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August 20, 2021

San Diego Italian Film Festival presents feStivale 2021, Combining In-Person and Online Screenings with the Theme of RESILIENCE

San Diego—The San Diego Italian Film Festival (SDIFF) returns to in-person screenings at the Museum of Photographic Arts, with seven films screened in person and two offered online, October 7 - 31, 2021.

feStivale 2021 includes romantic comedies, independent films, dramas, documentaries, and more never seen before in San Diego. The festival’s annual Gala is Saturday, October 23, at the Museum of Photographic Arts, announcing and screening the winners of the Ristretto Awards, SDIFF’s short films competition. 

“After the challenges and collective trauma we have all experienced together over the past 18 months, we at SDIFF are in awe of our community’s resilience, both here in San Diego and in our home country of Italy,” says Artistic Director Antonio Iannotta. “That’s why we’ve chosen the theme of Resilience for this year’s feStivale. Although the challenge of the pandemic is far from over, we are looking forward to returning to in-person screenings in a safe environment, while also keeping films available online. Come join us to celebrate our communal resilience in true Italian fashion.” 

Details of all feStivale 2021 events and films and ticket packages can be found on the website: All films are screened at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park or online.

San Diego Italian Film Festival 2021 feStivale

Lacci / The Ties

Thursday, October 7, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)  

Naples, early 1980s. Aldo and Vanda go through a separation after he reveals an affair. Their two young children are torn between their parents, in a whirlwind of resentment. But the ties that keep people together are inescapable, even without love. Now, 30 years later, Aldo and Vanda are still married. Lacci is a thriller about emotions, a story of loyalty and infidelity, of rancor and shame, with a betrayal, suffering, a secret box, a devastated home, a cat, and the voice of the lovers and that of the estranged.

Rione Sanità: La Certezza dei Sogni / The Certainty of Dreams 

Friday, October 8, 2021 | 7:30 p.m. 
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)  

Father Antonio Loffredo is the key advocate of the rebirth of Rione Sanità, in Naples. From the church of Santa Maria della Sanità the stories of all the protagonists of the film unfold, with developments, plots, hopes and difficulties overcome and to be overcome. Young men and women who have taken control of their destinies pursue a dream they have shaped and given certainty to: running and guiding tours at the Catacombs, schools of theater, music, sculpture and a new sports center. All this, which only fifteen years ago seemed impossible, has become reality. As Father Antonio Loffredo likes to repeat: “At Rione Sanità, humanism either becomes humanity, or it dies.”

Il Traditore / The Traitor

Saturday, October 9, 2021 | 7:30 p.m. 
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)  

The Traitor
tells the true story of Tommaso Buscetta, the man who brought down the Cosa Nostra. In the early 1980s, an all-out war rages between Sicilian mafia bosses over the heroin trade. Tommaso Buscetta, a “made man,” flees to hide out in Brazil. Back home, scores are being settled and Buscetta watches from afar as his sons and brother are killed in Palermo, knowing he may be next. Arrested and extradited to Italy by the Brazilian police, Buscetta makes a decision that will change everything for the Mafia: He decides to meet with Judge Giovanni Falcone and betray the eternal vow he made to the Cosa Nostra.

Rosa Pietra Stella / Rose Stone Star

Sunday, October 10, 2021 | 7:30 p.m. 
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)  

Italian cinema still brings us beautiful, contemporary Neorealist films. Rosa Pietra Stella is the lively fiction feature debut from documentary director Marcello Sannino. The protagonist is 30-year-old Carmela (the title of the film refers to a line from a song with the same title: “Rose, rock, star”), who scrapes together a living doing a range of odd jobs. Her situation becomes more complicated when a deal to provide visas to illegal migrants through a lawyer goes badly wrong, leading to her being evicted from her home along with her mother and her eleven-year-old daughter, Maria. The story portrays everyday life and survival in Portici, the old, multicultural part of Naples where Sannino himself grew up. With a superb eye for local details and a great cast, he tells a nuanced, unsentimental, empathetic tale.

Baci Rubati: Amori omosessuali nell’Italia fascista / Stolen Kisses: Homosexual Love in Fascist Italy

October 14–16, 2021 

This documentary focuses on two different aspects of the repression of LGBT people during the fascist dictatorship: the legislative and psychiatric aspect of the repression, and the courage of those who, despite the imposed restrictions, managed to live their lives following their own inclinations and choices. The film includes a whole series of home-movie and literary materials, such as poems, letters, diaries, and excerpts from works of fiction, largely unpublished, and LGBT-themed figurative art.

Santiago, Italia

Thursday, October 21, 2021 | 7:30 p.m. 
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)  

In the early seventies, the world was watching as Chile democratically elected Socialist leader Salvador Allende. His political ideals and aspirations—including providing education for all children and distributing land to the nation’s workers—terrified the country’s right wing, as well as the U.S., who helped orchestrate a military coup that replaced him with dictator Augusto Pinochet. This tragic history has been well documented, but Italian director Nanni Moretti (Caro Diario, The Son’s Room) adds an angle many viewers may not know about: the efforts of the Italian Embassy at the time to save and relocate citizens targeted by the fascist regime. Told through the testimonies of those who were there, Santiago, Italia is a chilling depiction of living under junta rule and an ultimately inspiring expression of hope amidst dire circumstances.

