Through the power of film and history
Albuquerque’s Jewish and Italian communities form new bond of friendship
with compelling documentary film event
MY ITALIAN SECRET
The FORGOTTEN HEROES of the HOLOCAUST
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – JULY 10, 2018 – Would you risk your life to save a stranger, and never talk about it? Scores of Italians did just that as part of a secret underground to save Jews from extermination in Nazi-occupied Italy. Some were ordinary citizens, others were prominent figures. One was Giovanni Borromeo, a distinguished physician who created a fictitious contagious disease to keep the SS away from the hospital where he was hiding Jews. Another was the beloved sports idol of the time, champion cyclist Gino Bartali, who made dozens of deliveries to the Italian Resistance of counterfeit documents and messages hidden in the frame of his bicycle.
These and other stories of courageous Italians who shielded Italian Jews and refugees during Nazi domination in WWII are told in Oren Jacoby’s dramatic documentary, My Italian Secret, to be screened free of charge to the public in a collaborative effort of several Italian, Jewish, and community groups in Albuquerque.
The idea was born by Italian Festivals of New Mexico (IFNM), producer of the annual NM Italian Film & Culture Festival, a nonprofit whose mission is to celebrate and raise awareness of Italian culture in New Mexico. “When we heard that Italy’s premier bicycle race, the Giro d’Italia, would kick off in Jerusalem this year to honor Gino Bartali, we thought the time was right to spread the word here locally about this little-known piece of Italian-Jewish history,” noted IFNM President, Maria Arancio Berry. Berry learned of the historic Italian-Jewish connection several years ago through Jacoby’s documentary. She has been looking for an opportune time to offer an Albuquerque screening. “It’s in keeping with IFNM’s mission – to raise awareness of Italian culture – and with the vehicle we use to fulfill that mission – film,” she says. “What a great way to build a bridge of friendship between two very vibrant and active Albuquerque communities!”
The My Italian Secret film event will take place on Tuesday, July 31 at 7:00 PM at Congregation Albert, 3800 Louisiana NE in Albuquerque. There is no admission charge and it is open to the public – of interest not only to members of the Italian and Jewish communities, but also to history buffs and cyclists. A courtesy RSVP is requested to 505-348-4518. The event includes an introduction and remarks by Annalisa Di Nola whose Italian-Jewish family experienced the Nazi occupation of Rome.
In partnership with Italian Festivals of New Mexico, the event is made possible by the generous sponsorship of The Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque, Congregation Albert, The Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, and the Albuquerque Community Foundation.
- The NM Italian Film & Culture Festival is produced annually by Italian Festivals of New Mexico (IFNM), a New Mexico nonprofit corporation and section 501(c) (3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code – EIN 27-3709162.
- The mission of IFNM is to promote and raise awareness of Italian culture and heritage in New Mexico. Its primary vehicle is the NM Italian Film & Culture Festival, a multi-day celebration, based in Albuquerque, featuring Italian cinema, art, food, music and tradition.
- 90% of proceeds from the NM Italian Film & Culture Festival support New Mexico’s children through a designated beneficiary dedicated to improving the lives of children. 10% supports NM institutions dedicated to Italian language and culture.
- From the proceeds of ten annual festivals, IFNM‘s donations to these community organizations total nearly $300,000.
- The NM Italian Film & Culture Festival was founded in 2007 (known then as The NM Italian Film Festival) to benefit the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital.
- The NM Italian Film & Culture Festival is the largest, longest-running Italian event in the state. It is firmly established as a popular mainstay of Albuquerque’s social and entertainment scene and places in the top 5 Best of the City festivals.
- The NM Italian Film & Culture Festival has widespread appeal. Patrons are native Italians, Italian-Americans and Italophiles, film buffs, movie, art and music lovers. Patrons range from students to senior citizens.
- The NM Italian Film & Culture Festival is vigorously advertised and promoted statewide through newspapers, magazines, radio and television, posters and brochures. Internet and social media advertising and promotion garner interest and positive response from both national and international audiences.
