Articles by: N. L.

  • Facts & Stories

    Renzi Meets the Italian Community of NYC

    Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has been in New York for a few days now. He has attended his first General Assembly at the United Nations where, after Ban Ki-Moon's and Obama's speeches, he has discussed burning international issues and national emergencies.
                                                                                                                                                                                         Despite his pressing calendar, he has found the time to address the Italian community at a   presentation held at the Consulate General of Italy, that followed a private meeting with New York City's mayor Bill de Blasio.                 

    Representing the Italian American community himself, De Blasio expressed his pride for the young PM, who embodies “a new kind of leadership that gives a lot of hope for the future of Italy.”

    Introduced by Consul General Natalia Quintavalle, who was accompanied by the Governor of the State of New York, Andrew Cuomo, the premier touched several hot topics in a speech directed specifically to the community. The American dream, globalization, the future, opportunities, the pride of being Italian, the uniqueness of being Italian are just a few points presented in his motivational words.

    “Let me speak directly to the community, the Italian people who are here tonight,” he stated after a brief intro, “I know that many of you live in this city, the most important city in the world, with the spirit of those who have made their dreams come true. It's simply amazing  that New York has welcomed, through the years, decades to be exact, all sorts of dreams and has turned them into fascinating projects. According to old tales, our grandparents, our great grandparents, came here with a dream as they admired  the shape of the Statue of Liberty from afar. Now we get here by plane but still we know how difficult it is to build a future here, with determination and courage. The Italian community in this country is rich with history and has done a lot for this city. We have learned a lot from NYC and at the same time we have given much to this city, we have helped it become what it is, the biggest city in the world. I am addressing you not as new yorkers or residents of this global city but as Italian citizens or even people who love Italy and see it as home to their affections. I believe that Italy can and must do more. And that we must not look at the world as a menace or something dangerous.”

    “If you've been following what's happening back in Italy you know that globalization is being perceived as a great and scary unknown. It's been said that in the past Italy was a medium country in a small world, that's why we were important. Now that the world has broken any sort of barriers and has become flat there is no more room for Italy. Let's defend ourselves, what are we afraid of? This perception cannot be more incorrect. Globalization is the greatest opportunity, and just a few, people like you, are aware of that.”

    At this point Renzi introduced the concept of Made in Italy, a concept that is dear to the Italian institution here in the US as they are working hard at promoting all that Italy is and can offer.

    “Just a few know that the expression Made in Italy is not applicable only to a dress, or a bottle of wine. Made in Italy represents a life style, a way of living and relating to everyday life. In a world that has 800 million of new consumers we have to stop thinking that globalization is a problem. Globalization is our greatest opportunity to move forward. The global world asks for beauty, for excellence and we can fulfill that request. Maybe in the past years we have not been able to fulfill it completely. We all have to work together in showing that we love our past and that we are proud and jealous of what we have accomplished. Being jealous of something or someone is beautiful, and let's be jealous of our future too. Let's look at it without thinking that Italy has already done everything it could.”

    “In order to do this we have to change, I believe there is plenty of room for us, but first of all we have to work hard at it. The great lesson that this City teaches us is that is you want to stay afloat you have to run. Italy has to do the same. It you stand still nothing happens, if you move or even accelerate you stay afloat. My goal is to really bring some change, and I ask for your help. Even though you are not in Italy there's a lot you can do, and not limited to just voting. I'm not asking for your consent or your electoral support, I'm asking for a lot more, and that is to be citizens. Let's not stop believing that Italy's future is a great opportunity, let's be aware that we have problems and things don't work. But our country has an extraordinary strength. We have a high public debt, true but we also have businesses that keep growing despite politics.”

    As he approached the end of his speech, Renzi was able to transform the negative connotation of a common Italian expression into something inspirational. Not an easy feat but definitely something that is worth thinking about.

    “There is an expression that makes me think “Non facciamo all'Italiana” (Let's not act Italian). What does it mean. At the airport your son runs away and cuts in front of the line so you tell him not to act Italian. Or when we don't ask for a receipt when we pay for something. Why? Cause we are used to thinking badly about ourselves. We think that acting Italian means being a bit sneaky. You know, in the whole world acting Italian means something else: it means that we have built the grandest works of art, it means that we have created systems that projected us into the future. It means that we are the custodians of endless and unparalleled beauty that needs to be let free.”

    “Our objective is to be protective of our past and of our future, and if in order to accomplish this we have to fight in Parliament, we will do it. If we have to challenge a strong opposition,we'll do so. I ask for your help. Be Italian, and that does not mean cut to the front of the line but it means to cherish the great beauty we are here to represent. If we all do this I believe we will go back to being proud of a country that has an extraordinary past and the great opportunity to go back to being what it was.”

    The PM's speech was followed by a statement by Governor Cuomo. This was the first visit of the Italian American politician to the Consulate and that made the day even more special. Cuomo really wanted to be present to speak to the community and show his support for the Italian premier.

    “The state of New York has the second largest Italian population outside of Italy” he started, “We cherish Italian American culture here. I have the pleasure of being an Italian American governor, and I come from what I call a mixed marriage. My father's family was form Napoli, my mother's from Sicily, that's why I call it a mixed marriage. My father was governor from 1982 to 1994 and he worked really hard to strengthen the bonds with Italy and I want to start where he left off. There is a special connection between New York and Italy and I want to make it even stronger.”

