The fifth annual Italian Contemporary Film Festival (ICFF 2016), is being held from June 9-June 19, 2016. The goal of the festival is to bring contemporary Italy to Canadian audiences. This year, ICFF has partnered up with Niagara Integrated Film Festival (NIFF) to produce the “Spotlight on Italy” program. Adding Niagara has greatly expanded the reach of ICFF, joining the other host cities of Toronto, Vaughan, Hamilton, Quebec City and Montreal, this year’s festival has an expected attendance of 28,000 film goers.

icff16 red carpet opening
ICFF 2016 Red Carpet Opening Night

(photos by Tanya, scroll down for more)

Italian actors attending ICFF 2016 include the legendary Claudia Cardinale, who is receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. Cardinale, along with co-star Raoul Bova, are also presenting their current film, “All Roads Lead to Rome”.

Other films being screened include Giuseppe Tornatore’s “The Correspondence” starring Jeremy Irons, Claudio Caligari’s “Don’t Be Bad,” Gabriele Mainetti’s “They Call me Jeeg” and Renzo Martinell’s ” Ustica.”

There was also an industry day at Toronto’s Pinewood Studios which focuses on Virtual Reality and 360 programming. Speakers included producer Don Carmody, Jeff Preyra of 360 Storylabs and Erin Creasey of OMDC. Topics included Finding Funding for VR and Hands-on with VR Technologies. VR exhibits showed cutting edge technologies.

ICFF also has partnered with Toronto and York Region school boards to create “ICFF Junior,” which gives students under 18 the opportunity to see Italian films. This year over 3500 students have attended the screenings.

FE attended the opening night film; “Quo Vado?,” screened at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The film stars Checco Zalone and is directed by Gennaro Nunziante, who both were in attendance. The film is a comedy about a government employee, played by Zalone, who as a result of budget cuts is pressured to give up his beloved permanent position, a job he was practically born into. Zalone is not easily persuaded and is quite determined to keep his position. It is a funny and enjoyable film that had us laughing throughout. No wonder it is the highest grossing Italian film.

Checco Zalone
Checco Zalone

At the screening, actor Giacomo Gianniotti, who is known for his role as Dr, DeLuca on Grey’s Anatomy, introduced the evening’s special guests: The Consul General of Italy in Toronto, Giuseppe Pastorelli, the co-founders of ICFF, Cristiano de Florentiis (artistic director) and Maurizio Magnifico (managing director), President of ICFF, Paul Golini, actor Checco Zalone and director Gennaro Nunziante. Zalone in real life was simply hilarious.

Roy Thomson Hall hosted the opening night after party, and it was an outstanding event. Entertainment included a live band, roaming muses, roaming teatro and living statues all dressed in white and a VR display hosted by Sheridan College where VR glasses were available to be tried out.

Food stations were all around the venue. Galbani had various cheeses to try, Ristorante Sotto Sotto offered gnocchi bolognese, focaccia with eggplant parmigiana, rolled cornish hen stuffed with pancetta, provolone, and spinach. Pizza Nova had different specialty pizzas to taste, 10tation Event Catering had meatballs with Parmesan tomato sauce, stuffed hen with cauliflower purée and bacon jus. St. Phillips provided fresh bread. Speducci Mercato served their diamond award winning Gentile salami and Paganelli sweet salami. Cibo Wine Bar, Culinary Studios, and Stelvio also provided delicious fare.
On the lower level patio were beverages and dessert stations. Nespresso had their amazing coffees. Dolcini used the Italian colours of red and green for their macarons, cookies and mousse. St Phillips had beautifully decorated cake pops, key lime pudding, and other sweets. Arturo Girls candy station offered white chocolate pretzels, Amaretto chocolate pecans, and other candies to take home. Zaza had a chocolate fountain and fresh fruit. Lady York offered fruit kebabs. The Big Cannoli had their famous cannolis. Sicilian ice cream had their lemon bombette and caramel bombette. All were so delicious.
It was the perfect night to celebrate Italian films.

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