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ROME – Organizers of the Los Angeles-Italia Film Fashion and Art Fest unveiled the full program for the event on Monday, including a special section dedicated to contemporary Italian comedies, a tribute to producer Marina Cicogna, and an appearance by former George Clooney flame Elisabetta Canalis.
As previously announced, the Feb. 19-25 festival — which will be centered in Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre — will also include a retrospective from horror master Dario Argento, it will present the Los Angeles-Italia Excellence Award to Italian production designer Dante Ferretti and set decorator Francesca Lo Schiavo (both are nominated for Oscars this year in connection with Martin Scorsese’s Hugo), and it will honor Sergio Corbucci, the Italian director best known for his violent interpretations of the Spaghetti Western genre.
“This festival is important for Italian film because it’s a window for the world to see what is happening in Italy,” Italian filmmaker Pupi Avati, the festival’s chairman, said in an interview on the sidelines of Monday’s announcements. “When you bring an Italian film to this event and to Chinese Theatre, you are not bringing the film to America, you are bringing it to the cinema industry’s heart. Italy needs this kind of exposure, and I think the cinema industry will find things of interest as well.”
The focus on Italian comedies is one of the centerpieces of the festival, bringing the increasingly popular and often domestically high-grossing genre of films to an audience that might not see them otherwise. Among the titles is Fausto Brizzi’s Come e’ bello fare l’amore (Isn’t is great to make love), the first Italian comedy to be made in 3D and which will open in Italian cinemas Friday, and Benvenuti al Nord (Welcome to the North), which is setting records at the box office so far this year.
The tribute to Cicogna, best known for her work in the 1970s, including Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, will be her second major honor this year. She was previously the Grand Honor of Merit from Italian President Girogio Napolitano, one of Italy’s highest civilian honors.
Canalis will be one of the hostesses of the event that will conclude just a day before Clooney and other Oscar nominees will gather in the same venue for the Oscars.
All of the events at the Los Angeles-Italia Film Fashion and Art Fest are open to the public free of charge. The full program is available on the festival web site.
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Sterling K. Brown