    How many stories of this city involve Italian immigrants, our ancestors who came here (like Renzi mentioned) with a suitcase and a dream? And how many of these stories portray them unjustly for a reason or another? Governor Cuomo had something to say about that.

    “The truth is that the Italian American community in this country has never been given its just due. The story of the Italian American people is not a fair story and its hasn't been communicated. The Italian American community is portrayed in movies and in books as a crude community. The truth is the exact opposite. The Italian community is the most sophisticated: think of Italian culture, Italian artists, Italian musicians. I want that message to radiate in this state and I want this country to know the truth of the Italian American people, because they deserve it.”

    “Secondly as the prime minister was pointing out; the world is shrinking on us. It's getting smaller and smaller every day and the distance between Italy and the United States has gotten smaller. Our ability to reach out across the ocean and help one another has gotten easier and more necessary than ever before. We can help each other immensely in terms of economic development, in terms of energy issues, public health issues. One country's issues are now global issues and our ability to do things together is more important than ever before. It would be my honor and my pleasure to build stronger relations with Italy during my tenure.”

    Lastly, the Governor decided to express, his support for Renzi and his desire of collaborating with him in facing the challenges of our uncertain times.

    “We are excited about the Prime Minister, everybody is. He's a young star, everybody sees it already and the reports are that he is forte and bravo, which is important. Now is a very tough time to be in government whether it's in Italy or in New York, the challenges are very real. The economy is bad everywhere, the challenges of terrorism we are dealing with in this country are very real, we have to be strong. In politics it's a tough choice because people resist change. Change is hard but it is necessary for the future, because if you do not change you do not grow. So it takes a strong leader to take a government and the people through these times and I believe you have that leader is this PM and it's going to be my intention to do as much as I can, in friendship, in association in helping each other and working together in both a cultural and an economic phase.”

  • Events: Reports

    Minervini's Texas Trilogy Presented at Lincoln Center

    The Film Society of Lincoln Center is dedicating some time to the work of an Italian director that is getting to be known in the US: Roberto Minervini. His Texas Trilogy is scheduled to be screened from September 19-25, along with an exclusive one-week only run of Stop the Pounding Heart at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center.

    “Minervini strips away Lone Star preconceptions in a trilogy of films that burrow deep into
    the mores of the Italian-born filmmaker’s new homeland. Observant but unobtrusive, Minervini merges documentary and neorealist techniques to render his stories, and the people inhabiting them, with dignity and compassion,” the Film Society announced.

    Minervini was born in Italy, moved to the Philippines to begin an academic career, but then moved to Texas for personal reasons. “I became heavily involved with the local communities and decided to start making films on my own unstructured terms,” he has said.

    The Passage
    Roberto Minervini, USA/Belgium, 2011, DCP, 85m
    In writer/director Roberto Minervini’s feature debut, Ana (Soledad St. Hilaire), a middle-aged woman living alone in a border town, is told she has terminal cancer. With just weeks to live, she asks new acquaintance—and ex-con—Jack (Mean Gene Kelton) to drive her to a faith healer in Marfa, Texas. They are joined on the road by friendly British artist Harold (Alan Lyddiard). Though the trio have few commonalities in worldview or life experience, time spent together brings out unexpected affinities. What might have been a sentimental medley of clichés emerges as a graceful character study, with Minervini revealing a keen ear for regional expression and a generosity of spirit comparable to Sayles and Linklater.
    September 21, 4:30pm
    September 23, 7:00pm

    Low Tide
    Roberto Minervini, USA/Italy/Belgium, 2012, DCP, 92m
    Bearing traces of Huck Finn and Antoine Doinel, Low Tide’s nameless adolescent hero (Daniel Blanchard) runs errands and cares for his substance-abusing mother (Melissa McKinney). Roberto Minervini’s second feature casts nonprofessionals to magnificently truthful effect, and the writer/director demonstrates his characteristic sensitivity for small Texas towns and their resilient denizens. Blanchard is seldom off-screen, as Minervini follows him on his “rounds” from the nursing home where his mother works to a slaughterhouse, but also to the river to catch frogs and fish. Minervini does not mute the hardships of his protagonist’s life, nor does he deny him the right to be 12 years old.
    September 21, 7:00pm
    September 24, 7:00pm

    Stop the Pounding Heart
    Roberto Minervini, Belgium/Italy/USA, 2013, DCP, 100m
    Sara (Sara Carlson, playing herself) is part of a devout Christian goat-farming family with 12 children, all home-schooled and raised with strict moral guidance from the Scriptures. Set in a rural community that has remained isolated from technological advances and lifestyle influence—no phones, TVs, computers, or drunken-teen brawls—the subtly narrative film follows Sara and Colby, two 14-year-olds with vastly different backgrounds who are quietly drawn to each other. In Minervini’s intimate documentary-style portrait—the third in the Italian-born filmmaker’s Texas trilogy—Sara’s commitment to her faith is never questioned. It’s the power of the director’s nonintrusive handheld-camera style that reveals his protagonist’s spiritual and emotional inner turmoil about her place in a faith that requires women to be subservient to their fathers before becoming their husbands’ helpers. By also presenting an authentic, impartial portrayal of the Texas Bible Belt, Minervini allows humanity and complexity behind the stereotypes to show through. A Big World Pictures release.
    Opens September 19

    Stop the Pounding Heart 
    premieredat the 66th Cannes Film Festival in 2013, and it received quite a good amount of praise. “A modest film made with an authenticity that commands respect,” raved The Hollywood Reporter. The film was also presented at The Film Society's New Directors/New Films. He has said about the film, “At first I wasn’t sure what kind of film I wanted to make. I began working with two families that I had developed strong ties with, whose lifestyles and values were fascinating, and surely worth exploring further. The story of Sara and Colby surfaced during the shoot and unfolded before my eyes, day after day. It is an autogenetic story that needed to be told, because many people don't have contact with these populations, even though they are true American archetypes.”

