Filming Italy Los Angeles, interview with Tiziana Rocca

Cinema / Interview - 26 February 2024

Filming Italy Los Angeles Festival runs through Feb. 29

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The Filming Italy Los Angeles Festival will take place in Los Angeles from February 26 to 29. It offers screenings, meetings with the protagonists of Italian cinema. Tiziana Rocca is its creator.

How did the idea for Filming Italy come about? 

Nine years ago, I decided it was very important to promote Italian cinema and Italian talents abroad. This gave me the idea of creating a festival in Los Angeles: a festival that could promote all-Italian cinema and TV series, Italian talents like Gina Lollobrigida, whom I brought to the festival for two years. Gina Lollobrigida, thanks to Filming Italy Los Angeles, obtained a star on the walk of fame in 2018. I brought many other great Italian talents such as Claudia Cardinale, to highlight the work of our Italian talents in the United States and remember their contribution in the history of cinema. 

In 2019 Giancarlo Giannini also got a star in the walk of fame, because of the covid we were able to withdraw the title last year. Finally, Giancarlo Giannini was the second Italian actor, after Rodolfo Valentino, to obtain a star in the walk of fame. We moved from silent to talking film. 

Look at the Gallery: Filming Italy Los Angeles

Filming Italy Los Angeles

They have also developed an online platform.

We are very proud of the promotion work, five years ago we also made the digital platform. With the digital platform we were able to reach a huge audience in America: Connecticut, Ohio, Boston, San Francisco, New York… All over the United States. We have so many requests for our sections, especially the sections of restored classic Italian films that cannot be found on online platforms. 

How has the festival grown over the years?

It is important to bring italian cinema to the United States. Each year, the festival has grown more and more, arriving count 80 titles: 25 live titles and 55 on the digital platform including previews of films and tv series, great restored classics, documentaries, first works in collaboration with Women in Film Association with women directors. The aim is to give visibility and support women in the world of cinema: directors, actresses, screenwriters.

With great pride, the festival has grown more and more, becoming an important bridge between Italy and America for the promotion of Italian products and Italian actors that we try to enhance. In particular, those Italian actors who came to Los Angeles when they were young and made a career. It is important to reward them and remember their origins. We try to enhance the Italian character of our cinema. 

Django is being shown this year. How did you come up with that choice? 

This year in the tribute of Franco Nero, in collaboration with the American cinematheque as we always do, will be a tribute to his career with the film Django.

Django was chosen because it is a cult film. The love for cinema of the people who follow the projections of American cinematheque could not go on another choice. The screening is already sold out, there will be a masterclass at 7 p.m. made by Franco Nero together with one of the directors of American cinematheque. After the masterclass, there will be the screening of the film, with the presence of many young film fans who will see Django. This is a great emotion for the young audience who will see the film with his darling Franco Nero live. 

Do you think Italian cinema can have an appeal in the United States? 

Of course, Italian cinema can have an appeal in the United States. This year we are very pleased and honored that Matteo Garrone has made this extraordinary campaign for the film "Io Capitano", both for the Golden Globe nomination and for the Oscar nomination as Best foreign film.

This year is a great success for Italy, also thanks to the phenomenon in the New York Times with the film by Paola Cortellesi "C’è ancora domani" that broke out at the box office in Italy and beating international films at the box office and the number of admissions in the theaters.

This shows that Italian cinema, with its creativity, ideas, original stories, black and white stories, with English subtitles can conquer the audience that has become a bit sophisticated and requires more from directors and screenwriters. I hope this is just the beginning of a road that continues in this direction. 

What would have to be done to increase the visibility of Italian cinema abroad? 

I do the festival in order to increase the visibility of Italian cinema, to bring Italian stories and comedies that are done very well and sometimes do not arrive in the United States. There is a desire to bring different genres to show and appreciate even to the American public, our Italian comedies. Surely the festival are 4 days of full immersion of Italian cinema abroad.

You recently published a book called Imagining the Impossible. What is the difficulty for a woman to organize a business, in the past and today? 

Yes I wrote the book "Immaginare l’Impossibile" published Sperling & Kupfer. My book is a great energy to make young people understand. When I started in this world of events I was one of the first pioneers of marketing also through the events of large companies.

I was a pioneer because in a purely masculine world at a professional level, I have always tried to go straight on my way, to never give up, to overcome all obstacles and to never give up even in all the jobs I did even after. I am one of the few female directors of festivals. I have an award in Venice as director of Filming Italy in Venice. I am happy to have broken down barriers, to always support the work of women even when many years ago it was not fashionable. The work of women in the world of cinema, direction, entrepreneurship as producers, as actresses, screenwriters because it is very important to make a team and be supportive even if there is still a lot to do. For this aspect there are still many difficulties, we women must always do a double job and sometimes we had less access to some positions that were mainly male.

I think that the road is now open and perhaps it will be better, even if there is still a long way to go to achieve equal pay and to achieve a fair distribution of the roles of women and men. I’ve always tried to be professional, I never worried.

Being a woman has sometimes been a disadvantage, but I have always tried to recover the disadvantage with ideas, with energy, with determination, with the desire to get there, to make it and to get the goals. 

What is the prerogative you recognize in women's abilities? 

We women have this strength and this spirit of sacrifice that makes us able to handle different things together: being a mother, professional work, human relationships. Woman has this innate ability in her DNA.

It is important to help and support women who want to succeed professionally, not penalizing them but supporting them. It is important that society takes a step forward more and more and an effort on this.

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