The New Mexico Italian Film & Culture Festival has used food and film to draw people in.
In doing so, the festival created a family – one that has grown over the course of a decade.
And Maria Arancio Berry is proud to see the results.
“This year is a big one,” she says. “It’s a decade of festivals. And making it happen is all in the details. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but the key is to be well-organized.”
Berry, the Italian Festivals of New Mexico president, works year after year on the event.
Beginning on Tuesday, March 21, the event with feature a best-yet lineup of modern 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 local talent.
Berry says 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 U.S.,” Berry says. “Italian film has had an enduring impact on the film industry worldwide. The richness of Italian art, architecture and music is recognized everywhere. It’s cause for celebration. 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.”
The festival proceeds go to benefit New Mexico’s disadvantaged children.
Over the past nine years, 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.” Berry says.
The festival events are scheduled for the Hiland Theatre.
Berry says the 600-seat theater and event space will help with the increase in advance ticket sales.
“We were so excited when the NDI (National Dance Institute of New Mexico) offered us the use of their home at the Hiland,” she says. “It’s an inspired partnership. We share with NDI the vital calling to champion disadvantaged and under-served 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.”
Berry says the festival continues to gain traction within the community and hopes it grows bigger.
“It warms my heart, and we love celebrating our Italian heritage,” she says. “Sharing it with people is very rewarding.”