  • Art & Culture

    Futurism @ the IIC with Massimiliano Finazzer Flory

    Why do we want to bring Futurism to the stage? Because it's part of our history. Because we are in love with the transcendent tomorrow. Because we believe in the wireless imagination.

    Theatre is life. Life is movement. Movement is Futurism.   

    A Great Futurist Evening depicts the life, the movement, the power and the habit of energy that the Futurists demanded from Italy, a country that had, perhaps, already lost the "love of danger and fearlessness".   

    Massimiliano Finazzer Flory examines the power of affirmation, of fantasy, and of technological civilizations with words of freedom and imagination. He becomes the "athlete of the heart" taking on the role of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and his Futurist Manifestos.

    Without Marinetti there would be no Futurism. Finazzer Flory also gives a voice to Giovanni Papini, one hundred years after the publication of his controversial and fledgling magazine Lacerba. Papini worked against a useless admiration of the past in favour of the young generation.   

    An intense, incendiary performance, that touches the identity of man, at the heart of which voice and body come together to sing, "the great crowds agitated by work, pleasure and revolt".

    "Futurism", explains Finazzer Flory in Italian daily Corriere della Sera (August 11, 2013), "celebrated life, of which man is the foremost masterpiece and energy the foremost work of art. But what energy do we see today?

    We live in a time which unites us all politically in the name of transformation and conformity. And so, as Papini would say, opening the windows is no longer enough: we must have the courage to knock down a few doors. Better to disturb the peace than play the compliant chimpanzee".

    Director and performer
    Massimiliano Finazzer Flory

    Music by Stravinsky, Casella, Cilea, Sakamoto
    Costumes Sartoria Brancato Milano

    Tuesday, August 26
    Italian Cultural Institute
    686 Park Avenue
    New York


    This is the  consecutive year that Finazzer Flory brings a show to the US. In 2011-2012 he came with I Promessi sposi  (The Betrothed), in 2013 he brought Pinocchio, storia di un burattino (Pinocchio, the story of a puppet), and now it's the time of Gran Serata Futurista. This play is about movement, energy, mechanical splendor, and unconstrained imagination. Finazzer Flory voices the Manifesti Futuristi  (Futurist Manifestos) of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, because with no Marinetti there will be no Futurism. And just in the style of the futurists, Finazzer Flory  “attacks” those who live in the past as they are “just like the sick or the prisoners who see the past as a healing balsam and the future as prison bars...”

  • Life & People

    Partying with i-Italy

    “Our party brought together people of different background, age and nationality. There were Italians, Italian-Americas and Americans in love with everything Italian... and we have celebrated being together, knowing each other and being connected to Italy. I-Italy is what we have in common, what has brought us all here.”

    Letizia Airos, editor in chief and co-founder of i-Italy has moved on to one of her thousand
    projects (the new issue of the magazine to be exact) but her excitement for the party she's just hosted is still very much alive.

    “The i-Italy summer party, “i-Italy sotto le stelle” held at the penthouse of Banca Intesa San Paolo was an opportunity to celebrate the friendships that were born thanks to i-Italy. The rain kinda messed up our plans. We were supposed to be “sotto le stelle, under the stars,” on a stunning terrace but the show must go on, right? And we did.

    Guests have had a chance to meet Nonno Giovanni Rana, an icon for all pasta lovers but also a man who has made history in Italian advertising and is now conquering the USA with his affability and the beautiful Antonella Rana. People had a chance to see each other and catch up, to listen to great music, taste delicious food and pose for pictures. What's more fun than that!? With our network we bring people together but it is hard to see the results firsthand, with the party we saw the results of what we do.”

    i-Italy sotto le stelle was made possible by the enthusiastic participation of numerous sponsors: dinner was offered by Giovanni Rana Pastificio e Cucina, and it was served with Prosecco Bastianich, Birra Peroni, Acqua San Benedetto, Limoncello Arvero and Bellini Cipriani. Dessert, two beautiful and delicious cakes carrying the i-Italy logo, were made by Bruno's Bakery. Other sponsors were Pasta De Cecco, Cirio, Colavita and Perugina which offered products for the gift bags.

    Alitalia participated donating two tickets, the first prize of a rich raffle. Other prizes included dinners at some of NYC's favorite Italian restaurants: Cellar 58, Cacio & Vino, Salumeria Rosi, Ribalta, Il Salumaio, Fabbrica, The Leopard at Des Artistes and EatalyNY.

    Many different friends were there and were happy to speak for the i-Italy cameras, interviewed by Francine Segan, Antonella Rotondi and Angela Vitaliano,  indeed there will be a special episode shot just for the occasion this weekend. But we wanted to collect some reactions in writing as a preview of what you'll see in the show. Here are some testimonies.

    “The existence of i-Italy is very significant because it is a great delivery system for all things that are great in the Italian and Italian-American in New York and beyond. Whether it be by via the website, TV show or the wonderful magazine it reminds everyone of the accomplishments of Italians of today and yesterday. i-Italy also relays a message that “We have made a difference in the World and We will continue to do so.

