Cine Italia arriva a San Diego

International films are welcomed again to the San Diego area, and this time the Italian Film Festival featured more than just movies- it was a chance for culture and exposure to meet with open arms.

The San Diego Italian Film Festival encourages the Italian culture for the third year in a row. Films were held nightly from Oct. 16 through Nov. 7. The films were shown at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park with the exception of the Nov. 6 movie showing at the Birch North Park Theater.

The event gathered people from all cultures and backgrounds. Attendees where heard speaking Italian throughout the theater and in English with subjects regarding Italy.

According to the San Diego Italian Film Festival, their goal this year was ambitious: “To make San Diego a high spot for Italian culture.”

This year’s festival featured recently released Italian films by internationally acclaimed award-winning directors. All films included English subtitles.

The donation suggestions ranged from $5 to $8 and tickets were available at the door.

Audiences were greeted by the Executive Director of the San Diego Italian Film Festival, Victor Laruccia, who spoke about encouraging the transition of Italian/American culture.

“We think we are Italian, and then we have friends and family who travel from Italy and question who we are,” Laruccia said. “It is important to bring life to our heritage.”

On Nov. 6 the film “La Vera Leggenda di Tony Vilar (The True Legend of Tony Vilar),” was shown in front of an almost sold out crowd at the Birch North Park Theater. Also in attendance was the film’s Director, Giuseppe Gagliardi, and actor, composer and musician, Peppe Voltarelli.

The Italian, MTV-like movie follows Voltarelli and friends across three continents in search of musical legend Tony Vilar. The audience laughed along to the dialogue and shuffled in their seats to the musical talents of Vilar and Voltarelli.

Laruccia commented on the film stating, “A love of all things Italian.”

After the film, Voltarelli performed a few blocks from the theater at Caffe’ Calabria to a sold out crowd. He is the founding member of “Il Parto delle Nuvole Pesanti” (The Birth of the Heavy Clouds), an Italian rock and Calabrian folk band from the 1990s.

The event ended on Nov. 7 with an evening of culture, food, music, friends, and film. The Gala featured the film “La Seconda Notte Di Nozze (The Second Wedding Night).”
Many community members attended several nights.

Juliana Costa, who spent her life growing up in Italy and now resides in San Diego, attends this event every year.

“It is a chance to speak some Italian and feel at home again,” Costa said. “I try to make it to as many screenings as possible. I meet so many new Italian faces here too. It amazes me at how large the Italian community is.”

In addition to the regularly scheduled film festival, the San Diego Italian Film Festival also showcases one Italian movie of today or a masterpiece of the past each month at the North Park Birch Theater. More information can be found at

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Cine Italia arriva a San Diego