THE Newcastle Italian Film Festival is celebrating one of its most diverse programs in its history, featuring the inclusion of a documentary for the first time, an R-rated mafia movie and a much-loved classic, as it is held in memory of two of its creators.
Event co-founder Nick Moretti said he expected about 1800 attendees at the eighth festival, which will open on November 9 at Tower Cinemas.
“It’s about bringing everyone together,” he said.
“We have a core following and most of the attendees are repeat guests who love European film, but there are still new people finding out about us.”
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About 150 students studying Italian will watch Life Is Beautiful on Friday morning.
Guests with tickets to opening night’s From Naples With Love and Saturday night’s Ignorance Is Bliss will be offered complementary pizza, wine, cheese and dolci.
Mr Moretti said documentary Sea Dreaming Girls – about 12 women aged in their 80s who raise funds to visit the sea for the first time – was a highlight.
“There are lots of women who came here in their 20s and now live in Merewether or Hamilton – a stone’s throw from the ocean – but never learned to swim, so this will be right up their alley,” Mr Moretti said.
He founded the festival in 2010 with Dino Cesta, who died from motor neurone disease in 2015.
Mr Cesta’s wife Anna helped to establish a scholarship in his memory, to be awarded to a Hunter resident studying visual arts, film and television, music or writing. She passed away in May this year.
The award has been renamed the Dino and Anna Cesta Memorial Scholarship.
Applications for the scholarship close at close of business on November 6.
“The festival is their legacy. It’s not a question – we’ll keep it going as long as we can.”