    The party was a great way of bringing prominent figures, both in the Italian and Italian-American, together to celebrate together or insieme. There is no more important way to strengthen Our Italian community than to bring us all together to meet and support each other. It was interesting how many interesting people we have in all diverse fields working in the City. To celebrate each other's accomplishments together is simply priceless and so necessary. I was very pleased to see old friends and loved make new ones at the celebration. Also, an Italian party without wonderful food, drinks and cake is just a meeting! It was awesome to taste the wonderful authentic products imported from Italy; the real stuff is amazing!”

    Gennaro Pecchia, Co-creator Men Who Dine

    “I love Italian art, culture, fashion, food, wine and spirits so love reading i-Italy's magazine, checking in with them online and watching their features on TV. i-Italy is were I go to get my Italy fix when I'm in NYC! Friday's party was everything you'd expect from an event organized by i-Italy: fabulous Italian food, wonderful Italian wine, luscious Italian limoncello all served in an ideal Italian setting with fun conversation between delightful Italians & those who love Italy.”

    Francine Segan, Food historian and author

    "As someone who has an eye on both Italian culture and New York culture, and seeing the influx of a new generation of Italians to New York, i-Italy provides a great service to that community and people interested in things Italian. I consider them family, granted that they are housed in our offices at Calandra, and a sibling to our Italian American-focused programming at 'Italics' (CUNY TV)."

    Lucia Grillo, actress, filmmaker, and producer & corespondent of "Italics"

    “It was a great and fun party, plus the location was amazing. I'm very happy for Letizia and for all of you involved with i-Italy. You work really hard and you grow more and more everyday.

    I have kept every single issue of i-Italy since its very beginning. I see i-Italy as a window on NY, a window through which you observe everything that happens under a social-cultural point of view, sometimes with a sprinkle of gossip, in a fun way. It is accessible to the entire community and that is great.”

    Marzia Bortolin, ENIT

    “What does i-Italy mean? The name itself says it all. It is Italy in New York. It is the only, authentic, Italian medium of information that engages the entire Italian community not only in a dynamic and up to date way. The party was amazing, too bad for the rain but it was a really fun night.”

    Rosario Procino, co-owner Ribalta

    “i-Italy is a great friend, just like Giovanni Rana's pasta. It makes you feel at home, it transports you to Italy no matter where you are. By reading the articles on the site or watching the TV program, you experience the realities of our home country but also the modernity of living in the US. It's great to be all together tonight and celebrate summer. We got wet, but being rained on brings good luck!”

    Antonella Rana

    “When I watch i-Italy's TV program it's like being home. My English is not that great and I like to hear about Italy, in Italian. I also like to talk about Italy, and when I talk about it I talk about food.”

    Giovanni Rana

    “What do I love about i-Italy? I love that it's here. That's significant to me. We've always had a sort of lack of communication about Italian things to American audiences, except in relation to Italian American culture or through the Italian language publications like America Oggi. This is quite different and it fills a very good place in the scope of things. You know what's different? Many of the things in the past were almost passive, it was almost like Italy was here through the rear view mirror, portraying what had happened. This has vitality,a great deal of presence and energy. There is no other word for it. It has energy.”

    Steve Acunto, President, CINN Group, Inc. | Chairman, Italian Academy Foundation, Inc. | Hon. Vice Consul, Republic of Italy

    “i-Italy is a way to bring Italy into the United States that has never been done before. It's done in a very exciting way, in a very professional way. I'm so proud to be a part of it. And this party is great, we should have one every few months, it's a great way to just see each other.”

    Fred Gardaphe, Professor CUNY & Author

    “i-Italy has been one of the point of references of my work here in New York, as my experiences run parallel to i-Italy's path.. When I arrived, i-Italy was just about to take off.  I saw it grow and succeed, at first there was only the web site while now it is also a magazine and a TV show. I think it is important as it represents Italy in NYC and in the world... I don't think there are other publications, in English, that talk about everything Italian abroad. This is extremely important as we want everybody to speak about the numerous beautiful things Italy has to offer, and English is the universal language that everybody understands. i-Italy has always been present in all the events I have cared about the most, including the Gala of the Scuola d'Italia Guglielmo Marconi, events held at the Chamber of Commerce and classes organized by IACE. It has been vital.”

    Lucia Pasqualini, Deputy Consul of Italy in New York

    “I love i-Italy because more or less it has the same name as us, eataly. It gives the best information about all that is Italian that is happening in the city. We carry the magazine in our store and I think the information it provides is amazing.”

    Dino Borri, Eataly


  • Art & Culture

    Diversity, Art, and Beauty. Italian Cinema is Back! Interview with Antonio Monda

    Organized by the Film Society of Lincoln Center together with Istituto Luce-Cinecittà- Filmitalia, in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, professor and journalist Antonio Monda, the Alexander Bodini Foundation and Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, “Open Roads: New Italian Cinema” celebrates its thirteenth year (June 5-12) with an exceptionally strong and diverse line-up.

    Considered the leading showcase of contemporary Italian cinema in North America, Open Roads (named after Rossellini’s famous film Rome: Open City) was co-founded by Antonio Monda, Richard Peña – then the Film Society’s Director – and Giorgio Rosetti, former manager of Italia Cinema, which later became Film Italia. Since the festival’s inception, Monda has handled the artistic side of things, choosing which films to bring to American audiences eager to see diversity, art, beauty and, simply put, a sampling of the most significant Italian films of the past year.

    How would you describe this 2014 edition of Open Roads?

