For the first time, Sicilian Cinema is making a name for itself thanks to the Sicilian Film Festival (SFF). The seven-day Festival was created in Miami in 2006 by the Sicilian-born sculptor, musician, writer, and designer Emanuele Viscuso. Now residing in Miami Beach, Viscuso seeks to underline the importance of Sicily, its cinema, literature, art, food and wine, fashion, and culture on an international platform.
The SFF has created renewed pride, not only among Sicilians, but all Italians living around the world. It is the first organization to showcase:
Sicily’s importance in film production (it is second in Italy, after Rome, in producing movies);
some of the best Italian directors including Sicilian, Giuseppe Tornatore who won an Oscar for Cinema Paradiso;
Hollywood stars of Sicilian origin such as Frank Sinatra, Vincente Minnelli, Martin Scorsese, Frank Capra, Susan Sarandon, Cindy Lauper, Sylvester Stallone, and Joseph Barbera;
the impressive number of international directors who have chosen Sicily as a site for shooting their movies.
As an enormous number of Sicilians and Sicilian descendants throughout the world are tired of the unjust association of their name with the Mafia, they hope to find a new cultural identity. Through Viscuso’s efforts, the Sicilian Film Festival has successfully achieved the correct formula where many people can unite in one project.
While based primarily in Miami, the SFF holds events in both US and other cities worldwide. An official proclamation of a Sicilian Film Festival Day in 2007, recognized the cultural impact the Festival has had upon the City of Miami. When presenting Emanuele Viscuso with a Key to the City, Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower said, “We appreciate the efforts of this Festival in bringing the Sicilian culture to the fore and sharing the beauty and life of Sicily with the people of Miami and the U.S.A. Through theater, music, art, and love, boundaries are traversed and all nations learn to share each others works and get to understand and appreciate different cultures.”
In addition, the Italian region of Sicily bestowed upon Viscuso, the special honor of “Sicilians in the World: Ambassador of Culture” as a sign of its support of his efforts in establishing the Festival. This honor was received along with seventeen other people of Sicilian origin who represent different vocations and facets of Sicilian culture. Now, thanks to the efforts of the Sicilian Film Festival, Sicilian artists, both known and emerging, have a thriving opportunity in Miami Beach to display their genius to the world.
The SFF is a Public Charity 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.