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Italian Film Festival USA of Metro Detroit runs April 5-30

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Detroit will show off movies from Italy during annual the Italian Film Festival USA of Metro Detroit April 5-30, featuring award-winning films and promising new talent.

Part of a nationwide festival, there will be 13 screenings, with 11 films making local premieres. There will also be a new short film program featuring seven titles from which the audience can choose a favorite, as well as special guest appearances.

Admission is free.

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“It is an honor to be part of this national event, and we are proud to have provided the opportunity for Detroit film enthusiasts to enjoy award-winning, contemporary Italian films for a decade,” says Elena Past, festival organizing committee member. “The popularity and sustainability of our festival testify to the program’s vibrancy. We are excited to continue into the future with the selection of high-quality, diverse films audiences have come to expect. We’re excited to expand our lineup with the new shorts program and are committed to bringing more sessions with film professionals.”

The films are not short on variety, from drama to comedy to documentary, few types of movie goers will be let down.

Nationwide, there will be 95 screenings as Detroit joins Boulder, Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland and St. Louis in the festival’s 13th year.

Interest in the festival in Detroit is high. Last year more than 3,500 people attended, which was the highest number of any city and the most ever in Detroit.

The festival starts in the heart of the city’s cultural world at the Detroit Institute of Arts film theatre with the award winning “Like Crazy” at 7:00 p.m. on April 5. From there the movies will be shown across the region at Wayne State University, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Henry Ford College in Dearborn and Chippewa Valley High School in Clinton Township.

The curtains draw on the event on the month long event on April 30 at the DIA with “Stuff of Dreams,” where director Gianfranco Cabbidu making an appearance.

Right in the middle of the whole thing will be “Andrea Doria: Are the Passengers Saved?” on Friday, April 14 at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, with Detroit scriptwriter and survivor Pierette Domenica Simpson ready to discuss the film.

The schedule is as follows:

Opening Night, Wednesday, April 5 (Detroit Institute of Arts’ Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit)

7:00 p.m.

Like Crazy

2016 – Director, Paolo Virzi, Comedy, 118 min.

Beatrice and Donatella are patients of a women’s mental institution. Their friendship brings them to a hilarious escape and the search for a little happiness in the world of the sane. A modern day Thelma and Louise. 

Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8 (Chippewa Valley High School, Clinton Township)

Friday, April 7

7:00 p.m.

An Almost Perfect Town”

2015 – Director, Massimo Gaudioso, Comedy, 92 min.

The residents of a mountain village are desperate to save their small town. Will their wacky plan succeed?  

Saturday, April 8

7:00 p.m.

Where the Clouds Go

2016 – Director, Massimo Ferrari, Documentary, 75 min.

The stories of Italians who have opened their homes to immigrants from all over the world with positive  results.

Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15 (Henry Ford College, Forfa Auditorium at the Andrew Mazzara Center, Dearborn)

Friday, April 14

7:00 p.m.

Andrea Doria:  Are the Passengers Saved?

2016 – Director, Luca Guardabascio, Docu-drama, 77 min.

(Not a local premiere)

On July 25, 1956, the Italian passenger liner Andrea Doria was broadsided by the ship Stockholm. Pierette, then a 9 year-old immigrant, now recounts the harrowing experience and the truth surrounding the tragedy.

Special appearance by scriptwriter and survivor Pierette Domenica Simpson

Saturday, April 15

5:00 p.m.

Italo

2014 – Director, Alessia Scarso, Drama, 100 min.

Based upon the heart-warming true story of Italo, a stray dog that wandered into a small Sicilian town.

7:30 p.m.

Italian Race

2016 – Director, Matteo Rovere, Drama, 2016, 110 min.

The passion for racecars has always flowed in the veins of Giulia De Martino. She comes from a family that churned out racecar champions, but now it is up to her to save the family. Can she bring home the victory?

Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22 (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Friday, April 21 – Screening will take place in Rackham Auditorium

7:00 p.m.

The Last Will Be The Last

2015 – Director, Massimiliano Bruno, Drama, 103 min.

Luciana is leading the quiet life she’s always desired with her husband, Stefano. But shortly after finding out she’s pregnant, Luciana gets fired and her world starts falling apart. Will she find justice?

Saturday, April 22 – Screenings will take place in Lorch Hall, Askwith Auditorium

5:00 p.m.

Short Film Program

2016 – Comedy, Drama, Stop Motion, 90 min.

Seven recent short films are in competition for your vote for best short film. They are: “Beautiful,” “Black Comedy,” “Candie Boy,” “Dear Martin,” “Our Hebrews,” “Toilets,” “Where Water Comes Together with Other Water.”

7:30 p.m.

Feather

2016 – Director, Roan Johnson, Comedy, 98 min.

Ferro and Cate have just nine months to prepare themselves, as well as their parents, for the arrival of a baby! Will they be ready?

Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 (Wayne State University, 100 General Lectures Hall, Detroit)

Friday, April 28 

7:00 p.m.

The Confessions

2016 – Director, Roberto Andò, Drama, 100 min.

The director of the International Monetary Fund invites an Italian monk to hear his confession at a G8 meeting. Following a tragic and unexpected incident, the G8 ministers and the monk engage in an intensifying struggle.  

Saturday, April 29 

5:00 p.m.

“On The Trail of My Father”

2016, Director, Marco Segato, Drama, 92 min.

A teenage boy and his father have a strained relationship. When a bear threatens their small Dolomite village, the father accepts a bet to search for the bear. Will he succeed in saving the village and his son?

7:30 p.m.

They Call Me Jeeg

2015, Director, Gabriele Mainetti, Drama, 112 min.

Enzo comes into contact with a radioactive substance and discovers he has superpowers. Then he meets Alessia who is convinced Enzo is the hero from the famous Japanese comic strip Steel Jeeg Robot.

Closing Night, Sunday, April 30 (Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit)

4:30 p.m.

The Stuff of Dreams

2015 – Director, Gianfranco Cabbidu, Drama, 101 min.

A boat carrying a small acting company, together with a group of mobsters, wrecks on the shores of an island prison after WWII. A homage to Shakespeare’s The Tempest and De Filippo’s Art of Comedy.

As expected when a film debuts in a foreign land, there will be subtitles to accommodate English speaking audiences.

The festival is brought to Detroit Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Minigrant program.

At a time of the year when blockbusters start to roll out, this is a chance to experience what film making is like in another country, or at least an aspect of it.

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