- Sponsorships subsidize film screenings and events and ultimately enhance the festival’s annual gift amount to its beneficiaries. Sponsors receive advertising, recognition and promotion for approximately 8 weeks prior, and during the festival, and may receive festival tickets tied to sponsorship levels. Sponsorship carries a tax benefit and strengthens sponsors’ reputation and public image as concerned community citizens..
- The NM Italian Film & Culture Festival is supported by the City of Albuquerque and recognized by the Italian Consulate of Los Angeles.
Proud Producer of the New Mexico Italian Film & Culture Festival
IT’S THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF
THE NM ITALIAN FILM & CULTURE FESTIVAL
WITH A BLOCKBUSTER LINEUP OF
7 OF THE BEST ITALIAN FILMS OF THE LAST TWO YEARS
FOOD & WINE EVENTS, LIVE MUSIC & DANCE
AND A DAZZLING NEW VENUE
MARCH 21 – 26
AT THE HISTORIC HILAND THEATER IN ALBUQUERQUE
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – MARCH 2, 2017 – 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 New Mexico offered us the use of their home at the Hiland,” continues Berry. “It’s an inspired partnership. We share with NDI New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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:
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 New Mexico 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 New Mexico 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 www.italianfilmfest.org
Press images available upon request
ITALIAN ORGANIZATION RESTORES ROUTE 66 HISTORIC LANDMARK TO ITS 1950’S ROOTS
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – June 15, 2017 - Opportunity knocked in a big way when Italian Festivals of New Mexico (IFNM) searched for a larger venue to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its popular annual flagship event, the NM Italian Film & Culture Festival. A fundraiser for disadvantaged kids, the multi-day festival was bursting at the seams of its traditional theater and event venues, and needed room to accommodate a growing audience.
When NDI New Mexico offered to host the festival in its beautifully renovated Hiland Theater home, the festival found not only an ideal new location and a built-in beneficiary that shared its commitment to the well-being of children, but also the opportunity to bring back a bit of history to Route 66.
The Hiland opened its doors in 1950 and soon became a movie theater landmark along the Mother Road in Albuquerque. It screened its last film in the summer of 1995 and served as a live performance space for Musical Theater Southwest (MTS) until 2004 when MTS moved out and left the Hiland empty for the next five years.
In 2009, the nonprofit NDI New Mexico signed a lease with Bernalillo County and set out to raise the funds needed to renovate and refurbish the Hiland to use as its Albuquerque base for delivering programs to over 3,500 children locally, and nearly 10,000 statewide annually. Their distinctive program uses dance and music to engage and motivate children, helping them develop discipline, a standard of excellence and belief in themselves that carries over into all aspects of their lives. Over the next few years NDI New Mexico took over the entire Hiland Theater block, transforming the old Walgreens and other former retail outlets into dance studios, offices, and a 600-seat performance space with a massive stage floor and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.
When IFNM and NDI New Mexico shook hands on their new partnership in the spring of 2016, restoration of the Hiland was complete except for two key elements essential for hosting a film festival – a big screen and projector. IFNM’s Board of Directors rejected rental in favor of a permanent gift to NDI New Mexico of a theater-size retractable screen and a theater-quality projector.
“It just made sense from several points of view,” notes IFNM Treasurer, Carl Alongi. “Our gift brought the historic Hiland Theater back to its movie theater roots. It ensured that the Italian Festival films would be professionally projected for optimal audience enjoyment, and that the festival partnership between NDI New Mexico and IFNM could continue for years to come. It also enhanced NDI New Mexico's revenue-generating options, putting NDI New Mexico in a position to rent the facility for other film festivals and community activities requiring quality projection capabilities.”
And little more digging into the archives of Albuquerque’s historic theaters also reveals a sliver of serendipity at play here. As it turns out, the Hiland, like all the Duke City’s most celebrated theaters - the Sunshine, the El Rey, and the Kimo - was built by an Italian. It seems only fitting – some might even say pre-destined – that Frank Peloso’s Hiland Theater would be restored to its motion picture origins with a little help from the state’s most prominent Italian organization, nearly 70 years later.
