There are many cultural events to look forward to in North County during the upcoming year, but none are more anticipated than the slice of Italian culture brought by the San Diego Italian Film Festival to the La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.
Now in its eighth year, the SDIFF (San Diego Italian Film Festival) is expanding its programming in North County.
Over the past two years SDIFF has found a second home at the historic La Paloma, where audiences have shown enthusiasm and appreciation for the current, award-winning Italian films that SDIFF brings to San Diego.
The Film Festival will show one Italian film at the La Paloma each month from January through July. All of the movies, which are in Italian with English subtitles, will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday evenings.
All of the movies presented by the SDIFF will be introduced by one of the group’s film experts, who bring insight into the context, cinematography, politics, cast or simply aspects of Italian culture. Most of the featured films are not available for viewing outside of Italy.
The nonprofit San Diego Italian Film Festival was founded in 2006 by a group passionate about Italian culture — especially cinema — and dedicated to bringing not only Italian films, but also “an Italian perspective” to San Diego.
Executive Director Victor Laruccia states, “The San Diego Italian Film Festival is about more than just movies. It is about identity, history and a shared appreciation of Italian culture and great cinema. The San Diego Italian Film Festival is a place for a diverse audience of film lovers and those who appreciate Italian culture.”
For six years the viewings have been held at Balboa Park’s Museum of Photographic Arts.
However, in 2012 SDIFF board member Anthea Beletsis suggested that the festival bring some of the films to North County.
Cardiff resident Beletsis says of the decision to increase programming in Encinitas, “This is music to my ears since I love having our films in my home town and in a ‘real’ theater. La Paloma is one of the few big-screen, traditional movie houses that remain in San Diego, complete with popcorn and candy.” The theater is located in downtown Encinitas, close to restaurants and parking.
Beletsis continues, “As with last year’s miniseries, we have chosen a variety of films and genres to give audiences a good taste of what Italian cinema has to offer.”
The selection of films for 2014 will give audiences variety, including drama, romantic comedy and even a nod to Shakespeare with the screening of “Caesar Must Die,” directed by the famed Taviani brothers.
The series opens Jan. 23 with the comedy-drama “Matter of the Heart” by the celebrated Italian director Francesca Archibugi. Most of the screenings will be on the second Thursday of each month.
Tickets are $10 ($8 for SDIFF Members, students, and military with ID) and can be purchased at the theater’s box office (cash only).
For more information, including list of featured films and complete screening schedule, visit sandiegoitalianfilmfestival.com.
Kay Colvin is director of the L Street Fine Art Gallery in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, serves as an arts commissioner for the City of Encinitas, and specializes in promoting emerging and mid-career artists. Contact her at [email protected].