Italian Film Festival

University of Pittsburgh
March 30—April 21
Various times

Names like Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone and Roberto Rossellini are synonymous with the history and legacy of 20th-century cinema.

Since its inception in the early 1900s, the Italian film industry has been an international leader in terms of directors, actors and producers all having a profound influence on worldwide cinema movements. To date, Italy still reigns as the country holding the most Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, as well as the most films nominated and submitted.

Thanks to two-week festival setting up shop at Pitt this Spring, you can take a cinematic tour of Italy without having to travel 4,500 miles.

From March 30 to April 21, Pittsburgh will serve as the inaugural stop for the nationally touring Italian Film Festival USA.

Free and open to the public, films will be screened at Frick Fine Arts Auditorium and David Lawrence Hall on the Oakland campus of the University of Pittsburgh.

The Stuff of Dreams, Gianfranco Cabiddu, 2015.

Featuring 16 films the festival will showcase the latest and best in Italian filmmaking, including top work by award-winning directors, local premieres, debut films from emerging new talents, and a new competitive short film program.

Films represent a broad range of cinematic aesthetics and techniques, and explore various themes and narratives, including compelling dramas, witty comedies, insightful documentaries, and more.

The festival kicks off with Paolo Virzì’s acclaimed 2016 comedy, Like Crazy. If you adore Thelma and Louise, then you’ll love the chatty self-proclaimed countess Beatrice and the young, mysterious and tattooed Donatella. Find out what happens when these unlikely protagonists—who are both patients at a women’s mental institution—forge an unexpected friendship and set off to seek adventure, escape and happiness.

On April 6, don’t miss Massimo Ferrari’s powerful 2016 documentary, Where the Clouds Go. From Treviso and Riace, through Bologna and Padova, the film examines Italy’s migration emergency, while also sharing the seldom-heard stories of people working toward coexistence and humanity. A roundtable featuring Pitt faculty, students and alumni who are studying Italian and have worked with migration organizations in Italy will follow the screening.

The event wraps up April 21 with a screening of Gianfranco Cabiddu’s award-winning film, The Stuff of Dreams. Inspired by Shakespeare’s “play-within-a-play” literary device, the film is set in post-WWII in the middle of the Mediterranean. Viewers will be on edge of their seats when a boat carrying a theater company and members of the dangerous Italian crime syndicate, Camorra, suddenly wrecks on the shores of the remote island prison, Asinara. Reality and illusion blend as the plot thickens with numerous twists and turns—all in an attempt to distinguish actors from true criminals.

Where the Clouds Go, Massimo Ferrari, 2016.

And the envelope goes to . . . Make sure to pick up a ballot before each film so you can help select the winner of the 2017 Italian Film Festival USA Best Film Award.

The free festival is co-sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures.

View a complete schedule.

Looking for more events? Check out our 11 Pittsburgh events not to miss in MarchTop 10 family events in Pittsburgh this March and Your ultimate guide to Pittsburgh concerts this spring feature stories.

Jennifer Baron

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator...