Monday, June 5, 2023

IncluCity fest returns to Toronto, bigger than ever

 by Allan Tong

The ICFF is back, or shall I say the Lavazza IncluCity Festival, organized by the ICFF? Once Toronto's Italian film fest, IncluCity has rebranded in recent years into a multicultural (and multi-disciplinarian) visual arts festival. The core remains Italian films, but IncluCity has expanded its tent to include even Jewish and Chinese cinema, not to mention painting, opera, fashion and this year horror films. All in all, IncluCity will screen more than 50 feature films drawn from 26 countries.

From June 27 to July 22, the center of IncluCity will be the Distillery District with screenings taking place in oversize, plush seats beneath the stars (rain or shine) on this historic district's cobblestone avenue. It is, without a doubt, the most gorgeous setting to watch a film. 

There's a lot to unpack with IncluCity 2023, and here are the highlights:


* the opening night gala screening of Freaks Out, directed by Gabriele Mainetti, about Italian circus performers fleeing Nazis in World War Two; the gala with feature a showcase by the Royal Canadian International Circus

* Fashion legend Anna Fendi will accept the ICFF Lifetime Achievement Award for her illustrious during a special In Conversation with event and gala dinner on July 22 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, paired with the documentary, F is For Fendi, followed by the closing night party at the Ritz-Carlton. Details:


* a special outdoor screening of BlackBerry, charting the rise and fall of the Canadian tech giant on Canada Day


* the Canadian premiere of Sweetwater, profiling Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, the first African player to sign with the NBA


* a return of the Ukrainian spotlight with Persian Lessons, directed by Ukrainian-Canadian director, Vadim Perelman

* live music in the Distillery by musicians from Nashville to Palestine, many free

* a ghost tour of the Distillery

 * opera night with Lucia Cesaroni and Julie Nesrallah (see video above)

* a sake tasting paired with the film, Nemesis
* the North American premiere of the action film, Eye For an Eye, directed by Bingjia Yang


* the closing night gala features more onscreen action with Diabolik: Gingko Attacks directed by the Manetti brothers, featuring Hollywood star Giacomo Gianniotti and Italy’s “it” actress Miriam Leone, attending the festival.

Most screenings will take place at the Distillery, though a handful are scheduled in Vaughan. Please check the schedule for details and buy advance tickets at

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