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.
This year the eight applicants listed below have been selected to each receive $8,000 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.
Michael Cavalieri, whose narrative film, Ritornato, tells the emotional story of a man who loses all his loved ones, and sets off on a journey to revisit his past and fulfill a promise made to his dying mother.
Giovanni Carnuccio III, whose documentary will illuminate the struggles of preserving our cultural identity in areas of our country where Italian Americans are isolated and alone.
Mary Davis, whose documentary, Mamma’s Men, will examine the unique relationship Italian American mothers have with their sons, and demonstrate the importance of the matriarch’s role in the Italian American family.
John Peter Didato, whose documentary will go behind the scenes of Sesame Street to profile Italian Americans who have contributed to the success of the most beloved children’s show in television history.
Michael Getto, whose film, The Man Who Carved America, will chronicle the tragically unsung life, but exceptional work of an Italian immigrant who shaped the faces of many of America’s most sacred buildings.
Sandra Jean Grasso, whose film will explore the significance of gardens in the Italian American community, and how they have become part of the cultural identity of Italian Americans.
Sim Smiley, whose film, Maximum John – The Paisan Who Sentenced Nixon, will explain the importance of Judge John Sirica’s handling of Watergate, as well as examining the contributions of other prominent Italian American judges and lawyers.
Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, whose film, Columbus, is a narrative story of the famed explorer who returns to defend his legacy by educating those who seek to rewrite world history.
Congratulations to all.
Furthermore, they kindly thank all the applicants for their submissions.