Including the screen and projector, IFNM’s gift to NDI New Mexico from the 2017 NM Italian Film & Culture Festival totaled more than $31,000.
A ceremonial check presentation will take place to a full house at the Hiland Theater on Friday, June 23, 2017 at 7:00 PM just before the NDI New Mexico Summer Dance Institute Performance.
A ceremonial check presentation will take place to a full house at the Hiland Theater on Friday, June 23, 2017 at 7:00 PM just before NDI New Mexico’s Summer Dance Institute performance, Fly Me to The Moon, which features over 150 children learning about the elements of our universe through the joyful discipline of dance.
Keepin’ it Real
Leave it to the Italians - for whom Ho-Hum is not a concept - to keep
the annual NM Italian Film & Culture Festival fresh and new each year. The 9th edition won’t disappoint. 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
Albuquerque, NM - January 22, 2016 - 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 libertá (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
Press images available upon request
NM Italian Film & Culture Festival 2016 Title Sponsors:
Scalo Northern Italian Grill
Fiat of Albuquerque
Italian Festivals of New Mexico (IFNM) Rolls Out its 9th Edition of the NM Italian Film & Culture Festival, February 16 - 21 in Albuquerque’s Nob Hill with a Delightful Cinematic Stew of Contemporary Italian Films, Food and Wine, and a Visit From Some Top Brass
Albuquerque, NM - January 15, 2016 - The NM Italian Film & Culture Festival: It’s a slice of life in The Old Country today, as seen through the eyes of some of the best screenwriters and directors Italy has to offer. It’s the annual flagship event of Italian Festivals of New Mexico, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise awareness of Italian culture and its leading role on the world stage of art, music, fashion, cuisine and more. It’s the largest and longest-running celebration of Italian culture in the state. And it’s a fundraising event for the University of New Mexico’s Children’s Hospital. “Over its past eight runs, the festival has raised more than $230,000 for the Hospital,” notes IFNM Board Treasurer, Carl Alongi.
Festival 2016 offers a compelling selection of 7 films ranging in genre from comedy to drama to romance - and even a little subtle science fiction thrown in for good measure with La scoperta dell’alba. All films are in Italian with English subtitles. All are critically acclaimed recent-releases making their local premieres. All will be screened at The Guild Cinema (3405 Central Ave NE).
The lineup’s two standout films 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 Only Kills in Summer) is a black comedy that takes aim at the Sicilian Mafia with irreverent satire. The Festival’s showcase film, Viva la libertá (Long Live Freedom), sets its sights on Italian politics with a facetious story-line and whimsical comedy.
The lineup is also significant for its inclusion, for the first time, of two films directed by women. Susanna Nicchiarelli (La scoperta dell’alba) and Maria Sole Tognazzi (Viaggio sola) are two of Italy’s most talented, up-and-coming woman directors. Starring in both films is Italy’s top actress, multi-award-winning Margharita Buy.
Hosted by Scalo Northern Italian Grill (3500 Central SE), the festival’s inaugural Kickoff Reception will be particularly special, attended by a delegation from the Los Angeles Italian Consulate, including Consul General Antonio Verde, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Valeria Rumori, and Director of the Italian Trade Agency, Florindo Blandolino. “It’s quite an honor for the New Mexico festival to be recognized by these high-level Italian government officials in the US,” said John Paolino, IFNM Board President. “This will be a great opportunity for them to experience New Mexico’s enthusiasm for Italian culture.”
Festival 2016 brings back the popular closing day tradition of a Sunday afternoon film at the Guild Cinema, followed by a short walk across Central Avenue for a sumptuous dinner at Scalo Northern Italian Grill and a sneak peek at the new Fiat 500X Crossover SUV.
For more details on Italian Festivals of New Mexico and for tickets and information on the 2016 Italian Film & Culture Festival
Press images available upon request
A RECORD DONATION TO THE
UNM CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL IN 2015