    “One word: diversity. This ediion includes the latest work from established veterans such as Gianni Amelio (who is represented by two films) Roberto Andò and Daniele Luchetti, top award winners, and promising new talents from both the commercial and independent spheres.”

    One clear novelty of this season is the abundance of documentaries.

    “In past years it seemed there was no room for them in Italian cinema. The art of documentary filmmaking seemed to have disappeared. Yet we are glad to say that many filmmakers have used it to tell their stories. And they tell them successfully.”

    This is proven by the fact that two documentaries presented have already won top prizes. Gianfranco Rosi’s Sacro GRA was the first documentary to win the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival.

    “The film focuses on the lives that surrounds GRA (Grande Raccordo Anulare) Rome’s 43.5-mile highway encircling the whole city. Inspired in part by Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities, the film offers moving portraits of areas drivers pass through but never see, revealing a different side of the bustling city dwellers and a paradoxical reality.”

    Then we have Alberto Fasulo’s debut docudrama Tir which won the top prize at
    the Rome Film Festival...

    “Fasulo is very inventive. The film follows a former teacher from Bosnia who takes a job driving a tractor trailer (‘tir’) through Europe. Using professional actors and real truck drivers, Fasulo has created a striking film about what life is really like on the road – including the sounds, the landscape, and the longing for company. This film is not a pure documentary but a hybrid of reality and fiction.”

    Other beautiful and thought-provoking documentaries include Vincenzo Marra’s Naples-centric The Administrator and Gianni Amelio’s Happy to Be Different. Both tackle sensitive social issues. Italy’s often dysfunctional society is the focus of many of your films.

    “Indeed. Marra, for instance, examines a superintendent’s dealings with his larger-than-life tenants, painting a tough-minded yet affectionate portrait of crisis-addled Italy. And Amelio offers a moving, enlightening work of oral history about gay life in Italy from the fall of Fascism through the early 1980s.

    And several films in this year’s lineup explore the evolution of Italy’s political system, including Daniele Luchetti’s opening-night selection Those Happy Years.

    “As in the past, one of our aims is to showcase a variety of films, ranging from sober dramas to irreverent comedies. Many portray Italy as a disenchanted and melancholic country, given its current difficulties. But different directors do this in different ways.”

    Two examples?

    “On the one hand, Gianni Amelio ’s A Lonely Hero, starring comedian Antonio Albanese. It tells the story of a man forced to reinvent himself in his pursuit of a job (as a train conductor, a fishmonger, a tailor, etc.), as a result of the country’s unstable unemployment crisis. On the other hand the scathing critique of Italian political dynamics in Roberto Andò’s Long Live Freedom staring Toni Servillo as a seasoned politician navigating the decline of his party by fleeing to Paris and hiding out at the home of his ex-girlfriend.”

    Talking of Toni Servillo, he is a great actor whom Americans have gotten to know after Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty took home the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Has that victory affected the way Italian cinema is perceived in the US?

    “Well, it was an extraordinary victory and it has helped, but ‘one swallow does not a summer make.’ Just because one good thing has happened, you cannot be certain that more good things will happen and the whole situation will improve. You must work hard at it. There is more curiosity and interest in Italian cinema, sure, but it needs to continue to reinvent itself.”

  • Events: Reports

    Futurism in the Theater with Massimiliano Finazzer Flory

    We are not done talking about futurism in the US... indeed in addition to the exhibition currently held at the Guggenheim Museum there is going to be a play that's addressing the topic. Organized in collaboration between the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC, the Italian Consulates and Cultural Institutes, Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò New York University and Acqua di Parma, the tour, will touch several American cities, including New York.  Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and the movement he started will be celebrated at the prestigious Lincoln Center.

    The first “Gran Serata Futurista” (Great Futurist Evening), starring Massimiliano Finazzer Flory, will take place in Washington on May 12, and then Dartmouth, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston will follow.

    The show comes directly from Piccolo Teatro di Milano where it was a success. The play tells the story of  Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and it is a mixture of acting, contemporary dance and projections of images of art works. The performance. Which lasts 70 minutes and a few seconds, is in Italian, but there are also English supertitles for non-Italian speakers.

    "Futurism", explains Finazzer Flory in Italian daily Corriere della Sera (August 11, 2013), "celebrated life, of which man is the foremost masterpiece and energy the foremost work of art. But what energy do we see today? We live in a time which unites us all politically in the name of transformation and conformity. And so, as Papini would say, opening the windows is no longer enough: we must have the courage to knock down a few doors. Better to disturb the peace than play the compliant chimpanzee".

    This is the third consecutive year that Finazzer Flory brings a show to the US. In 2011-2012 he came with I Promessi sposi  (The Betrothed), in 2013 he brought Pinocchio, storia di un burattino (Pinocchio, the story of a puppet), and now it's the time of Gran Serata Futurista. This play is about movement, energy, mechanical splendor, and unconstrained imagination. Finazzer Flory voices the Manifesti Futuristi  (Futurist Manifestos) of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, because with no Marinetti there will be no Futurism. And just in the style of the futurists, Finazzer Flory  “attacks” those who live in the past as they are “just like the sick or the prisoners who see the past as a healing balsam and the future as prison bars...”

