When in 2015 there ceased to be any Italian cinema on the silver screen in New Zealand, my wife Renee Mark said to me, “Paolo, you are Italian and a Filmmaker, I have years of experience running the Te Paepae Ataata (The Maori Film Commission)…we should do this. Let’s start a brand new Italian Film Festival”, and so our adventure began.
Italian cultural organisations like The Dante Alighieri were immediately supportive. The Embassy came on board. Of course, so many Italian Companies, like Peroni, Vespa, San Pellegrino and Edit, all joined us from the start. We began with 5 towns; by 2021, we have grown to 21 around Aotearoa with more than 500 screenings. Opening nights have become legendary, always offering ‘la nostra famosa ospitalità Italiana’ involving local Italian Chefs around the country and refreshments like Campari, Cinzano Prosecco or delicacies imported by Mediterranean Foods.
I am very proud to represent Italian culture and Italian business, design and innovation through our partnerships. We collaborate with companies like Ghella that are conducting such large scale and important work in New Zealand. We are very proud to cooperate with the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Sydney) and The Italian National Tourist Board this year. We welcomed prestigious companies like Lamborghini and Albini & Pittigliani. I was very proud to be an ICCNZ Consigliere in 2018; I see real growth, reach and exciting progress.
For the last 3 years, with our first naming Sponsor, we have been known as the “Studio Italia Cinema Italiano Festival”. Looking into the future, we would love to find a new naming sponsor that wishes to achieve the reach and the kudos of New Zealand’s only nationwide Italian event.
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