Sicilian Film Festival, 6th Edition, Miami Beach Announces New Addition to its Film Lineup

Film fever has yet to end in Miami! With the closing of the Miami International Film Festival, film buffs can continue feeding their passion for the ‘Big Screen’ at the 6th Annual Sicilian Film Festival (SFF) on April 7 to 13, 2011 at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, located at the Historic City Hall, 1130 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, 33139.

Artistic Director, Salvo Bitonti today announced the addition of the highly-acclaimed film, “Legend of the Bandit and the Champion.” Loosely, based on a book by Marco Ventura, the film was written by Andrea Purgatori and Deborah Alessi and co-produced by Rai Fiction and Film Red. The title also inspired a well-known Italian song by Francesco De Gregori who embraces this cherished story about the love for cycling in 1920s and its effect upon a hero/bandit who live his life as an Italian style Robin Hood.

In discussing the 2011 SFF lineup, Bitonti states: “Sicily and Southern Italy have always been linked to the United States through a deep, cinematic relationship between Hollywood and Sicily that includes many great actors and directors who originate from Sicily and southern Italy such as Valentino, Capra, Scorsese, Coppola, and Susan Sarandon. We are very proud to showcase a new generation of Italian directors as well as many other great full-length and short films from Italy and other countries.”

The 2011 Sicilian Film Festival Lineup Includes:
 Baaria: by Giuseppe Tornatore; 2009; Presented at the Venice Film Festival 2009 in Italian with English subtitles

Brief Synopsis: From the acclaimed director of Cinema Paradiso, comes an epic saga of life and death, love and hatred in a vibrant Sicilian town in the first half of the twentieth century. This film was nominated for Golden Globe in 2010.

 Viola di mare (The Sea Purple): by Donatella Maiorca, with Valeria Solarina and Isabella Ragonese. Presented at the Venice Film Festival 2009; awarded in many international festivals

Brief Synopsis: Angela isn’t like the other girls of her same age. She runs, smokes and fears nothing and nobody. All of her feelings are for the young Sara. A forbidden relationship set in a 19th century Sicily. Only a deceit – changing her outward appearance, disguising herself as a man – might be a solution.

The Vanishing of Pato by Rocco Mortelliti, with Nino Frassica and Neri Marcore; 2010; in Italian with English subtitles , Italy 2010 ( American Premiere)

Brief Synopsis: Vigata, 1890, Good Friday – In the town square, the “Mortorio”, the Passion of Christ, is being reenacted with the uptight, irreproachable manager of the local branch of the Trinacria Bank, Antonio Patò who plays the part of Judas. The reenactment arrives at its climax with the hanging of Judas-Patò who, accompanied by the spectators’ insults, falls out of sight through a special trapdoor. However, at the end of the show, Patò seems to have disappeared. Through the investigations, the interrogations, and a series of flashbacks that bring to life a kaleidoscope of characters, customs, and immoral behavior that are extremely superficial, a surprising and unexpected picture of Sicily and all of Italy emerges.

 L’imbroglio nel lenzuolo (The Trick in the Sheets): by Alfonso Arau, with Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Geraldine Chaplin, et al. ; 2009; in Italian with English subtitles

Brief Synopsis: 1905 – Cinematography has reached Southern Italy and casts fear among the peasants who believe it is a devilish trick. They call it “l’imbroglio nel lenzuolo” (the trick in the sheet, as sheets were used as makeshift projection screens.) Marianna, an illiterate sorceress, finds out that she will be featured in a 6-minute long movie called “La casta Susanna” (“Chaste Susanna”) who will either enchant or enrage the audience with a spectacle of her bathing naked in a lake. Unsure of exactly what a cinematographer does, she cannot understand how her own image can be on the screen and believes that this “double” is someone like her trying to ruin her reputation among the villagers. “L’imbroglio nel lenzuolo” is a sensual comedy that will please all audiences.

 L’Uomo di vetro (Man of Glass): by Stefano Incerti, with Davide Coco and Tony Sperandeo. Presented at Festival des Films du Monde de Montreal 2007 (American Premiere) ; in Italian with English subtitles

Brief Synopsis: L’Uomo di vetro is based on Salvatore Parlagreco’s book with the same name and inspired by Leonardo Vitale, the first Mafia pentito (turncoat) to break the wall of silence that was preventing the Sicilian magistracy from penetrating the Mafia. Vitale paid for this choice with imprisonment; years in a forensic psychiatric hospital; and finally with his life – the Mafia did not hesitate to kill him as soon as he was released. However, this film is also about freedom of conscience and about having the strength to go against everyone to assert your freedom even if it means going against your roots, your friends and family. It is about the struggle of an antihero, who is partly the victim, and partly guilty.

 Father by Pasquale Squitieri with Franco Nero and Claudia Cardinale; in Italian with English subtitles

Brief Synopsis: Philadelphia – Enrico, a humble fifty year old shoe manufacturer of Sicilian origin is raising his seventeen year old, motherless son. He is an admirable man and attentive father and often tells Mark stories about his family who as poor immigrants left Sicily to pursue a fortune in the New World. This moving story is characterized by the unfailing presence of the ‘enemy’ – the Mafia. One day the ‘enemy’ seriously wounds Enrico and Mark, upset and out of hate for Mafia, kills the boss. Mark later discovers that his own father intentionally set him up so that Enrico can become the new boss.

