Gomorrah” is underway on the Sundance Channel. Based on Roberto Saviano’s best-selling book about the Neapolitan mafia, the series centers on three main characters: Ciro di Marzio (Marco D’Amore), Genny Sevastano (Salvatore Esposito) and Pietro Savastano (Fortunato Cerlino) entrenched in the world of organized crime. Set in Naples, the show has come under criticism for depicting the city as a dangerous, crime-infested town. Those criticisms have not hampered the show’s popularity. The action-packed compelling episodes are watched and praised all over the world. Last year, I sat down with one ...

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Cannes 2017: Interview with Director Emanuela Mascherini

  The 2017 Cannes Film Festival is underway in the south of France. Although no Italian films were chosen to compete in the main competition, there is a strong Italian presence across the board. From Claudia Cardinale gracing the official poster to Monica Bellucci acting as Mistress of Ceremonies to Paolo Sorrentino’s jury post to a restored version of Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blow Up” and the selection of films in other categories, there is no shortage of Italian films for festival-goers to enjoy. One film in particular that has caught my eye is a short film made by Emanuela Mascherini. “Offline” ...

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Yuri Ancarini’s falconry documentary soars

  Dating back some 4,000 years, the sport of falconry is still widely practiced today. With origins in the Middle East, falconry is a highly-regarded pastime, which, in some cultures, also serves as a male rite of passage. Italian filmmaker Yuri Ancarini explores an annual falconry competition that takes place in the vast desert of Qatar in his visual masterpiece, The Challenge. Ancarini combines the spectacular desert landscape of the Arabian Peninsula with a dramatic soundtrack and candid moments to give an intimate look into the world of the falconers. Several types of predators from the raptor species of birds are ...

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Nanni Morretti’s latest film opens across the country

  Nanni Moretti’s highly acclaimed film “Mia madre” opens across the country today. To put it simply, this film is a piece of art and is not to be missed. “Mia Madre” has been described as “a whirlwind of intimate and universally-shared emotions.” Moretti presents us with a story to which we can all relate. Based on his own experience, the film stars Margherita Buy whose character, also named Margherita, is a director shooting a film about a group of factory workers who risk losing their jobs. In the meantime, her mother (Giulia Lazzarini) is gravely ill, her teenage daughter ...

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Venice Festival to feature Virtual Reality first

  Cinema history is about to be made at the 73rd edition of the Venice Film Festival coming up in September. The festival just announced the world premiere screening, in a special 40-minute preview, of “Jesus VR – The Story of Christ,” the first Virtual Reality feature-length film ever made. The 90-minute film covers all of Jesus’ life and death, from his baptism to the Last Supper to his crucifixion. Shot in Basilicata’s ancient Sassi district of Matera, the film will be released to the public around Christmastime on all major mobile and premium VR platforms. “I am beyond thrilled to ...

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Venice Festival to showcase unique prison documentary

  The 73rd Venice International Film Festival will be held from August 31 to September 10, 2016. It is directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta. The complete lineup was released last week, revealing a strong selection of Italian films that includes restored classics from yesterday, contemporary filmmakers of today and the young independents of tomorrow. One film in particular has grabbed my attention. In the Special Program selection, you will find a documentary film that takes an in-depth look at a life of incarceration from the perspective of the incarcerated. Director Ambrogio Crespi ...

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Italian cinema receives worldwide attention

  The 13th edition of Italian Screenings, the only annual marketplace event dedicated solely to Italian productions is underway in Bari, located in Italy’s southern region of Puglia. Organized by Istituto Luce Cinecittà, 130 professionals from 30 countries are expected to attend. The purpose is to sell Italian films to buyers throughout the world. Among those professionals is Vincenzo Mosca. He and his business partner Sesto Cifola run the world sales and production company TVCO that recently partnered with CristaldiFilm to make Italian films available throughout the world. Cristaldifilm is operated by Massimo Cristaldi and Zeudi Araya. Massimo is the son of Franco Cristaldi, a monumental movie producer and three-time Oscar winner for some ...

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