    Tour Dates

    May 12th ,WASHINGTON – Italian Embassy

    May 14th , DARTMOUTH - Hopkins Center for the Arts - Moore Theater

    May 16th , PHILADELPHIA - Simeone Museum

    May 19th ,CHICAGO - Chicago Cultural Center - Claudia Cassidy Theater

    May 21th, NEW YORK - Lincoln Center - Kaplan Penthouse

    May 23th, BOSTON  Cambridge MA - Dante Alighieri Society

    May 27th, SAN FRANCISCO - Legion of Honor – Fine Arts Museums

    May 29th, LOS ANGELES - Italian Cultural Institute – Sala Rossellini

    June 3nd, HOUSTON - St. Thomas University - Cullen Theatre Hall

  • Life & People

    The Young Italian Filmmakers Award: An International Exchange Program Rewards Young Talent

    The Italian Cultural Institute of New York and The New York Film Academy have celebrated three young Italian directors who have won The 2013 Young Italian Filmmakers Award. The winners – Davide Gambino for his documentary Pietra Pesante, Manfredi Lucibello for his short Storia di Nessuno and Samuele Rossi for his feature-length film La Strada Verso Casa – had the opportunity to travel to NYC, showcase their work and discuss the future of filmmaking with other young filmmakers from all corners of the world.

    All this was made possible thanks to a partnership with Yale University and the support of laFondazioneNY. Founded less than a year ago by internationally acclaimed designer Massimo Vignelli and professor Riccardo Viale, former director of the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, laFondazioneNY is a cultural foundation that promotes the exchange of talented Italians abroad.

    “It is important to import talented Americans back to our country, too, and support Italians looking for recognition in the United States,” Viale told i-Italy in an interview a few weeks before the awards ceremony. David Klein, Senior Director of NYFA, has spoken profusely about the importance of a foreign exchange program for student filmmakers.

    NYFA is an international film school founded in 1992 by Jerry Sherlock, a former film, television, and theater producer. The school's philosophy is that you "learn by doing," therefore students go through intensive, hands-on training. “In order to learn filmmaking you have to make films,” David Klein told the three winners and others who attended a panel discussion in their honor.

    Davide Gambino is a writer-director based in Palermo, Milan, and Brussels. His Pietra Pesante is a documentary shot in Sicily that tells the magical story of a shepherd and his passion for sculpture.

    Manfredi Lucibello is originally from Florence, but filmmaking has taken him across the world. Storia di Nessuno is a powerful short that feels “like a river speeding towards its destination without any resistance,” the filmmaker said.

    Samuele Rossi's La Strada Verso Casa is the story of three young Italians, Michelangelo, Antonio, and, Giulia, whose lives are painfully interrupted by loss. Their stories appear different yet intertwine in unexpected ways. Without realizing it, they help each other through their pain and find a way to return to the normalcy of living.

    Moderated by Italian journalist Andrea Visconti, the filmmakers spoke with other young aspiring directors about emerging movements in film, especially in countries like Brazil, Belgium, and Denmark. They all convened around one basic notion: yes, each country has its differences and sensibility, yet all desire to tell stories that are clearly affected by geographic, social, and cultural circumstances. They feel the need to depict smaller realities, rather than entire countries, like the Sicilian microcosm inhabited by the sculptor-shepherd of Pietra Pesante.

    “Sharing these realities with the world,” Fabio Troisi, cultural attaché at the Italian Cultural Institute said, “is made possible by programs like The Young Italian Filmmakers Award. This is a way to present our culture abroad, so that people get to know the many realities of Italy, and at the same time, it's a way to help young new talents develop. They are the ones who represent Italy and its excellence in the world.”

  • Facts & Stories

    Laura Pausini: Celebrating 20 Years of Extraordinary Career @ MSG

    Accompanied by 25 musicians, Italian pop singer and international superstar, Laura Pausini performed at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on March 6 as part of her Greatest Hits World Tour! Produced by FEP Group, the concert was an unforgettable night in which Laura decided to commemorate her 20 years of extraordinary career with some talented friends: award winning artists and close collaborators Gloria Estefan, Miguel Bosé, Biagio Antonacci, Ivete Singalo and Il Volo. They all were asked to join her on stage to perform some of her classic duets.

    First guest to appear next to her on stage was Italian singer-songwriter Biagio Antonacci, a longtime collaborator who penned her international hits 'Tra te e il mare' (Entre tú y mil mares) and 'Vivimi' (Víveme). It was a special moment for Pausini's fans who are in love with these love songs, which she performed both in Italian and in Spanish. Antonacci, who also participated in the Miami concert she had before coming to New York, dueted with her only in the performance of Vivimi.
“Biagio is the diamond of Italian songwriting music,” Laura said to the press in the past, “My fans will be in heaven, because finally they will know who wrote two of the songs they love the most!."

    Next in line was Ivete Sangalo, the queen of Brazilian music. The artist is part of Pausini's "20- the greatest hits/grandes exitos" in the exceptional version of "Le cose che vivi/Tudo o que Eu vivo," which they performed live both in Italian and in Brazilian at the concert. “Ivete Sangalo on stage with me at Madison is a dream. She is a queen. An unique voice. A friend that understands perfectly well my sincere love for Brazil," Laura declared to the press.

    Following there was a first time performance with the boys from Il Volo. We quickly met them on the morning of the show and they confessed they had never met the superstar and were quite excited to finally perform with her. Despite their young age, tenors Piero Barone and Ignazio Boschetto, and baritone Gianluca Ginoble are incredibly talented and have taken North America and music icons such as Barbra Streisand, with whom they have already performed, by storm. “I recently read they wanted to sing with me and I thought that New York would be the right occasion,” Laura told the audience after their performance which was followed by an a cappella version of Il Mondo, an old Italian song by Jimmy Fontana.

