Italian Contemporary Film Festival 2019

The 2019 Italian Contemporary Film Festival, presented by IC Savings and in affiliation with Fare Cinema, will run from June 13 to 21, 2019, during Italian Heritage Month, and will take place simultaneously in Toronto, Vaughan, Hamilton, Niagara, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Vancouver. The 8th edition of the ICFF program features 128 diverse and acclaimed films, including dozens of shorts and documentaries, totalling more than 190 screenings across the country – its largest and most ambitious program to date, which will see no shortage of star power. Guests of the 2019 festival will include Nick Vallelonga, writer and producer of the 2019 Academy Award-winning film for Best Picture and Best Screenplay, Green Book; world-renowned Italian composer Nicola Piovani, winner of the 1999 Oscar for Best Original Score for Life is Beautiful (La vita è bella); Italian comedy legend and founder of the Monte Carlo Film Festival, Ezio Greggio; among many other famous Italian and international stars.

For the second consecutive year, the festival is affiliated with Fare Cinema, a program launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) to promote quality Italian film production abroad, with the support of the Italian Embassy in Ottawa, the Italian Consulates and the Italian Cultural Institutes in Canada. 

ICFF is pleased to announce a newly-formed three-year partnership with Rogers Communications, a long-term strategic agreement that will open new avenues from which to showcase and distribute Italian films to Canadian audiences.

Artistic Director and co-founder of ICFF, Cristiano de Florentiis, describes this as the largest and finest festival to date, with more participation by actors, producers and directors from Italy and abroad, than ever before. “This year’s festival will culminate with the celebration of two Oscar winners. This adds glamour to an event which aims to bring the elite members of Italian cinema to Toronto and Canada. With people like Piovani and Vallelonga, we aim to bridge the gap between the North American continent and Italy.” 

Once again, Industry Day, which will take place Thursday June 20th at Pinewood Toronto Studios, will bring together filmmakers, actors, directors and other industry professionals for a unique opportunity to share ideas and collaborate on topics and issues facing today’s cinema trade. ICFF Industry Day: The Convergence of Sound, Image and Literature will dissect three key topics, Music Composition in Film, Canadian-Italian Co-productions and the exciting world of Virtual Reality. The event will include dynamic panel discussions, workshops and documentary screenings, and is co-presented by ANICA, SIRT Sheridan, the IIC, Take 5 Productions, ETV Films andICE. ICFF is thrilled to welcome to Toronto for the event, Piera Detassis, President and Artistic Director of the Academy of Italian Cinema and the David di Donatello  Awards (Italy’s Oscars). Detassis will lead the jury in selecting the winner of this year’s ICFF Critics Choice Award.

“The ICFF is not only a very popular festival with audiences, but it’s also a festival that has become a strong catalyst for networking, co-productions and collaborations between American, Canadian and European filmmakers. This is proven by the record number of filmmakers, directors, actors, producers and participants we are expecting this year at ICFF. Having the Director of the Italian Oscars, Piera DeTassis, as the President of our Jury, represents the magnificent icing on the cake for our event,” said Paul Golini, President of ICFF Board of Directors.

As always, ICFF places a significant importance on Italian-Canadian co-productions, a reflection of the strong bond that exists between the two countries and their shared artistic vision. One such example is From the Vine (Dalla vigna), a beautiful story of Leonardi and Wendy Crewson, directed by Sean Cisterna and based on the novel Finding Marco, written by the film’s Executive Producer, Ken Cancellara. The film also stars famous Italian-American actor Joe Pantoliano, who will join us at ICFF Industry Day 2019, along with Cancellara and Cisterna.

ICFF 2019 will open on June 13th with a screening of the box office hit Dolceroma, the entertaining story of a young writer whose dream of turning his novel into a movie is about to implode before his eyes. The film is directed by Fabio Resinaro and stars the incredibly versatile film and television actor Luca Barbareschi, who is also the film’s producer. ICFF is poised to welcome the legendary Barbareschi to Canada for the premiere of this film and two others: I Am Mia (Io sono mia), the moving biopic of brilliant Italian singer Mia Martini, directed by Riccardo Donna, and Airplane Mode (Modalità aereo), the latest comedy by director Fausto Brizzi.

Also joining the 2019 festival will be one of Italy’s biggest comic actors of today. Fabio De Luigi appears in many international hit films including Happy Family, directed by the Oscar-winning Gabriele Salvatores, and the hilarious Questione di karma. His most recent work When Mom is Away (10 giorni senza mamma), directed by Allesandro Genovesi, has already received rave reviews by critics in Italy. ICFF is thrilled to welcome De Luigi to Canada this June. 

As Canadians have come to expect, ICFF presents the latest Italian box office successes of the past year, and this June’s festival will be no different, with the Canadian premiere of Romulus & Remus: The First King (Il primo re), directed,  written and produced by Matteo Rovere and starring Alessandro Borghi. The film, entirely in Latin, is the epic account of the battle for power between orphaned twin brothers which ultimately led to the birth of Rome. 

