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August 31, 2018

San Diego Italian Film Festival presents feStivale 2018, Celebrating Twelve Years of Bringing Italian Film & Culture to San Diego

feStivale 2018 kicks off with a Launch Party on Friday, September 28, at Bread & Salt in  Barrio Logan. A cornucopia of Italian cinema follows from October 3 to 14, with romantic comedies, independent films, dramas, documentaries, a Spaghetti Western, and more.  The SDIFF annual Gala is Sunday, October 7, at the Museum of Photographic Arts, with a  spotlight on Calabria, featuring authentic cuisine from the region paired with the mockumentary La vera leggenda di Tony Vilar. Live music will be provided by the star of the film, renowned Italian musician Peppe Voltarelli.

The feStivale is launching a new chapter of contribution to the arts in San Diego by showcasing for the first time a selection of independent short movies shown before the main films—a pilot program to launch a future call for submissions.

“We invite everyone to become part of the celebration of life and culture that is our feStivale,” says SDIFF president Victor Laruccia. “You don’t need to be Italian or speak  Italian. Once again this year, the San Diego Italian Film Festival is about more than just movies—it’s about history, identity, and a shared appreciation of great Italian cinema and culture. Our diverse audience welcomes film lovers and anyone who appreciates  Italian culture.”

Details of all feStivale 2018 events and films and ticket packages can be found on the website:

All tickets for individual movies are $12 ($8 SDIFF Members/Students/Military) and can be purchased at the door or online at

feStivale 2018 Schedule:

Launch Party
September 28, 2018, 6:30 PMBread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., San Diego
Launch party $40 / $30 SDIFF members

Ammore e malavita (Love and Bullets) 
Wed., October 3, 2018, 7:30 PMMoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
San Diego Premiere
Comedy/musical, Italy, 2017
Italian with English subtitles
Director: Manetti Bros.

In Naples, Ciro is a feared killer. Along with Rosario, he is one of the two “tigers” at the service of Don Vincenzo, “’o re d’o pesce” (the king of fish), and his astute wife, Donna  Maria. We also meet Fatima, a young nurse, and a dreamer. The two worlds are apparently very distant but fated to collide. When Fatima finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, Ciro is given the job of getting rid of the girl who has seen too much. But things don’t go as planned. The two end up face to face, recognize each other and rediscover in each other the never-forgotten love of their adolescence in this musical comedy unlike any other.

Earlier this year Ammore e malavita won five prizes at the 62nd David di Donatello awards, Italy’s equivalent to the Oscars, after starting the evening with 15 nominations.  The musical crime comedy, which first premiered in competition at the Venice Film  Festival, was awarded for Best Film, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Score, Best  Original Song, and Best Costumes.


Lasciati andare (Let Yourself Go!)  
Thu., October 4, 2018, 7:30 PM
MoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
Comedy/musical, Italy, 2017
Italian with English subtitles
Director: Francesco Amato

Italian star Toni Servillo is Elia, is a Jewish psychoanalyst from a purely Freudian school of thought. Due to his austere and detached manner, he is known to immediately inspire awe in his patients. Elia lives alone in a flat on the same floor as his ex-wife, Giovanna,  with whom he is still secretly in love. After a minor illness, his doctor prescribes an iron-rich diet and physical activity to lose a few extra kilos. That is how Elia chances upon Claudia, a personal trainer with the cult of physique but clearly not of mind.


Caravaggio – L’anima e il sangue (Caravaggio: The Soul and the Blood)   
Fri., October 5, 2018, 7:30 PM
The NAT (Museum of Natural History), Balboa Park
Art/documentary/biography, Italy, 2017
Italian with English subtitles
Director: Jesus Garces Lambert
A panel with art experts follows after the film.

This incredible documentary is a journey through the life, works, and struggles of the great artist Michelangelo Merisi, who took on the name of his hometown, Caravaggio. His life, as well as his art, was marked by lights and shadows, genius and intemperance,  contrasts and contradictions. A revolutionary artist, he was often not so beloved by his contemporaries. He traveled Italy in search of good fortune or perhaps in search of himself, escaping the enemies he always seemed to make along the way, from Milan to  Venice, Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily. Even his death seems a twist of fate: he died in  Porto Ercole, one step away from Rome and salvation.


