It's the 10th anniversary of the NM Italian Film & Culture Festival

Mar 06, 2017 1018

In just a few weeks, Italian Festivals of New Mexico (IFNM) rolls out the 10th edition of its annual flagship event with a best-yet lineup of contemporary Italian films, a sampling of some of the finest, most authentic Italian cuisine and wine in New Mexico, and live music and dance performances by unique local talent. IFNM’s mission is to raise awareness of Italian culture in New Mexico and of its leading role on the world-stage of art, music, fashion, cinema, cuisine and more. 

“Italian food tops the list of the most popular ethnic cuisine in the US.  Italian film has had an enduring impact on the film industry worldwide.  The richness of Italian art, architecture, and music are recognized everywhere.  It’s cause for celebration,” said IFNM President, Maria Arancio Berry.  “Add to it the Italians’ significant contributions to the economic, social and political development of New Mexico, and there’s even more reason to throw a big Italian festival.”

At the 10th anniversary mark, it’s safe to say that IFNM’s annual big Italian festival has become an institution in the Duke City.  Sponsorships are up, website hits are up, early ticket sales are breaking all records, and the festival was just named among the top 5 Best of the City.

Popularity of the NM Italian Film & Culture Festival is also a matter of where festival dollars go. Festival proceeds benefit New Mexico’s disadvantaged children.  Over a 9-year run, the festival has raised more than $250,000 for children.  “Patrons, sponsors, volunteers welcome the opportunity to enjoy the festival while at the same time supporting an important community cause.” noted Berry.

Festival 2017’s new Hiland Theater venue affords the ideal platform for its milestone 10th anniversary celebration, with a 600 seat theater and ample event space for two of the festival’s food, wine, and music events.  “We were so excited when NDI offered us the use of their home at the Hiland,” continues Berry.  “It’s an inspired partnership.  We share with NDI the vital calling to champion disadvantaged and underserved children.  And now, we no longer have to limit ticket sales and turn away patrons for lack of space.  We can hold events and films in a single location; plus, we stay within the festival’s traditional Nob Hill area.”  

Highlights of the 2017 NM Italian Film & Culture Festival

  • Italian song, ranging from Italian pop to Italian opera, performed live by recently-discovered professional, local talent that will leave you saying, “Who knew?”
  • Live dance performances by the children of NDI as a gift to the festival.
  • Italian stuzzichini (snacks), buffet fare, and an elegant gran finale dinner at Scalo Northern Italian Grill, all with Italian wines and that festive Italian fizz known as Prosecco.
  • 7 of the most engaging films made in Italy since 2014, including:

Noi e la Giulia (The Legendary Giulia and Other Miracles) Tuesday, March 21, 6:45 PM 24-time award-winning comedy that follows the adventures of Diego, Claudio and Fausto who buy an abandoned farmhouse to transform into an agriturismo.  Here, Giulia is the legendary Alfa Romeo car.   A 2017 Giulia will be on display at the Hiland for the screening of this film.

Palio Wednesday, March 22, 7:00 PM  A documentary about the oldest horse race in the world: the Palio, in which strategy, bribery and corruption play as much a part as the skill of the riders.  Palio is the thrilling story of a young 'outsider' keen to break in to the dangerous but lucrative race and the corrupt 'insider' who has manipulated the city of Siena for a decade. Their passionate and dramatic battle is an epic and cinematic tale of Italian life in microcosm. 

Una storia sbagliata (Another South) Thursday, March 23, 7:00 PM  Stefania is a nurse and soldier’s widow from Gela, Sicily who, during the second Gulf War, takes part in a humanitarian mission to Iraq to help children affected by cleft lip.  But Stefania is not just any volunteer. The humanitarian operation is her cover for an intensely personal mission of revenge on the family of the suicide bomber who killed her husband.  In her quest she finds cross-cultural similarities between her homeland and the war-torn country of Iraq.

Se Dio vuole (God Willing) Friday, March 24, 7:00 PM  The festival’s 27 award-winning showcase film and Italy’s #1 smash-hit comedy in 2016.  What does an authoritarian, atheist, liberal father do when his son tells him that he wants to become a priest?   An esteemed heart surgeon’s oldest son musters the courage to announce that he has decided to enter the priesthood. It’s a terrible shock, but one that leads to a hilarious father-son journey of mutual discovery.

La nostra terra (Mafia and Red Tomatoes) Saturday, March 25, 2:00 PM  The film portrays a makeshift cooperative of farmers at work on land confiscated by the Mafia.  In the words of director, Giulio Manfredonia, “The movie tells a true story, without neglecting the lighter side of such tiresome human affairs.  I wanted to tell the story of this strange fight against the Mafia that involves growing zucchinis and tomatoes.  It’s positive anti-Mafia action that’s not repressive; rather, it proposes an alternative model.”

Io, Arlecchino (I, Harlequin) Saturday, March 25, 7:00 PM   A contemporary fairytale and a light-hearted, life-affirming film that tells the story of a dysfunctional father-son relationship against the colorful backdrop of the magical Italian theatrical tradition of the Commedia Dell’Arte.  It’s the story of a man struggling to discover his true self, of the rejection of trash TV, and of the quest for romantic fulfillment.

Il nome del figlio (An Italian Name) Sunday, March 26, 3:00 PM  Paolo and Simona are expecting a baby.  At a dinner party with family and friends, mayhem ensues when they announce the name they’ve chosen for their child.  Light, fun, and an enjoyable window into today’s Italian social climate.

All films are in Italian with English subtitles

Festival 2017 Events include:

L’inaugurazione (The Grand Opening) Tuesday, March 21, 5:00 PM - a buffet and wine reception catered by Scalo Northern Italian Grill, with entertainment by Donatella and Ennio, the simpaticissimo Italian pop duo known as Evergreen, followed by an NDI dance performance and the opening night film.

Brindiamo! (Let’s Toast!) Friday, March 24, 6:00 PM - savory snacks of stuzzichini e cichetti (small bites) with Prosecco to toast to the 10th Anniversary of the Italian Festival and with an unforgettable live performance by Gabriele Elli – The Italian Elvis – singing Elvis in Italian, followed by an NDI dance performance and the festival’s showcase film.

Il Gran Finale Film and Dinner Experience Sunday, March 26, 5:00 PM -  following the 3:00 PM film, the elegant closing event of Festival 2017 – a festival tradition at Scalo Northern Italian Grill featuring a superb dinner experience prepared by Scalo Executive Chef Garrick Mendoza with Italian wine and live opera.

Full Schedule and Tickets at


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