Tony De Nonno
Tony De Nonno will speak of the tradition of Marrionette puppets and air his PBS documentary during the 8th Annual NM Italian Film and Culture Festival Gala.  

The 8th Annual New Mexico Film and Culture Festival will host its opening gala on Sunday Feb. 8, from 4-8 p.m.,  with proceeds from the event to benefit UNM Children’s Hospital.

The event will take place at the Hyatt Regency, 330 Tijeras Avenue NW in Albuquerque.
 
Internationally acclaimed documentary maker Tony DeNonno, accompanied by a hand-carved Manteo marionette, will headline the evening's entertainment.  He will provide an interactive presentation and speak about the life and legacy of puppeteers Mike and Aida Manteo, their children and grandchildren, before the screening of his award-winning PBS Network documentary “It’s One Family: Knock on Wood.” The film chronicles the New York family bound together by a Sicilian folk tradition that spans more than a century.
 
“I’m looking forward to bringing this marvelous tale of Italian values and valor to New Mexico in support of the Italian Festival’s incredible legacy of devotion and generosity to the Children’s Hospital,” said DeNonno. “I can’t wait to introduce everyone to this glorious Sicilian marionette tradition that has contributed so much to history and the birth of literature.”
 
Attendees will also dine on a buffet of Italian specialties and fine Italian wines, accompanied by the guitar and mandolin strings of New Mexico musician Tony Cesarano.  Cesarano will play his own arrangements of the famous film themes of Italian composer Nino Rota, including "La Dolce Vita," "La Strada" and "8 1/2," as well as a personal repertoire of familiar favorites like "O Sole Mio" and "Arrivederci Roma."

Since its inception in 2007, the Italian Film and Culture Festival has been the Italian community’s vehicle for helping UNM Children’s Hospita with more than $195,000 donated so far to the state’s only dedicated children's hospital. It provides care for nearly 60,000 children, more than half of whom live outside of the Albuquerque area.

Now in its 8th year, the New Mexico Italian Film and Culture Festival features a lineup of recent, award-winning and highly acclaimed Italian films in their local premieres. All films are in Italian with English subtitles and include a great mix of genres, from comedy to drama to romance.

Tickets for the evening are $125 per person, with $45 tax deductible. For more festival information and tickets, go to www.italianfilmfest.org.