2020 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Grant Awards Unveiled


The honored recipients will be given a flexible timetable in order for them to safely produce their upcoming films.

On April 1, 2020 The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Committee, along with its sponsors, the National Italian American Foundation and Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA), announced the postponement of the naming of the 2020 grant award recipients due to the health concerns relating to the coronavirus.

The committee has decided to proceed with the awarding of the grants this year. In order to do so, it has been decided that the guidelines relating to the timetable governing the use of the grants will be modified this year in order to allow the grant recipients to proceed with the filmmaking process at a time, and in a manner, which is safe for themselves and those they will be working with.

Each of this year’s grant recipients may choose to receive their grant award at any point in time from August 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021.

In order to be considered in the competition for the 2020 Best Film Award, the film will need to be completed and submitted within five months of the time the grant is issued to the filmmaker, so each grant recipient should not request their grant until such time as they are safely able to begin the filmmaking process.

The three film finalists will be announced on September 30, 2021, and will be screened at the 2021 NIAF Gala Weekend, with the winning film announced at the Gala Dinner.

Each grant recipient’s overriding consideration should be to use their best judgement in following all the necessary safeguards to provide for a filmmaking environment that ensures the safety and health of their cast and crew.

The committee received nearly 200 applications this year, which made the selection process very difficult.

Several exceptional grant requests could not be included for awards due to the limited number of grants available.

The committee wholeheartedly thanks all the grant applicants for their willingness to commit so much of their time, effort and creativity to help preserve the Italian American heritage.

The recipients of the 2020 grant awards are:

Amy Campione, whose yet untitled narrative film, creates the story of an award-winning chef who struggles to define her identity.

Laura Caparrotti, whose film, Tutti in Scena!, documents the history of Italian American theater.

Tony De Nonno, whose film, A Century of Laughter, Heart and Song, explores the birth and life of Italian American comedy.

Francis DiClemente, whose film, World Series of Bocce, highlights this celebration of Italian American culture.

Valarie D’Elia, whose film, Saving Southern Italy, tells the story of Italian Americans going back to their roots to buy and renovate a home in Italy.

Alessia Gatti, whose film, The Grucci, focuses on the artistry, innovation and values of America’s world renowned family of fireworks.

Charles Marsala, whose film, Who killa da Chief?, provides a plausible explanation as to who killed the police chief whose death resulted in the unjust lynching of 11 Italian immigrants in New Orleans in 1891.

Charles Messina, whose film, The Wanderer, presents the story of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Dion DiMucci’s struggle to overcome addiction.

For questions, please contact NIAF Director of Programs, Gabriella Mileti at gmileti@niaf.org

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