Following its massive win of nine David di Donatello awards, including Best Picture, Matteo Garrone’s Dogman is sure to draw large audiences from coast to coast. This is the story of loyalty, revenge and the lengths to which one will go for redemption. Dogman will be screened in six cities across Canada: Toronto, Vaughan, Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver.

The brilliant comedy The King’s Musketeers (Moschettieri del re) by Giovanni Veronesi is a comical rereading of the great Alexandre Dumas classic, The Three Musketeers, and an attempt to imagine what is beyond and what could have been in the future. The film is the centrepiece of our unique outdoor screening event, ICFF in the Vineyard on Saturday, June 15th, back this year by popular demand. The evening will be held at the beautiful Two Sisters Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake, with an elegant reception including seasonally-inspired dishes paired with award-winning wines, followed by a screening of the film under the stars. The King’s Musketeers will also be available in Toronto and Montreal during the festival.

There are several other wonderful and unique events taking place throughout the festival, including ICFF Musica. The remarkable Nicola Piovani, Oscar-winning composer and classical pianist, will perform an exclusive concert entitled Music is Dangerous (La musica è pericolosa), accompanied by a small orchestra, and narrating the path that led him to collaborate with some of the most influential film directors in history, including Federico Fellini, Marcello Mastroianni and Roberto Benigni. Piovani will perform at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 18th and at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto on Thursday, June 20th. The event is co-organized by the Italian Embassy, the Consulate General of Italy in Toronto, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

“This year, the ICFF, one of the most important cultural events in Canada, is supported by a record number of sponsors. Through close collaborations and valued relationships, we strive to promote brands in tandem with our festival, as high-quality experiences that support the arts and enrich lives,” said Maurizio Magnifico, ICFF Managing Director. 

Fashion lovers will be dazzled by ICFF MODA at SQUARE ONE, an elegant event that encompasses the three most important and internationally renowned Italian experiences: Food, Film and Fashion! Co-presented by Square One Shopping Centrein Mississauga and the Italian Trade Agency on Wednesday, June 19th, the event will showcase the best of Italian culinary delights, a high-end runway show featuring luxury Italian brands and a series of short films centred on fashion. 

ICFF Letteratura is an event that celebrates both the beauty of the written word, and magic of the moving image. This year, the talented Davide Cavuti will join us for the world premiere of his documentary, Reading Ovid (Lectura Ovidii), an homage to the prolific and incredibly influential Roman poet, Ovid. ICFF Letteratura, presented on Sunday, June 16th in Toronto, is funded by Maurizio Bevilacqua, Mayor of Vaughan and native of Sulmona, Italy, a trait which he shares with Ovid himself.

A new addition to this year’s festival is ICFF Architettura & Design, a magnificent two-day event celebrating Italy’s significant and undeniable influence on architecture and design in Canada, and countless countries around the world, through the medium of film. The event will be comprised of important discussions and special screenings, including premieres of the documentaries Renzo Piano: The Architect of Light, directed by Carlos Saura and Francesca Molteni’s Amare Gio Ponti, as well as the ground breaking 360 video series & Design, created by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design and at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This initiative was born of the longstanding partnership with George Brown College. ICFF Architettura & Design takes place on Tuesday, June 18th and Wednesday, June 19th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. A special screening of the 1972 documentary Un’ora con Carlo Scarpa introduced by Filippo Bricolo will also take place.

Among the industry professionals arriving from Italy is Director of Rai Italia, Marco Giudici, bringing several fantastic Italian productions and co-productions to the festival, including I Am Mia (Io sono Mia) and the critically-acclaimed HBO series My Brilliant Friend (L’amica geniale), directed by Saverio Costanzo.

The king of Italian comedy, Ezio Greggio, will entertain fans across Canada with his infectious humour and the presentation of the hilarious film Box Office 3D (Box office: il film dei film), a parody of some of the biggest films of the last decade. Greggio will be presented with the ICFF Special Achievement Award for his outstanding career in comedy and contributions to the excellence of Italian cinema around the world.

The newest comedy by Sergio Rubini, The Great Spirit/Il Grande Spirito, will be screened at ICFF 2019; the witty story about a middle-aged thief who defies his partners in a robbery and takes off with the whole loot. The film is presented in partnership with Comites of Toronto.

The well-known TV host, actor and director, Frank D’Angelo, will join us once again to present his newest film Making a Deal with the Devil, an action-packed crime drama about an FBI plot to infiltrate and take down one of the most notoriously dangerous organized crime lords in America. The movie boasts a star-studded cast, including Daniel Baldwin, Danny Aiello and Tony Nardi.

Award-winning Canadian actress, Jennifer Dale, will present her latest work at this year’s festival, entitled Into Invisible Light. The film, directed by fellow Canadian Shelagh Carter and co-written by Dale, is a story of forgiveness, second chances and the revitalizing power of art. 

