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San Diego Italian Film Festival 2021 feSitvale

October 7, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - October 24, 2021 @ 7:30 pm

The San Diego Italian Film Festival (SDIFF) returns to in-person screenings at the Museum of Photographic Arts, with seven films screened in person on on October 7 – 10 and October 21 – 24.  

feStivale 2021 includes romantic comedies, independent films, dramas, documentaries, and more never seen before in San Diego. The festival’s annual Gala is Saturday, October 23, at the Museum of Photographic Arts, announcing and screening the winners of the Ristretto Awards, SDIFF’s short films competition.

Details of all feStivale 2021 events and films and ticket packages can be found on the website:

San Diego Italian Film Festival 2021 feStivale in-person line up:

Lacci / The Ties

Thursday, October 7, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)

Naples, early 1980s. Aldo and Vanda go through a separation after he reveals an affair. Their two young children are torn between their parents, in a whirlwind of resentment. But the ties that keep people together are inescapable, even without love. Now, 30 years later, Aldo and Vanda are still married. Lacci is a thriller about emotions, a story of loyalty and infidelity, of rancor and shame, with a betrayal, suffering, a secret box, a devastated home, a cat, and the voice of the lovers and that of the estranged.

Rione Sanità: La Certezza dei Sogni / The Certainty of Dreams 

Friday, October 8, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)

Father Antonio Loffredo is the key advocate of the rebirth of Rione Sanità, in Naples. From the church of Santa Maria della Sanità the stories of all the protagonists of the film unfold, with developments, plots, hopes and difficulties overcome and to be overcome. Young men and women who have taken control of their destinies pursue a dream they have shaped and given certainty to: running and guiding tours at the Catacombs, schools of theater, music, sculpture and a new sports center. All this, which only fifteen years ago seemed impossible, has become reality. As Father Antonio Loffredo likes to repeat: “At Rione Sanità, humanism either becomes humanity, or it dies.”

Il Traditore / The Traitor

Saturday, October 9, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)  

The Traitor tells the true story of Tommaso Buscetta, the man who brought down the Cosa Nostra. In the early 1980s, an all-out war rages between Sicilian mafia bosses over the heroin trade. Tommaso Buscetta, a “made man,” flees to hide out in Brazil. Back home, scores are being settled and Buscetta watches from afar as his sons and brother are killed in Palermo, knowing he may be next. Arrested and extradited to Italy by the Brazilian police, Buscetta makes a decision that will change everything for the Mafia: He decides to meet with Judge Giovanni Falcone and betray the eternal vow he made to the Cosa Nostra.

Rosa Pietra Stella / Rose Stone Star

Sunday, October 10, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)

Italian cinema still brings us beautiful, contemporary Neorealist films. Rosa Pietra Stella is the lively fiction feature debut from documentary director Marcello Sannino. The protagonist is 30-year-old Carmela (the title of the film refers to a line from a song with the same title: “Rose, rock, star”), who scrapes together a living doing a range of odd jobs. Her situation becomes more complicated when a deal to provide visas to illegal migrants through a lawyer goes badly wrong, leading to her being evicted from her home along with her mother and her eleven-year-old daughter, Maria. The story portrays everyday life and survival in Portici, the old, multicultural part of Naples where Sannino himself grew up. With a superb eye for local details and a great cast, he tells a nuanced, unsentimental, empathetic tale.

Santiago, Italia

Thursday, October 21, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)

In the early seventies, the world was watching as Chile democratically elected Socialist leader Salvador Allende. His political ideals and aspirations—including providing education for all children and distributing land to the nation’s workers—terrified the country’s right wing, as well as the U.S., who helped orchestrate a military coup that replaced him with dictator Augusto Pinochet. This tragic history has been well documented, but Italian director Nanni Moretti (Caro DiarioThe Son’s Room) adds an angle many viewers may not know about: the efforts of the Italian Embassy at the time to save and relocate citizens targeted by the fascist regime. Told through the testimonies of those who were there, Santiago, Italia is a chilling depiction of living under junta rule and an ultimately inspiring expression of hope amidst dire circumstances.