Molecole / Molecules
Friday, October 22, 2021 | 7:30 p.m. 
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA) 

Between February and April 2020, director Andrea Segre got stuck in Venice during the lockdown: Venice, hometown of his father and just partially his own. At the time, he was working on two theatre and movie projects about threats to the city: tourism and high water. During the filming, the virus froze and emptied out the city before his eyes and gave back the town to its own nature, history, and somehow, also to Andrea. He collected visual notes and stories and spent time in his family home, where he got the chance to dig into the childhood memories that dragged him deeper down than he could have ever imagined. The personal archives on Super8 of Ulderico, father of the director, alternate with encounters with Venice residents, both telling the relationship between the city and the waters and at the same time living the unexpected void that took over Venice and a big part of the world. The images are held together by the director’s out-of-field voice, the music by Teho Teardo and an atmosphere of expectation and amazement which pervades all the visual and existential material of this strange journey, unreal and unrealizable but remaining in the heart of a very real and historical event which has marked and will mark the world forever.

The Ristretto Gala

Saturday, October 23, 2021 | 5:00 p.m. | Tickets: $75
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA) 

Featuring delicious catering by Francesca Penoncelli, formerly of BICE

Party + Screenings of Ristretto Awards Winners

La Fellinette (short) + Guida Romantica ai Posti Perduti / Romantic Guide to Lost Places 

Sunday, October 24, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA) 

“Fellinette,” a little girl drawn in a notebook back in 1971 by Maestro Federico Fellini, is the protagonist of this fairy tale set on the beach in Rimini on January 20, 2020, the day of the hundredth anniversary of the great master’s birth. Through her fervent childish imagination, we will live a melancholic and wonderful adventure, where live action footage and animation combine to celebrate the greatest of directors with dreamlike atmospheres full of poetry.

Romantic Guide to Lost Places
is an unusual road movie that ranges across Europe looking for forgotten places, during which two strangers, both trapped in lives of deceit, come to terms with their own pasts. Benno is over fifty, English, and drinks like a fish; Allegra is twenty years younger, a travel blogger with lots of imagination. They both live off their lies and have no intention of stopping now. Next-door neighbors, they had never met until the day Benno wound up on the wrong floor, and nothing would ever be the same. Serendipity leads this odd couple on a journey towards lost or forgotten places, where their mutual support will help fuel their self-discovery.

Lontano Lontano / Citizens of the World
October 28-30, 2021 | Online 

Three retirees decide to move away from Rome to find a better standard of living in a country where their insufficient pensions will go that much further. Planning for the trip sees the trio trawl the pubs and restaurants of a sun-saturated Rome and discover that even at an old age they can still learn one or two lessons about themselves and life. Gianni Di Gregorio, Italy’s laconic answer to Larry David, returns to the humanist comic territory of arthouse hits Mid-August Lunch and The Salt of Life with this warm and delightful reflection on life with characters you will want to spend many more hours with long after the credits roll.

16 Ristretto Awards finalists
October 1 to October 31
Available to screen online via Eventive

*Subject to change

Click here for feStivale Passes


Our highest-level pass gives you exclusive access to all our films, shorts, and events—plus the knowledge that your generous gift supports the SDIFF!

  • Access to 9 features (7 in-person and 2 online) and 16 shorts (online only)
  • Access to interactive filmmaker Q&As and panel discussions
  • Exclusive early access to panel discussions to meet the directors
  • Access to Gala and Shorts Competition Award
  • Shorts Competition Voting
  • Discounts with Festival Partners
  • Recognition as supporting donor to SDIFF
  • Includes 1-Year SDIFF Membership


Exclusive access to all our films, shorts, and events, including panel discussions with the filmmakers and voting for the best shorts!

  • Access to 9 Features (7 in-person and 2 online) and 16 Shorts (online only)
  • Access to interactive filmmaker Q&As and Panel Discussions
  • Exclusive early access to panel discussions to meet the directors
  • Access to Gala and Shorts Competition Award
  • Shorts Competition Voting
  • Discounts with Festival Partners


Don’t miss any of our nine chosen features, Q&As and panels with experts and special guests.

  • Access to 9 Features (7 in-person and 2 online)
  • Access to interactive filmmaker Q&As and Panel Discussions (includes features only)
  • Feature Film Voting


Support the filmmakers of the future with access to short films and discussions with the directors, and vote for your favorites!

  • Access to 16 Shorts (online only)
  • Access to interactive filmmaker Q&As and Panel Discussions (includes shorts only)
  • Access to Gala and Shorts Competition Award
  • Shorts Competition Voting

A complete lineup of SDIFF events, dates, venues, tickets, and more details can be found at


The San Diego Italian Film Festival is supported in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, San Diego County, the California Arts Council, and the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego.


In order to keep our patrons, staff, and volunteers safe, San Diego Italian Film Festival’s current health and safety requirements are as follows:

SDIFF is a fully vaccinated company. All staff and volunteers present at screenings and events are fully vaccinated. In order to enter the theater or any venue hosting SDIFF events, guests need to have photo ID and either their physical CDC vaccination card or an official government-provided digital vaccine record, with at least 14 days elapsed from the date of final dose. Trained individuals will review proof of vaccination upon arrival. There will be no exceptions to this policy.

Face masks may be required depending on the CDC guidelines at the time of the screening or event. Guests are strongly encouraged to wear an approved mask as much as possible while indoors.

About the San Diego Italian Film Festival

Now celebrating its fifteenth season, the San Diego Italian Film Festival (SDIFF), a not-for-profit 501c(3) organization, has made its mark on the local landscape, becoming 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 and special events are presented year-round, celebrating Italian film and cuisine.

San Diego Italian Film Festival

Victor Laruccia, Executive Director
Antonio Iannotta, Artistic Director
Sanjil Kumar, Managing Director

325 W. Washington St. #2100, San Diego, CA 92103

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Media contact: Stephanie Thompson Communications, 619-840-7353