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Second Annual San Diego Italian Film Festival

Although just in its sophomore year, the festival has a maturity about it. Maybe you get that feeling from the level of conversation at the panel discussions. Last year I had the honor of being part of a panel following a screening of I'm Not Scared and the authors and academics, along with the audience members provided a very lively, lengthy, and in depth conversation about the film. The willingness of the festival organizers to set aside a good chunk of time for discussion reflects a different attitude than most of the other festivals that are usually more pressed for time with a greater number of films packed into fewer days. But the Italian festival serves up a more leisurely pace so you can savor each film and the post-film discussions.

The only event that's not free is the Gala on October 18 with a meal and an encore screening of Agostino Ferrente's The Orchestra of Piazza Vittorio . If last year is any indication of what this year's Gala will be like then be prepared for some incredible food and film.

Here's the schedule:

October 4, 11:00 am Films for Children from the San Diego International Children's Film Festival (all short films are in English for ages 5 - 14, full program running 1 hour)

October 5, 3:00 pm Mario Monicelli & 's Le Rose del Deserto about the adventures of an Italian medical battalion in Libya during World War II.

October 5, 6:00 pm Davide Ferrario's Dopo Mezzanotte where Turin's museum of cinema provides the setting for an unlikely love affair.

October 6, 7:00 pm Gianni Amelio's La Stella che non c'e' in which an Italian and a translator travel in China to avert a factory disaster.

October 7, 7:00 pm Christian Bisceglia's Agente Matrimoniale about two young men who return to Sicily to begin an odd job.

October 8, 7:00 pm Stefano Mordini's Provincia Meccanica in which a young couple juggle love and life in Ravenna.

October 9, 7:00 pm Vincenzo Marra's Vento di Terra about a courageous young man from a poor suburb of Naples.

October 10, 8:30 pm Enrico Pau's Jimmy della Collina looks to a Sardinian adolescent confronting the toughest decision in his life

October 11, 3:00 pm Paolo Genovese's Incantesimo Napoletano , which asks the question: In Naples what could be worse than not being Neopolitan?

October 11, 7:00 pm Mimmi Calopresti's L'Abbuffatta about three youngsters from Calabria who go to Rome to find a star for their film.

October 12, 7:00 pm Alessandro D'Alatri's La Febbre focuses on an accountant in Northern Italy who finds that life improves with love.

October 14, 7:00 pm Davide Ferrario's devo essere sincero deals with a teacher and a detective who investigate a murder and find love.

October 15, 7:00 pm Francesco Amato's coming of age tale Ma che ci faccio qui

October 16, 7:00 pm Hava Volterra Tree of Life, a documentary about the Italian Jewish journey through history. Look for an imaginative use of puppets. The film screened earlier this year at the San Diego Jewish film festival. Interview with Volterra follows the screening.

October 17 7:00 pm Graziano Diana's La Vita Rubata is dedicated to 17-year-old Graziella Campagna who was assassinated by the Mafia. Following the film, Graziano Diana will be interviewed by Pasquale Verdicchio.

October 19, 5:00 pm Daniele Luchetti's Mio fratello e' figlio unico (My Brother is an Only Child) details the tumultuous relationship between two brothers on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Discussion follows: Piazze nella cultura, nella storia.

So if you are looking for good film, good conversation, and good food, check out the San Diego Italian Film Festival.

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