    The next duet was with one of Spain's most celebrated artists: Miguel Bosé. They performed one of her classics "Te Amaré," which is also included on Laura’s latest album "20- the greatest hits/grandes exitos".
"Miguel is one of the people in the music world that I am most fond of. He asked me to sing “Te Amaré” because it has a very special and personal meaning to him,” she told the press in the past. This was a particular touching moment, as the emotion could be heard in their words and seen in their behavior, especially Bosé's.

    Last but not least was Latin music's icon Gloria Estefan with whom Laura recorded a duet titled "Smile" in Italian and Spanish, for Estefan's album "The Standards".
“Gloria is one of the world's music icon and one of my idols. For many years it was one of my dreams to record a duet with her. I never imagined that one day she would call me to be part of her latest album,” Laura has declared. Their duet was part of the final encore and ended with the two stars calling each other “the queen of Latin American music.”

    This is proof of the internationality of Laura Pausini's music and talent. Despite her constant effort to represent her Italian music roots in the world, she mostly performs in Italian and Spanish, as well as English, French and Portuguese. “This is what is great about music,” she told her audience, “it knows no boundaries and we can convey what we see and feel in any language.” Not one song, was performed in just one language, the artist easily switched from one to another, making fans of all nationalities incredibly happy. What made them even happier, was Laura's final song “La Solitudine,” the debut single that, back in 1993, introduced her to the music world.

    As of today, Laura Pausini has released eleven studio albums, an international greatest hits album and two compilation albums for the Hispanic and Anglophone market only, respectively. All of her albums earned the top-five on the Italian Albums Chart, and six of them reached the first position in Italy. Pausini has also released 14 top-ten singles in Italy, including five number-ones.

    She has won numerous music awards, including three Latin Grammy Awards, a Billboard Latin Music Award and four World Music Awards. In 2006 she also became the first Italian female artist to win a Grammy Award. As of 2011, according to Warner Music Italy, Pausini had sold more than 45 million records worldwide.

    Visit: Laura Pausini's Official Facebook page >>>
               Laura Pausini's Home page

  • Facts & Stories

    Sorrentino's Victory Marks a Moment of Great Pride for Italy

    It lacked the enthusiasm of Sofia (by that we mean Sofia Loren screaming “Roberto!!!”) and it lacked the acrobatics of Roberto (by that we mean Benigni standing on the back of his seat at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles when he was pronounced the winner of the Best Foreign Language Film at the 71st Academy Awards). Yet the victory of Paolo Sorrentino at the 86th Academy Awards is definitely unique and special in its own way.

    Fifteen years later, the much coveted golden statue, returns to Italy thanks to The Great Beauty, a film on an emotional crossroads that is reminiscent of Fellini's art and that has run a very successful awards season in the United States and Europe (winning, among other things, at the Golden Globes and at Britain's BAFTAs).

    Sorrentino has declared he was surprised by his victory, yet many who noticed the soundtrack of Cinema Paradiso as the winner for Best Foreign Language Film was announced by Ewan McGregor and Viola Davis had already started posting online their congrats to the Neapolitan director. Visibly moved, Sorrentino went on stage with Toni Servillo, leading actor of The Great Beauty and of several other of his films, and with producer Nicola Giordano. “I want to thank Toni and Nicola, the actors and producers. Thank you to my inspiration, Talking Heads, Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese, Diego Armando Maradona,” he said (causing lots of comments on his Maradona credit), “They all taught me how to entertain, and that is at the roots of cinema. And thank you to Roma, Napoli and to my personal great beauty, Daniela and our sons. I am very emotional, I did not expect this, the other films were strong and, and I feel happy and relieved.”

    The other nominees in the category were Belgium’s melodrama “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” the Palestinian thriller “Omar” and Cambodia’s first-person documentary, “The Missing Picture.” This was the seventh nomination for Belgium, second for a Palestinian film and first for Cambodia in the category.“The Hunt,” the film from Denmark, was although the one seen as competitive with Sorrentino's. The Hunt” premiered nearly two years ago at the 2012 Cannes Film festival and is about  the devastating effects of false accusations of child molestation on the life of an innocent kindergarten teacher.  

    The Great Beauty addresses a rather different theme as it narrates the story of an aging writer, his reflections on life and his search for meaning among Rome's rich & perverse. After his 65th birthday, writer Jep Gambardella, played by Toni Servillo, looks back over what became of his once-promising life and career. The portrayal of all-night parties and high-class affairs have reminded critics and the general public of Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," in its representation of the Italian capital's hedonistic life style.

    "Maybe it is a metaphor for Rome," Sorrentino has said to the press in the past, "The underlying theme of the film is not so much the decadence of Rome and all that, it really has to do with this fact that people deep down, as horrible, bizarre and gross as they can be, deep down they all have a fragility. And people living that life are trying to find a way to distract themselves, with gossip, being frivolous, going to stupid parties and all that." Before the Oscars, the director also said that in the film he wanted to contrast the visual beauty of Rome with the "people who don't realize that this beauty is all around them."

