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Point Park University to hold Sergio Leone Film Festival

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Spaghetti Western is coming east to Pittsburgh.

Point Park University’s Department of Cinema and Digital Arts and The John P. Harris Society, Point Park’s student film group, in conjunction with The Italian Cultural Institute of the Embassy of Italy, Washington, D.C., is presenting a festival of the films of Sergio Leone, spanning the weekend of September 9-12, including the North American premier of the film Sergio Leone, a biographical documentary of the famed director, by the famed award-winning Italian filmmaker Luca Verdone, on Friday, September 10 at 7:30pm.

Mr. Verdone will be there in-person to present his film and to deliver a guest lecture.

Other films to be screened are: to open the festival, Once Upon a Time in America, Leone’s 1984 epic take on the American gangster, on Thursday, September 9, at 7:00pm; A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More, the first two films of the “man with no name” trilogy which borrowed heavily from the Japanese and which made Clint Eastwood a world-class star, shown back-to-back on Saturday, September 11, beginning at 7:30pm; 1966’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, a favorite of many and the conclusion of that trilogy, on Sunday, September 12 at 3:00pm; and Once Upon a Time in the West, Leone’s grand epic from 1968 and widely considered to be his masterpiece, to close the festival weekend at 7:00pm on Sunday, September 12.

All events will take place in the George R. White Theater in Point Park’s University Center, 414 Wood Street, downtown. Films will be shown on the big screen. All of the screenings are part of the History of Cinema curriculum of Point Park’s celebrated cinema and digital arts program.

Any member of the Point Park community and the Point Park community-at-large is invited to participate in these valuable screenings. All events are free-of-charge, but seating may be limited, depending on demand. Reservations are suggested.

Sergio Leone has been considered a world master of cinema since his emergence onto the film scene in the early 1960s. His genius lay in his inimitable ability to blend genres, locations, and cultures and their respective heritages into a style all his own. Ironically, the term “spaghetti western,” once used by some as a pejorative, is now credited to Leone, and it is as real and valuable a style and period as any other. Several modern film masters – Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola – enthusiastically hail Leone as a principal influence. And so does Luca Verdone.

This is maestro Verdone’s second visit to Point Park, his first having been in the summer of 2007 to present his film, Visions of Time: The Life and Work of Michelangelo Antonioni. It is a real compliment to Point Park’s film program that he credits his enthusiasm to return to the film students who impressed him so during his first visit.

Luca Verdone graduated in Modern Literature in the academic year of 1978-79 with a thesis on the History of Modern Art entitled VINCENZO CAMUCCINI, ROMAN NEOCLASSICAL PAINTER.

He has been a director of documentaries and television programmes since 1973, and since 1977 he has directed several lyric operas for important seasons. He has been a director of feature films since 1986.

Since 1989 he has been invited abroad to present his work in television and film by numerous Italian cultural institutions including the Italian Cultural Institutes of New York, Melbourne and The Hague.

He has held conferences at New York's Columbia University on Italian cinema. He organised the exhibition "REALISM!":  Figurative art, literature and cinema in Italy from 1943 to 1953 in Rimini for the Meeting dell’Amicizia ("Meeting of Friendship") with Luciano Caramel and Ermanno Paccagnini in 2001. 

He won the “Foyer des Artistes” International Prize in 2002 for his work in cinema. 

He is currently preparing his next feature film which is dedicated to the inventor of modern Circus, Antonio Franconi, who lived in the second half of the eighteenth century.

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