San Francisco Welcomes the 20th Edition of the N.I.C.E. Film Festival

Director Viviana del Bianco  (Courtesy of Pamela Gentile)

Director Viviana del Bianco (Courtesy of Pamela Gentile)

N.I.C.E edition has become today the place in the United States where to watch an Italian movie and have conversations during events and meetings. This is an innovative, fresh, engaging experience that nobody wants to miss!” This is how Viviana del Bianco, N.I.C.E. Director, introduces the 26th edition of the New Italian Cinema Events (the 20th in San Francisco) that opens on November 16th in the Bay Area. Watching any of the seven dramas by upcoming directors; three award-winning documentaries; five new dramas by veteran directors won’t be enough: the City of Florence Award has turned the festival into a special event for the community.

For the last 20 years, this Award has been promoting the new Italian cinema in the US. - Viviana del Bianco points - The audience, composed of professionals, students, and all lovers of the Italian culture and cinema, vote the best movie of the festival. The verdict influences the movie market, so does the N.I.C.E. when it comes to movie distribution. People tell us what they like and their opinions matter to directors who can better understand what to work on in the future.”

The N.I.C.E. found in the Italian Cultural Institute one of the strongest partners of any time. Director Paolo Barlera explained that “This year things have changed a little, and the Institute has stepped up and taken responsibility for all the local logistics. It is undoubtedly a great challenge but we are proud to take on in collaboration with the Consulate General and other leaders of the Italian and Italian-American community.” While the promotion of the Italian language is a constant target of the Institute’s mission, Director Barlera believes that “A festival offering movies in the original Italian language precisely fulfills that role, by exposing the many viewers to the beauty and charm of our language.

Our friends of the Istituto Italiano Scuola have actually coined a great tagline, which nicely reflect this spirit: Life is sweeter without subtitles.” The 2016 N.I.C.E. edition is in collaboration with the Festival dei Popoli, a non-profit organization that has been promoting the social documentary cinema for over fifty years. One of the best known initiatives is the documentary festival of the same name, that takes place in Florence at the end of November and is now Italy’s leading documentary event. As told by Mr Barlera, “N.I.C.E. has always been a close partner of the Festival, and this year we are happy to present three documentaries in collaboration with them. There is already a positive buzz about these works, and we expect people to like them.”

Nancy Fishman has been working in the movie industry for 25 years being, among others, the Program Director for the Jewish Festival. Her first connection with the Italian cinema was in 1995/1996 when she worked as publicist for Suso Cecchi D’Amico when the San Francisco film festival did a tribute to her. This is the first time Nancy takes the role as Festival Manager. “I’d call myself asthe sous-chef at N.I.C.E. -she explains - I served on Programming Selection Commi-ttee, watched films and introduced filmmakers. My main goal was to suggest which movies the audience in San Francisco would like to watch.

She already watched all the movies, so we asked about her impression on today’s Italian cinema. “Italy has a rich cinema tradition and a great world cinema history and being part of this event excites me. Italian directors are very inventive, actors are excellent, and the comedy tradition is still very strong.” Documentaries represent an important part of this year’s festival, also thanks to Nancy’s contribution: “Cinema allows to take a snapshot of the country and these movies really give an idea of important topics such as immigration, role of women. I encouraged the screening of documentaries because the Bay Area has a big community who loves documentaries and the way they showcase reality. “

The Consul General of Italy in San Francisco, Lorenzo Ortona, joins the N.I.C.E. for the first time fully embracing its mission. “Compared to the past, the Italian Cinema has changed and N.I.C.E. today is helping people have a better understanding of our contemporary movie industry and of our Country. Having a full week of contemporary Italian movies is important because they showcase what it means to live in Italy today: complicated routines, interesting stories played by great actors and told by Italian directors in a smart way.

Cinema is also a way to strengthen the connection and understanding between Italy and the United States and the Italian community in California. This event is very vital because it helps those who are studying the Italian language and gives a better understanding of Italy to those who love the Italian culture and travel or want to connect to their families there.”

N.I.C.E. kicks off on Wednesday, November 16 at the Vogue Theatre with the screening of “Second Spring” and Director Francesco Calogero as guest, followed by an Opening Party at the San Francisco Italian Athletic Club. Schedule and tickets at


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