L’ordine delle cose (The Order of Things)  
Sat., October 6, 2018, 7:30 PMMoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
Drama/migration, Italy & France, 2017
Italian with some parts in English and Arabic with English subtitles
Director: Andrea Segrè
Stay for a Q&A with the director after the film. 

Corrado, a policeman for the European task force in charge of immigration control, is on a field assignment in Libya. During a night patrol in the desert, he meets Swada, a young  Somali woman who left her war-ravaged country in order to try and reach Europe.  Corrado gives her something to eat and drink before she resumes her journey. But their destinies are now linked, and Corrado will soon find himself faced with a choice: respect his orders and the law or save Swada’s life.


feStivale 2018 Gala and film screening: La vera leggenda di Tony Vilar (The True  Legend of Tony Vilar)   
Sun., October 7, 2018, 5:30 PM
MoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
Featuring a live performance by the star of the film, Peppe Voltarelli
Dinner, desserts, gelato, and coffee by local Italian establishments
Gala $75 / $60 SDIFF members (Must attend Gala to view the film)
Mockumentary, Italy, 2006
Italian with English subtitles
Director: Giuseppe Gagliardi

The story of Tony Vilar is half real and half legend. Historically, he is a real-life singing star who was born in Calabria, Italy, moved to Argentina as a child, and became one of the most successful South American singers of the 1960s. At the height of his career, Tony Vilar mysteriously disappeared. But a legend grew up around the disappearance,  and director Giuseppe Gagliardi takes on that legend with a musical tale about fictional  Calabrian singer Peppe Voltarelli, who has always venerated the myth of Tony Vilar.  Setting out to learn what has become of the former crooner, Peppe’s journey leads him from Italy to Buenos Aires and finally New York. The movie plays with both documentary and fiction with this tongue-in-cheek, mockumentary-style spoof,  enlivened by a broadcast of improbable characters. A whimsical road trip film that will finally unveil the mystery of Tony Vilar.


Una questione privata (A Private Affair)    
Mon., October 8, 2018, 7:30 PM
MoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
History, Italy & France, 2017
Italian with English subtitles
Director: Paolo Taviani

Few filmmakers have better embodied Italian cinema over the past 50 years than the  Taviani brothers. This latest film is an elegant tale of young love caught in the whirlwind of war, loosely adapted from a book by Beppe Fenoglio. Set near Turin in 1944, the movie follows student Milton and his friend Giorgio, who both love the same woman. Their friendship is put to the ultimate test against a backdrop of violent struggle after the two men are swept up in the anti-fascist movement. A sensitive, atmospheric film about the connection between the personal and the global, this is an essential capstone to the Taviani vital oeuvre.


The Habit of Beauty      
Tue., October 9, 2018, 7:30 PM
MoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
Drama, Italy & UK, 2016
English and Italian with English subtitles
Director: Mirko Pincelli

Elena and Ernesto are a couple bitterly torn apart by the death of their only child. Three years later, they have both somehow managed to start a new life, until destiny forces them to reconnect and understand that they never really stopped loving one another.  Beautifully shot between a socially divided London and the Italian Alps, the film is a  heartfelt and moving drama.


A Ciambra     
Wed., October 10, 2018, 7:30 PMMoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
Drama, Italy/USA/France/Germany 2017
Italian with English subtitles
Director: Jonas Carpignano

In A Ciambra, a small Romani community in Calabria, near Gioia Tauro, Pio Amato is desperate to grow up fast. At 14, he drinks, smokes, and is one of the few to easily slide between the regions’ factions—the local Italians, the African immigrants, and his fellow  Romani. Pio follows his older brother Cosimo everywhere, learning the necessary skills for life on the streets of their hometown. When Cosimo disappears and things start to go wrong, Pio sets out to prove he’s ready to step into his big brother’s shoes, and in the process must decide if he is truly ready to become a man.


