Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto (IIC) Celebrates Italian Cuisine Abroad Week with ICFF and L’Altra Italia

For the past three years, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura Toronto (IIC) has hosted “Settimana della Cucina Italiana nel Mondo,” otherwise known as Italian Cuisine Abroad Week.
Held every third week in November, this initiative supports and celebrates the massive universal popularity of Italian food and traditions.

 To kick off this year’s Italian Cuisine Abroad Week, the IIC has collaborated with the Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF) and L’Altra Italia. L’Altra Italia is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Italian arts and culture, to host a cocktail reception and screening of the Italian-Canadian film, From the Vine.

The reception and film screening took place on Wednesday, November 13th, 2019, at Fiction Nightclub. It was a well-attended buffet reception where hundreds of guests enjoyed a multitude of rich Italian classic foods, cappuccinos, and samples of flavoured tuna snacks from Rio Mare, one of the event’s sponsors. Following the reception, everyone made their way to the TIFF Bell Lightbox so they could get the best seats to watch the film.

Shortly before the film, the guests heard opening speeches from Cristiano de Florentiis (co-founder and artistic director of ICFF), Alessandro Ruggera (director of the IIC), and a representative from Bolton BG Group (Rio Mare‘s parent group).

Following the speeches, a special presentation of Giffoni played on the screen. Giffoni, now called the Giffoni Opportunity, is the largest international youth film festival that brings in over 6200 children and youth from all over the world. Claudio Gubitosi, the artistic director and founder of Giffoni, was present at the screening to celebrate the film festival’s upcoming fiftieth anniversary. 

After the Giffoni presentation, Ken Cancellara took to the stage to introduce the film and provide some context that would enhance the guests’ viewing experience. The film itself was adapted from Cancellara‘s acclaimed novel, Finding Marco, and featured themes of self-discovery, rebirth, and return to roots. The film was shown in seventeen film festivals worldwide, and a second book is currently in the works. He suggested that everyone stay in their seats to hear the beautiful ending song, “The Art of Dreaming” by Giovanna Perna. Once Cancellara exited the stage, the screening of From the Vine was finally underway.From the Vine was a well-produced, heartwarming comedy-drama about Mark Gentile, a middle-aged CEO of an automotive manufacturer who suffered a moral crisis after a standoff between him and his company’s leaders. His soul searching brought him back to his childhood home of Acerenza, Italy and his grandfather’s vineyard that was all but ruined.

There were comedic moments interspersed throughout the film, such as Mark having heated conversations with mouthy grapevines and a statue of Jesus side-eyeing the priest as he was performing a mass service. With its relatable themes of self-discovery (or self-rediscovery), extremely likeable characters, and beautiful shots of Acerenza, many guests enjoyed the film. The evening concluded with a Q& A panel where Ken Cancellara and the film’s starring cast (excluding Joe Pantoliano and Sean Cisterna) answered questions from the audience. 

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