    Sorrentino's victory marks a moment of great pride for Italy, in a moment of great turmoil. The newly appointed Minister of Cultural Affairs, reached out and called Sorrentino to express all is happiness. He wrote on twitter “This is a boost of confidence for Italy. Viva Sorrentino, Viva il cinema italiano! When our country believes in its talent and its creativity, it's a real winner.” The Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi also tweeted about the victory: “Right now we must focus on something else and we are indeed doing it, yet there is room for great Italian pride of Sorrentino and his The Great Beauty.” “His Oscar,” Renzi has also declared, “is an important step towards the realization that we should not be cared to  broaden our ambitions.” Last but not least, Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano added, “Sorrentino's film captures both the characteristic tradition of Italian cinema and the new ability to represent reality and today's world in a creative way. This is a great victory for Italy.”


    All the winners

    Best picture

    WINNER: 12 Years a Slave

    Best actor

    WINNER: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

    Best actress

    WINNER: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

    Best supporting actor

    WINNER: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

    Best supporting actress

    WINNER: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave

    Best director

    WINNER: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

    Best animated feature film

    WINNER: Frozen

    Best foreign film

    WINNER: The Great Beauty

    Best original screenplay

    WINNER: Her, Spike Jonze

    Best adapted screenplay

    WINNER: 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley

    Best original score

    WINNER: Gravity

    Best original song

    WINNER: Let It Go, from Frozen

    Best cinematography

    WINNER: Gravity

    Best costume design

    WINNER: The Great Gatsby

    Best documentary feature

    WINNER: 20 Feet From Stardom

    Best documentary short subject

    WINNER: The Lady in Number 6

    Best film editing

    WINNER: Gravity

    Best makeup and hairstyling

    WINNER: Dallas Buyers Club

    Best production design

    WINNER: The Great Gatsby

    Best animated short film

    WINNER: Mr. Hublot

    Best live-action short film

    WINNER: Helium

    Best sound editing

    WINNER: Gravity

    Best sound mixing

    WINNER: Gravity

    Best visual effects

    WINNER: Gravity

  • Tourism

    Tuscany: You've All Been there Once, Come Back & See the Rest

    “When talking about our country the second word foreigners know after Italy is Tuscany. Tuscany is a rich and beautiful land where art, tradition, gastronomy, viticulture, fashion, sports, wellness and all the beautiful things of life express themselves at the highest levels,” Eugenio Magnani, the director of the Italian Government Tourist Board said to a crowd of travel specialists during Destination Tuscany 2014, a special event organized by Regione Toscana.

    Magnani, in the company of Hon. Natalia Quintavalle, Consul General of Italy in New York, Alberto Perruzzini, director of the Regional Agency of Tourism Toscana and James Bradburne, director of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, presented the beloved tourist destination and its new opportunities and novelties.

    “It's my land, and I love it,” the Consul General, who is a Tuscan from the province of Lucca, said, “My mother was a teacher and every weekend she would take me to visit a new town, a unique borgo or special place and let me discover it. There was always something new to learn and there still is. Now for example, is the time of Carnevale di Viareggio.”

    Known as a seaside resort, Viareggio is the second largest city within the province of Lucca and it is home of a beautiful Carnival, dating back to 1873,  famous for its colorful and satirical papier-mache floats.

    “There are so many places to see,”  Alberto Perruzzini added, “Tuscany is the heart of Italy and it is easily accessible from everywhere. Tourists are welcome in over 3000 hotels and 4000 farmhouses. They can see the most famous tourist attractions and discover ancient treasures like the Via Francigena,  an ancient road and pilgrim route running from France to Rome.”

    “All of you have been theer once,” James  Bradburne said, “and now it's time to return and see the rest. It is nice to see the Leaning Tower and the Uffizi and I am not saying not to go there but there is much more to see. Like Palazzo Strozzi.”

    Located between Piazza Strozzi and via Tornabuoni in the heart of the city, Palazzo Strozzi is one of the finest examples of Renaissance domestic architecture. It was commissioned by the Florentine merchant Filippo Strozzi and construction began in 1489. Since the Second World War the Palazzo has been Florence’s largest contemporary exhibition space and since the summer of 2006, the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi has successfully devised and implemented a rich and innovative program of exhibitions, events and activities in the various areas of the Palazzo such as the Piano Nobile, the Strozzina and the Courtyard.

    The upcoming show, called Pontormo and Rosso Fiorentino. Diverging Paths of Mannerism, will take place from march 8 to July 20 and it celebrates two of Tuscany's most outstanding and most original artists. “The two painters were without question the most original and unconventional adepts of the new way of interpreting art in that season of the Italian Cinquecento which Giorgio Vasari called the 'modern manner'.

    The could not be more different from each other... one was a recluse, more tightly bound to tradition (Rosso Fiorentino) the other, Pontormo, more colorful and open to stylistic variety, a favorite with the Medici. They were born only a month apart but they could not be any different from each other,” Bradburne said.

    This is the first time the two artists are presented together since 1956 in a unique show that groups together a selection of masterpieces by the two artists in Italian and foreign collections, many of them specially restored for the occasion.

    “We don't do blockbusters,”  Bradburne concluded, “but shows that can transform a person and give them new insight, shows that can create new scholarship and where artwork can be restored to its original beauty. 2014 has a lot of beauty in store for our visitors who can look at us always with new eyes.”

    2014 is an important year for Tuscany that is reaching out to the United States as never before. The year also marks an important anniversary for The City of Pisa, being the 950 year since the start of the construction of the Cathedral and  the 450th anniversary of the birth of Galileo Galilei.

    A reproduction of the Torre di Pisa made of alabaster will be brought to the United States  to be on exhibited, in New York and in San Francisco for four months. A true work of art owned by the Primate of the Opera del Duomo and made by artisans in Volterra. The dates will be posted as soon as they will be available.