ICFF Announces Fellini Exhibit for 2024 Festival

TORONTO – The annual ICFF, recently rebranded as the ICFF Lavazza IncluCity Festival, has just announced its line-up for this year’s Festival, which will run from June 27 to July 21 2024. Filmgoers can now go online to view and book screenings for the Italian and Multicultural films.

Of particular interest to film buffs and historians at this year’s Festival is a never-before-seen exhibit dedicated to the iconic Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini. It will be showcasing historic pieces of the legendary auteur in the revitalized heritage site of the Distillery District. The exhibit will be titled “Fellini Forever: A Journey into Fellini’s Studio” and will include a collection of iconic pieces from the Director’s sets and his most acclaimed films. Chairman of the ICFF Board Paul Golini: “The exhibit is realized thanks to the unwavering support of the Consulate General of Italy, which serves as a cornerstone of our Festival. The Consulate’s steadfast backing is not only crucial for this remarkable exhibit but also essential for the entire Festival, enabling us to showcase the richness of Italian cinema and Italian culture”.

The story of how Fellini’s memorabilia arrived in Toronto, and soon at ICFF, was shared during the program’s unveiling, overshadowing to an extent the line-up that followed – a credit to Fellini’s massive contribution to the art form and industry. Italian Consul General Luca Zelioli: “Many months ago I was informed that a large collection of objects, memorabilia that belonged personally to Federico Fellini was here in Toronto. These objects, these memorabilia are here in Toronto thanks to the love of a fan of Fellini. They bought these pieces in Italy and brought them here. I was astonished by this large collection, which is wonderful, but I was at the same time disappointed because it was not open to the public. We have to have some kind of way in which Toronto, which is the [Canadian] capital of the Motion Picture industry, can have access to these beautiful pieces. The public will see from this very location what kind of pieces Toronto has here available. And who knows, maybe in a few years the most important museum about Fellini could be found here in Toronto”.

The fan of Fellini that the Consul General was referring to is Fabio Varlese, a Board Member of ICFF. Varlese shared his story at Thursday’s ICFF Press Conference about his chance encounter with Fellini in Rome in December of 1991. “I’m in Piazza del Popolo and just having my little cappuccino and I turn around and I immediately identify Federico Fellini. I don’t know what took me over but I had the courage to go up to him…and then he asked me ‘come sit down let’s have a coffee together’ and I couldn’t believe he took any interest in wanting to speak to me. I was 23 years old”.

As the story goes, 35 years later Fabio Varlese and Paul Golini were invited to Cinecitta and later lunch with Fellini’s closest companion and Art Director Roberto Mannoni – who had been the custodian of the Director’s legacy and museum pieces. Varlese explained, “He took a liking to us and it took Italian-Canadians to appreciate the value, the beauty, the legacy of Federico Fellini. And we became the natural people taking on this duty to continue the legacy of Fellini. Probably six and half decades of his life are in this exhibit. And there’s so much to appreciate and so much to study”.

Massimo Volpe is a filmmaker and freelance writer from Toronto: he writes reviews of Italian films/content on Netflix