Molecole / Molecules
Friday, October 22, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)

Between February and April 2020, director Andrea Segre got stuck in Venice during the lockdown: Venice, hometown of his father and just partially his own. At the time, he was working on two theatre and movie projects about threats to the city: tourism and high water. During the filming, the virus froze and emptied out the city before his eyes and gave back the town to its own nature, history, and somehow, also to Andrea. He collected visual notes and stories and spent time in his family home, where he got the chance to dig into the childhood memories that dragged him deeper down than he could have ever imagined. The personal archives on Super8 of Ulderico, father of the director, alternate with encounters with Venice residents, both telling the relationship between the city and the waters and at the same time living the unexpected void that took over Venice and a big part of the world. The images are held together by the director’s out-of-field voice, the music by Teho Teardo and an atmosphere of expectation and amazement which pervades all the visual and existential material of this strange journey, unreal and unrealizable but remaining in the heart of a very real and historical event which has marked and will mark the world forever.

The Ristretto Gala

Saturday, October 23, 2021 | 5:00 p.m. | Tickets: $75
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)

Featuring delicious catering by Francesca Penoncelli, formerly of BICE

Party + Screenings of Ristretto Awards Winners

La Fellinette (short) + Guida Romantica ai Posti Perduti / Romantic Guide to Lost Places 

Sunday, October 24, 2021 | 7:00 p.m.
Museum of Photographic Arts, Balboa Park (MOPA)

“Fellinette,” a little girl drawn in a notebook back in 1971 by Maestro Federico Fellini, is the protagonist of this fairy tale set on the beach in Rimini on January 20, 2020, the day of the hundredth anniversary of the great master’s birth. Through her fervent childish imagination, we will live a melancholic and wonderful adventure, where live action footage and animation combine to celebrate the greatest of directors with dreamlike atmospheres full of poetry.

Romantic Guide to Lost Places is an unusual road movie that ranges across Europe looking for forgotten places, during which two strangers, both trapped in lives of deceit, come to terms with their own pasts. Benno is over fifty, English, and drinks like a fish; Allegra is twenty years younger, a travel blogger with lots of imagination. They both live off their lies and have no intention of stopping now. Next-door neighbors, they had never met until the day Benno wound up on the wrong floor, and nothing would ever be the same. Serendipity leads this odd couple on a journey towards lost or forgotten places, where their mutual support will help fuel their self-discovery.

*Subject to change

The San Diego Italian Film Festival is supported in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, San Diego County, the California Arts Council, and the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego.


In order to keep our patrons, staff, and volunteers safe, San Diego Italian Film Festival’s current health and safety requirements are as follows:

SDIFF is a fully vaccinated company. All staff and volunteers present at screenings and events are fully vaccinated. In order to enter the theater or any venue hosting SDIFF events, guests need to have photo ID and either their physical CDC vaccination card or an official government-provided digital vaccine record, with at least 14 days elapsed from the date of final dose. Trained individuals will review proof of vaccination upon arrival. There will be no exceptions to this policy.

Face masks may be required depending on the CDC guidelines at the time of the screening or event. Guests are strongly encouraged to wear an approved mask as much as possible while indoors.

About the San Diego Italian Film Festival

Now celebrating its fifteenth season, the San Diego Italian Film Festival (SDIFF), a not-for-profit 501c(3) organization, has made its mark on the local landscape, becoming among the most beloved film festivals San Diego has to offer. Each year it brings the passion, love, comedy, despair, and hope of the best of Italian film to San Diego, affording audiences the opportunity to learn about Italian film from scholars and directors who continue to influence filmmaking throughout the world.

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. In a word, it is about community, a place for a diverse audience of film lovers and those who appreciate Italian culture. Movies and special events are presented year-round, celebrating Italian film and cuisine.





Purchase tickets here

Event Details

Start:   October 7, 2021
Time:   7:30 pm

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Welcome to the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art!

As of July 1, 2023, the Museum of Photographic Arts and The San Diego Museum of Art have merged to become one unified institution. The Museum of Photographic Arts is now the Museum of Photographic Arts at The San Diego Museum of Art (MOPA@SDMA).

MOPA@SDMA remains a pay-what-you wish museum open Thursdays through Sundays 11:00 a.m.– 5:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you soon!