Italian-Canadian director, Pasquale Marco Veltri, will unveil his latest film, the seductive thriller Drowning, at a world premiere presentation in Toronto. The movie delves deep into the mind of a damaged woman desperate to escape a lifetime of abuse and exploitation. 

Actor, writer and director Pierluigi Di Lallo will present the world premiere of his 2018 film Born Twice (Nati 2 volte) at ICFF 2019 in Vaughan. The film is a heartwarming and entertaining story of a transgender man who returns to his hometown for the first time in 25 years, following his mother’s death, forced to face his past and the people who once knew him as Teresa. 

Among many inspiring documentaries will be screened Moser: Scacco al tempo, the stunning biopic of famous cyclist Francesco Moser, one of the most decorated and highly celebrated Italian athletes, who, among other titles, won the 1984 Giro d’Italia. The film, organized in affiliation with the Trentino Club of Toronto, follows the famous cyclist through his familiar hometown terrain over the course of a year, as he describes his unbreakable bond with the land and the community where he was raised. Claudio Gubitosi, creator of the Giffoni Film Festival, one of the largest and mostly widely-respected youth film festivals in the world, will join us in Toronto. This, following another successful ICFF Youth Festival in April, organized in strong collaboration with the Toronto Catholic District School Board and the York Catholic District School Board. ICFF Youth 2019 hosted some 4,000 students from 55 schools at 4 theatres across the GTA: the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, Cineplex Cinemas in Vaughan and at Yorkdale, and Silver City in Richmond Hill. Young viewers, aged 8 to 18, had the unique opportunity to enjoy foreign-language films which would otherwise not be available to them. The 2019 Best Youth Film Award, as voted by the audience, was overwhelmingly won by Nicolas Vanier’s Belle and Sebastien (Belle et Sébastien).

The highly-anticipated ICFF Opening Party will once again be held at the award-winning Queen Richmond Centre, at Ricarda’s, on June 13th. The upscale cocktail party will be the perfect kick-off to the nine-day festival, following the Opening Film at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. To close out the fabulous festival in style, the luxurious The Ritz-Carlton Hotel will provide an unforgettable location for the ICFF Closing Gala, on June 21st. The event will begin with a red-carpet entrance into a cocktail reception, designed by celebrity chef Massimo Capra, followed by an elegant sit-down dinner, awards ceremony, live performances, music and special guest appearances. With the continued support of the vibrant Italian communities in Montreal and Ottawa, ICFF is set to once again host screenings in these cities, and for the first time ever, in Quebec City. ICFF Montreal will open with a special tribute to Bernardo Bertolucci at the Cinémathèque Québécoise, presented by special guest Jacopo Quadri. The Closing will feature the world premiere of the documentary Three Comrades from Montreal (Tre compagni di Montreal) at the Cinema Moderne,presented by directors Giovanni Princigalli and Bruno Ramirez. Audiences can participate in ICFF 2019 at these Montreal theatres as well as the Cinéma Guzzo, at the Cineplex Cinemas Lansdowne in Ottawa, and at the Cinéma Le Clap in Quebec City. 

In continuing collaboration with the Italian community in Hamilton, ICFF will present three special screenings at the newly-renovated Westdale Theatre on Saturday, June 15th. 

Once again, ICFF maintains a strong presence in Vancouver, where screenings of several popular Italian films and classic works will be presented at the Rio Theatreand VIFF (Vancouver International Film Festival) Vancity Theatre. These screenings are made possible with the collaborative efforts of Il Centro and the Italian Consulate in Vancouver. 

Each year, several films are presented in co-operation with local Italian-Canadian associations and federations: La Federazione, Associazioni e Club Abruzzi, BasilicataCultural Society, Fedarazione Calabresi dell’Ontario, Famee Furlane, Federazione Laziale, Federazione Pugliesi, Sicilian Cultural Society of Canada, Associazione Trapanesi, Trentino Club of Toronto, The Veneto Centre and the Club Guardiaregia. The films are selected as representations of these specific regions in Italy. ICFF is proud to work in close collaboration with these organizations that keep us connected to both our cultural and linguistic heritage. 

More than 60 short films will be screened in theatres across the country, including many Canadian productions. Among these are a documentary presented by George Brown College, entitled Resist and the short film Sweetheart, directed by Marco Spagnoli, who will also be a special guest at ICFF Industry Day to present his feature film 7 Miracles in 360o. Copenhagen Road and Love, Sarah will also be included in the program, both with actress Diana Cofini, a special guest of the festival this year. In Bocca al Lupo, the short film by Italian Cristian Nigro, will also be screened at ICFF 2019. 

Tickets for ICFF 2019: Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 416-893-3966 in Toronto, 514-771-5222 in Montreal, or Toll Free at 1-833-929-3475, or at a partner cinema.

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