And The Film Grants Go To…

Our Film Forum grant recipients have been selected: See who the filmmakers are, and read about their proposed projects.


Grant Selections for 2017

The Selection Committee is pleased to announce the grant recipients for The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum, an initiative to fund films depicting and exploring the Italian American experience for the benefit of future generations.

Applicants from across the U.S. (and even Italy) submitted proposals, generating a pool of traditional and contemporary topics explored in both creative and thoughtful ways. As a result, the competition was tight, with several applicants merely inched out due to the limited number of grants available. For this reason, we encourage individuals whose submissions were not selected to consider reapplying for a grant next year.

The seven applicants listed below have been selected to each receive $7,500 to fund their film project. Each of these recipients present a specific vision for the exploration of, what we believe, are truly interesting and dynamic themes. We are eager to see each of their films come to life in the coming months…

The 2017 recipients (and the subject matter of their respective films) are:

Roberto Agnotti, a Film Studies Major at Claremont McKenna, whose documentary film The Italian American Baseball Family will relate how Italian Americans assimilated into popular culture through America’s favorite pastime.

David Joseph Higgins, a high school teacher in Staten Island New York, whose narrative film, presented in Italian, will be based on a children’s book he authored about an unconventional love story.

Kirsten Keppel, a videographer of the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society in Washington D.C., whose documentary film will explore “The St. Joseph’s Day Table” and its significance in Italian and Italian American culture.

Dylan Maccarone, a Documentary Film Major at Hampshire College, whose documentary film will take him to Italy, delving into the conditions that caused a mass migration of Italians to America in the early 1900’s, while questioning whether conditions today could prompt a reverse migration.

Cristoforo Magliozzi, a Master of Fine Arts Candidate in Film Production at the University of Texas in Austin, whose narrative film Beeswax depicts the intricate relationship between an orphan and her grandfather after she breaks a cherished accordion.

Margaret Sclafani, an Anthropology Major at Bryn Mawr College/Haverford College, whose documentary film will examine the relevance of street and religious festivals in Italian American communities through the formation and subsequent demolishment of New York City’s Our Lady of Loreto Church.

Matteo Zengaro, a History and Psychology Major at Delta State University, whose documentary film will hone in on the rich history of Italian Americans in the Mississippi Delta, an area often overlooked when exploring the history of our culture.

Congratulations to all!

The Russo Brothers are grateful to The National Italian American Foundation and The Italian Sons and Daughters of America for their support in this endeavor. Furthermore, they kindly thank all the applicants for their submissions and look forward to reading more in 2018!

Submitted by Angela Otstot, Chairperson

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