Fresu — Il tempo di un viaggio (Paolo Fresu — A Jazz Journey)        
Thu., October 11, 2018, 7:00 PMLa Paloma Theatre, Encinitas
Documentary, Italy, 2014
Italian with English subtitles
Director: Roberto Minini Merot

A documentary about one of the most prominent jazz trumpet players in the jazz scene,  who performs in more than two hundred concerts a year in almost every part of the globe. Paolo Fresu, from Sardegna, is known for combining jazz with pop, classical,  world or ethnic music. A long series of awards have brought him acclaim as an internationally famous jazz musician. Fresu is also an instructor who leads prestigious jazz seminars. He has recorded more than 350 records, of which almost 100 in his own name or together with international productions and labels.

Once Upon a Time in the West (C’era una volta il West)         
Thu., October 11, 2018, 7:30 PMMoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
In collaboration with Film Geeks and Cinema Junkie 
Spaghetti Western, Italy, 1968, 175 mins
Director: Sergio Leone

In this classic and beloved “Spaghetti Western,” Mrs. McBain moves from New Orleans to frontier Utah, on the very edge of the American West. She arrives to find her new husband and family slaughtered, but by whom? The prime suspect, Cheyenne, befriends her and offers to go after the real killer, assassin gang leader Frank, in her honor. He is accompanied by Harmonica, a man already on a personal quest of his own. With a  memorable soundtrack by Ennio Morricone and starring Claudia Cardinale, Henry  Fonda, Jason Robards, and Charles Bronson, Sergio Leone creates a film about film, a  loving recapitulation of the American Western.


Nome di donna (Woman’s name)          
Fri., October 12, 2018, 7:30 PM
MoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
Drama/sexual harassment, Italy, 2018
Italian with English subtitles
Director: Marco Tullio Giordana

A woman courageously tries to break the silence in a culture of complicity surrounding sexual harassment in this all-too-timely film from veteran Marco Tullio Giordana. Nina is a single mother who takes a job at a home for the elderly in Lombardy, where the inappropriate verbal treatment of her new manager turns into outright assault. Nina ’s quest for justice brings her face to face with the cultural and institutional mechanisms that allowed for the harassment in the first place. Ultimately, Nina is one of the most multidimensional and inspiring protagonists in recent Italian cinema.


Call Me By Your Name (Chiamami col tuo nome)           
Sat. October 13, 2018, 7:30 PMMoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
Academy Award winner for Best Adapted Screenplay 
Academy Award nominee for Best Picture 
Romance, Italy/France/USA, 2017
English, with some Italian and French with English subtitles
Director: Luca Guadagnino

It’s the summer of 1983 in beautiful northern Italy, and Elio, a precocious 17-year-old  Italian-American boy, spends his days in his family’s 17th-century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia. While Elio ’s sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly in matters of the heart. When Oliver, a handsome American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern to help Elio’s father, an eminent professor of Greco-Roman culture, Elio takes notice. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the idyllic setting, Elio and  Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever. Starring Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet (Academy  Award nominee for Best Actor), this sensual and transcendent tale of first love is based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman and has won multiple awards.


Gatta Cenerentola (Cinderella the Cat) 
Sun., October 14, 2018, 7:30 PM
MoPA (Museum of Photographic Arts), Balboa Park
In collaboration with Little Fish Comic Book Studio
Animation/sci-fi, Italy, 2017
Italian, French with English subtitles
Director: Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, Dario Sansone

Sometime in the near future, we meet Cinderella, who has grown up inside Megaride, a huge ship that has been anchored in the Port of Naples for more than 15 years. Her father, a rich businessman, and scientist, has died, taking to the grave the technological secrets of the ship and his dream of bringing the port back to life. Cinderella, now a  mysterious teenager, is seduced by a Mafia boss and tormented by a vicious stepmother.  The classic Cinderella fairytale gets an unexpectedly dark update in this strikingly animated film from an Italian directorial quartet.


Subject to change

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.

About the San Diego Italian Film Festival 

Now celebrating its twelfth season, the San Diego Italian Film Festival (SDIFF), a not-for-profit 501(c)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 or events such as CineCucina or Dine on the Docks are presented year-round, celebrating Italian film and cuisine.

San Diego Italian Film Festival 
Victor Laruccia, Executive Director 
325 W. Washington St. #2100, San Diego, CA 92103

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