 Il Sorteggio (The Draw): by Giacomo Campiotti, with Beppe Fiorello, Gioia Spaziani,Giorgio Faletti; 2010; Italian with English subtitles (American Premiere)

Brief Synopsis: Turin, 1977 – the years of terrorism. Tonino is a factory worker in the power press department of Fiat Mirafiori plant. He leads a modest yet dignified life and shares a passion for dancing with his girlfriend. Tonino is looking for a social and economic redemption. His life changes completely when he is drawn to be a jury member on the Red Brigades’ trial. Tonino, aware of the danger deriving from this assignment and taken aback by the jury members’ hemorrhage threatening the trial, must make a decision which will nevertheless profoundly change his existence.

 The Legend of the Bandit and the Champion by Lodovico Gasparini, with Giuseppe Fiorello, Simone Gandolfo, Raffaella Rea; Fiction, Red Film; 2010; in Italian with English subtitles (American Premiere)

Brief Synopsis: The role of the bicycle looms large in Italy of the 1920’s which is still a poor country made up of people who work the land. Costante and Sante are from the town of Novi Ligure, and both ride their bicycle for countless miles on the dirt roads of foggy northern Italy. While Costante becomes a bicycle racing champion, Sante commits robberies on his bike making him the two-wheeled ‘Robin Hood’ – his crimes eventually force him to flee to France to escape arrest. Both the champion and the bandit sweat out their existence: one in duels with racing opponents and the other always on the run from the police. Circumstances will bring the two back together in Paris at the very moment when the Bandit might be caught or killed at the same moment when the Champion is preparing to face his French archrival.

 Fughe e approdi (Return to the Aeolian Islands): A documentary by Giovanna Taviani presented at the Venice Film Festival 2010; in Italian with English subtitles (American Premiere)

Brief Synopsis: Based on Taviani’s memories, the film documents life of fishermen and quarry workers living and working in the region surrounding the Aeolian islands during Fascist Italy.

Queer Frame and Atlantide Entertainment in cooperation with the Sicilian Film Festival present:

 From Beginning to End by Aluisio Abranches with Julia Lemmertz, Fabio Assuncao, and Jean Pierre Noher; 2009; in Portuguese with Italian subtitles

Brief Synopsis: Two brothers develop a very close relationship as they are growing up in an idyllic and happy family. When they are young adults their relationship becomes very intimate, romantic, and sexual.

 Save Me by Robert Cary with Jeremy Glazer, Chad Allen, and David Petruzzi; 2007; in English with Italian subtitles

Brief Synopsis: A sex and drug addicted young man is forced into a Christian-run ministry in an attempt to cure him of his “gay affliction” where, instead, he is faced with the truth within his heart and spirit.

These titles along with film shorts and documentary films will be presented in the 2011 SFF Official Program and Schedule are available on the festival’s website

Additional Events (schedule to be announced at

Other SFF week events will include: at Vino e Olio (Design District) a ‘Kick-Off Party’ and exhibition titled, “Roberto Granata: Sicilian Photographer In Hollywood” – photo portraits of Hollywood and Italy’s most famous celebrities; plus at the Café Milano (Miami Beach), “Sicilian Cinema’s Taste from Leopard to Baaria” – an evening with recipes ‘stolen’ from the screen hosted by Laura Delli Colli, famous Italian cinema journalist and author of “The Cinema’s Taste.”

About the Sicilian Film Festival:

Celebrating its sixth year, Sicilian Cinema has made a name for itself thanks to the Sicilian Film Festival (SFF). The seven-day Festival was created in Miami in 2006 by the Sicilian-born sculptor, musician, writer, and designer Emanuele Viscuso. Now residing in Miami Beach, Viscuso seeks to underline the importance of Sicily, its cinema, literature, art, food and wine, fashion, and culture on an international platform.

The SFF has created renewed pride, not only among Sicilians, but all Italians living around the world. It is the first organization to showcase:
• Sicily’s importance in film production (it is second in Italy, after Rome, in producing movies);
• some of the best Italian directors including Sicilian, Giuseppe Tornatore who won an Oscar for Cinema Paradiso;
• Hollywood stars of Sicilian origin such as Frank Sinatra, Vincente Minnelli, Martin Scorsese, Frank Capra, Susan Sarandon, Cindy Lauper, Sylvester Stallone, and Joseph Barbera;
• the impressive number of international directors who have chosen Sicily as a site for shooting their movies.

As an enormous number of Sicilians and Sicilian descendants throughout the world are tired of the unjust association of their name with the Mafia, they hope to find a new cultural identity. Through Viscuso’s efforts, the Sicilian Film Festival has successfully achieved the correct formula where many people can unite in one project.

While based primarily in Miami, the SFF holds events in both US and other cities worldwide. An official proclamation of a Sicilian Film Festival Day in 2007 recognized the cultural impact the Festival has had upon the City of Miami. When presenting Emanuele Viscuso with a Key to the City, Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower said, “We appreciate the efforts of this Festival in bringing the Sicilian culture to the fore and sharing the beauty and life of Sicily with the people of Miami and the U.S.A. Through theater, music, art, and love, boundaries are traversed and all nations learn to share each others works and get to understand and appreciate different cultures.”

In addition, the Italian region of Sicily bestowed upon Viscuso, the special honor of “Sicilians in the World: Ambassador of Culture” as a sign of its support of his efforts in establishing the Festival. This honor was received along with seventeen other people of Sicilian origin who represent different vocations and facets of Sicilian culture. Now, thanks to the efforts of the Sicilian Film Festival, Sicilian artists, both known and emerging, have a thriving opportunity in Miami Beach to display their genius to the world.

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