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Italian contemporary film fest grows by leaps, bounds in York Region
May 26, 2014
By Adam Martin-Robbins

The Italian Contemporary Film Festival reached for the stars this year — and managed to grab a few, too — according to artistic director and co-founder Cristiano de Florentiis.

The third annual festival taking place June 12 to June 20 boasts 65 films — 28 features and 37 shorts — screened in communities across the GTA and Quebec including Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Toronto, Hamilton, Montreal and Quebec City.

“For sure, we are becoming a national festival,” de Florentiis said. “Our effort this year was to include other cities in our festival and so we’re increasing the screenings in Montreal. We reached Hamilton, where there is a large Italian community, and also we reached Quebec City. There is not a large Italian community there, but there is a large community that loves Italian films so this is a big jump for us.”

The inaugural festival launched in 2012 featured 16 films, five of which were screened in Vaughan, with the remaining rolling at theatres in Toronto.

The festival has also taken it up a notch this year in terms of the quality of films, de Florentiis said.

“Not that last year was not good, but the festival is growing and (so is) the reputation around the world, so we had a lot of submissions from many distributors and production companies. We can do a very, very good selection of films,” he said.

Colossus Vaughan Cinemas will screen five films this year, including Sotto Una Buona Stella (Under a Lucky Star), a comedy directed by and starring Carlo Verdone alongside Paola Cortellesi.

It rolls Thursday, June 19 at 7 p.m.

Verdone — a celebrated Italian actor, screenwriter and director — is attending the festival to promote his new film and to receive a lifetime achievement award.

He’s not the only celebrity who will be in town.

Italian actor and comedian Enrico Brignano is coming, too.

Brignano stars in the closing night film, Stai lontana da me (Stay Away From Me), screening Friday June 20, at 7 p.m., at Toronto’s Isabel Bader theatre.

American actors Danny Glover, of Lethal Weapon fame, and Stephen Baldwin are heading north of the border for the world premiere of their science-fiction flick, 2047 Sights of Death.

That film, directed by Alessandro Capone, also features Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen and Rutger Hauer.

It gets underway June 13, at 6:30 p.m., at Toronto’s TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Another highlight is opening night film, La migliore offerta (The Best Offer).

A drama directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, the romantic mystery film stars Geoffrey Rush, Donald Sutherland, Sylvia Hoeks and Jim Sturgess.

It rolls June 12 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, at 7 p.m., and at Colossus Vaughan Cinemas June 16 at 6:30 p.m.

As always, Vaughan screenings are being hosted in partnership with local Italian regional associations.

A reception featuring food and beverages from the region of Italy associated with the evening’s film will be held before or after each screening. 

Richmond Hill Silver City, meanwhile, hosts Amiche da morire (A Girlfriend’s Guide to Murder), directed by Giorgia Farina, at 7 p.m. on June 18 and Tutta colpa di Freud, directed by Paolo Genovese, at 9 p.m.

 “The films really transport you to another country,” de Florentiis said. “And you will see films that are impossible to see (anywhere else) in Canada because this festival is unique. And, second, we bring a lot of emotion to the Canadian audience because Italy is like that. It’s a country that produces a lot of emotion.”