What makes the 2016 NM Italian Film & Culture Festival different from its predecessors? Let’s just say that this year Good Things Come in Firsts and Pairs

Jan 26, 2016 976

For the first time in its eight-year history, the NM Italian Film & Culture Festival will have a title sponsor. Make that a pair of title sponsors! Fiat of Albuquerque partners with Scalo Northern Italian Grill in first-line support of the ever-popular festival and its exclusive beneficiary, the UNM Children's Hospital. Each of these community-minded, Italian-based businesses will underwrite the festival with more than $5,000 in goods, services and cash donations.

"The Italian Festival is the premier event of its kind in New Mexico with a great record of success in showcasing Italian cinema and culture, and raising more than $230,000 for the Children's Hospital. "It's an ideal opportunity for both Fiat and Scalo to take a major role in supporting this long-standing and outstanding effort," said "Head Italian," Steve Paternoster, of Scalo Northern Italian Grill.

Scalo will take its support a step further in pairing up with its Central Avenue neighbor, Zinc Bistro and Wine Bar, for the festival's first Dine and Donate program. The program encourages festival patrons to enjoy dinner at Zinc or Scalo during the festival and to show their film ticket; the restaurants will donate 15% of their bill to the festival for the Children's Hospital.

The 2016 festival's film lineup also has its set of firsts and pairs. For the first time there will be two films directed by Italian women. Susanna Nicchiarelli (La scoperta dell'alba – Discovery at Dawn) and Maria Sole Tognazzi (Viaggio sola – A 5-star Life) are two of Italy's up-and-coming female directors to watch. In the Italian film industry where only 4% of directors are women, Nicchiarelli and Tognazzi are commanding widespread, positive attention. Starring in both films is Italy's top actress, multi-award-winning Margharita Buy.

And, while past festivals have named a single film as the "must-see" standout, this year there are two. Both social commentaries address a couple of Italy's thorniest issues with uncommon, farcical perspective. The Festival's highest award-winning film, La mafia uccide solo d'estate (The Mafia Kills Only in Summer) is a black comedy that takes aim at the Sicilian Mafia with irreverent satire. The Festival's showcase film, Viva la liberta' (Long Live Freedom), sets its sights on Italian politics with a facetious story-line and a good dose of whimsical comedy.

The 2016 NM Italian Film & Culture Festival will feature a pair of special events, both hosted by Scalo Northern Italian Grill - with a special guest Fiat 500X Crossover SUV on display at the door. The opening night Kickoff Reception (hors d'oeuvres and wine) on February 16 welcomes a delegation from the Los Angeles Italian Consulate, led by Consul General Antonio Verde. Closing Day's Festa Finale includes a film at The Guild Cinema followed by a short walk across Central for a sumptuous Scalo Italian dinner with wine.

And, finally, Board President of Italian Festivals of New Mexico, John Paolino, is quick to add, "Don't forget, for the first time the festival will be based entirely in Albuquerque's vibrant Nob Hill; and, to kick the fun up just a notch, we'll introduce the first-ever, pre-film 'Spaghetti Bowl Raffles'."

For more details on Italian Festivals of New Mexico and for tickets and information on the 2016 Italian Film & Culture Festival


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