Editor’s Note: To celebrate 2013’s “Year of Italian Culture,” Davide Arminio, an Italian journalist studying in Albuquerque, is finding stories with an Italian connection in New Mexico.
Frank Capra, renowned Italian-born American film director, once said, “Cinema is, along with mathematics and music, one of the three universal languages.” Cinema can straightaway convey not only universal messages, but can also describe so much of the culture to which it belongs.
In this sense, that’s the bet of the New Mexico Italian Film & Culture Festival, which is ready to roll out its seventh edition in February, promoting Italian culture and a view of Italian life through some of the best contemporary films, most of which will have their first premieres in New Mexico.
The festival was founded in 2007 by Ronaldo Patrizio-Steiner, and is now organized and produced by the non-profit corporation, Italian Festivals of New Mexico. Its primary purpose, along with promoting Italian culture, is to raise funds for the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital. “Since its inception, the festival has raised more than $170,000 for the hospital,” Maria Arancio Berry, managing director of the festival, said.
The 2014 edition will feature some first-ever events. The most significant is the visit of the award-winning screenwriter and director, Demetrio Casile, who will be Guest Director-in-Residence during the Festival, screening one of his best-known works, “Melina, with Anger and with Knowledge,” at the festival and in four local high schools. The film tells the story of three youths in Calabria who fight for their dreams against the hardships of life. Casile will run motivational discussions with the students, focusing on the meaning of the movie – do not let obstacles prevent you from reaching your dreams. The schools involved in the project are Manzano, Cibola, West Mesa and Rio Rancho High School, and all of them have Italian classes.