NIAF News Releases

LA, Italia - Film, Fashion and Art Festival to Honor Legendary Italian Producer Dino De Laurentiis


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

**NIAF to Host Opening Dinner for LA, Italia**

*Plan Ahead for NIAF’s West Coast Gala on May 19 at Fairmont Miramar*

(WASHINGTON, DC -- February 8, 2011)
The career of legendary Italian producer Dino De Laurentiis will be celebrated on the opening day of the 6th annual LA, Italia – Film, Fashion and Art Festival on February 20, 2011. The tribute will include a mini retrospective of several of his most memorable motion pictures, along with a screening of Tonino Pinto’s De Laurentiis documentary “A Neapolitan in Hollywood.”

Following the opening day festivities, the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) will host an exclusive dinner for the Foundation’s leadership, Council of 1000 Members and prominent festival guests.

NIAF also is hosting its annual West Coast gala at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica on May 19, 2011. This year NIAF will honor Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda and, posthumously, legendary public affairs consultant and former NIAF vice chairman Joseph R. Cerrell. Film and television star, producer and director Joe Mantegna will be this year’s emcee. Mantegna also serves as the Foundation’s celebrity spokesperson. Actors Brenda Vaccaro and Lou Ferrigno, known as the “Incredible Hulk” will be joined by Academy Award-winning actor Ernest Borgnine. Borgnine was inducted into the NIAF/Italian American Hall of Fame during the Foundation’s 2004 East Coast Gala in New York City and honored during the NIAF’s Ambassador’s Ball in 2007 in Chicago. For tickets and to register visit

“It’s a fitting tribute to a real Italian legend, whose long and brilliant career was centered in both Italy and Hollywood,” Pascal Vicedomini, founder and producer of the Festival, said of De Laurentiis. “The late producer was a star in his own right, whose career milestones included the 2001 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as an Academy Award® for Federico Fellini’s feature film ‘La Strada.’”

LA, Italia runs the week preceding the Academy Awards® (February 20-26) at the Mann’s Chinese 6 Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland complex. Films to be shown include: “Hannibal” (2001) by Ridley Scott (10:30am); “Bitter Rice” (1949) by Giuseppe De Santis (1:30pm); “The Road” (1954) by Federico Fellini, which received an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film (4pm); and Tonino Pinto’s Documentary – A Neapolitan in Hollywood (6:00pm).

At the conclusion of the documentary, Oscar®-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian will officially welcome the Italian delegation to Los Angeles. Then Vicedomini will introduce Dino’s wife and producing partner, Martha De Laurentiis, following which noted Italian director Marco Bellocchio, who is receiving the Festival’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award, will pay homage to the late De Laurentiis.

LA, Italia is produced by Vicedomini for the Capri in the World Institute in association with Cim Group, Eni, Rai TV, and Alitalia, with the sponsorship of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Cinema of the Ministry of Culture and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and with the special participation of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), the Consul General of Italy, the Italian Trade Commission, the Italian Institute of Culture in L.A., Cinecittą Studios and Cinecittą-Luce. For more information, visit

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. The Foundation has a wide range of programs that provide scholarships and grants, conferences and cultural seminars. Visit

LA, Italia is a sister event of two other Italian festivals, Capri-Hollywood and Ischia Global, all of which are dedicated to establishing a creative and business bridgehead between Hollywood and Italy's film and show business communities. Visit

Follow NIAF on Facebook! Follow NIAF on Twitter! Check out NIAF on YouTube!


Find out more!