Italian films international
“The King of Laughter” (Qui rido io), the opening night film at the San Diego Italian Film Festival. Photo credit: Screen shot, https://sandiegoitalianfilmfestival2022.eventive.org/

The San Diego Italian Film Festival returns Wednesday with in-person and online screenings of movies that grapple with the theme, the “Importance of Choice.”

The 16th annual event also will honor founder and president Victor Laruccia, who died earlier this year. 

This year’s feSitvale, through Oct. 22, includes screenings at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, La Paloma in Encinitas and Digital Gym at UC San Diego’s Park & Market.

The lineup includes romantic comedies, period pieces, independent films, dramas and documentaries, all of which are being screened in San Diego for the first time. The annual gala is Oct. 22, at the museum, and will feature the Ristretto Awards, for short films, as well as a tribute to Laruccia.

“His death has left a void not only in our organization but also in San Diego’s arts and culture community,” said Antonio Iannotta, the festival’s artistic director. “That’s why feStivale 2022 is dedicated to his memory.”

Diana Agostini, the festival’s executive director, said Laruccia selected the event’s theme before his death in March because “he wanted to have a dialogue about what it means to choose and what our choices say about us and the world we want to create.”

The festival opens with The King of Laughter (Qui rido io), based on the life of comic actor Eduardo Scarpetta, at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Six other feature films follow in the coming days, including Swing Ride (Calcinculo), at 7 p.m. Oct. 15, about a teen’s unusual friendship with a new worker in town, and The Inner Cage (Ariaferma), at 7 p.m. Oct. 21, about inmates forced to co-exist with guards once they all become isolated from the rest of the world.

Individual screenings cost $16, while festival passes, for in-person and virtual events, start at $105. A shorts-only pass costs $30.


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Ellen Bullock