This year’s SOHO International Film Festival had its grand gala night at the “Sunshine Theatre” in the heart of Manhattan introducing the feature film “Uncomfortable Silence” by Italian producer Gabriele Altobelli and a docu-film by director Joseph Rezwin that honored the life of well-known actor Ben Gazzara.
Ben was born in New York City in 1930. His parents, Angela and Antonio Gazzara were both Sicilian immigrants. At age 12, Ben went to see a friend perform in one of the club’s plays. Suddenly he became interested in theater and in acting, but his parents reminded him that first he had to complete his education. Ben attended the Stuyvesant High School in New York City for two years, then he transferred to St. Simon High School in the Bronx, but he never lost his passion for acting. At the City College of N.Y. he studied engineering, but two years later he dropped out of college to study acting at theDramatic Workshop, the alma mater of such acting legends as Marlon Brando, Rod Steiger and Shelley Winters.
In 1956 Gazzara debuted in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Henceforth Ben Gazzara appeared steadily in very successful films like “Anatomy of a Murder”, “Run for Your Life”, “The Big Lebowski” and many others.
Back to the Soho Film Festival….. after the projection of the films by Gabriele Altobelli and Joseph Rezwin, a typically Italian ‘after-party’ took place at the “Libation”, (137 Ludlow Street).The party, attended by several high society individuals and VIP, was professionally organized by the renowned establishment “Italia’s Got Events”, which is an Abruzzese creative organization that, with great sophistication and savoir faire, introduces international events to the business world with the specific purpose of directing the spotlight on Italian enterprises, initiatives and projects.
Most of the credit for the success of the reunion goes to chef Andrea Zanin of Venice, who prepared very professionally the excellent appetizers buffet.Zanin proudly introduced the delicious egg-noodles of De Carloni’s pasta factory from Campofilone (Fermo, Marche) and of the special wines of“Cantine Di Meo” from the Campania region of Italy.
The prestigious recognition “Premio Capestrano” was conferred to the memory of Ben Gazzara who passed away February 3, 2012 at age 81. His charming widow, present in the hall, graciously accepted the honor and received a beautiful bouquet of flowers.