A new version of the film Italian American Baseball Family with Italian subtitles was submitted by Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) and later selected as a finalist for the FICTS (Fédération Internationale Cinéma Télévision Sportifs) Worldwide Championship of Television, Cinema, Sport, Culture and Communication in Milan. Recognized by the International Olympic Committee, the FICTS-sanctioned competition is the grand final of 16 World FICTS Challenge festivals spanning five continents. The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Award-winning documentary will be screened on Friday, November 16, 2018 at 3 pm inside Palazzo Giureconsulti's Sala Parlamentino in Milan's Piazza Duomo.
Italian American Baseball Family recently made its European premiere at the Center for American Studies in Rome on September 26, 2018. Among those in attendance were We The Italians founder and president Umberto Mucci, University of Padova Professor of American Studies Stefano Luconi, FIBS Marketing and Communication Director Marco Landi, FIBS Academy coaches John Cortese and Luis Hernandez Aguila, and seven FIBS Academists (Manuel Maglio, Marco Artitzu, Daniele Di Monte, Leonardo Menoni, Niccolo Cinelli, Lemba Della Salandra, and Ettore Giulianelli) enrolled at the FIBS Academy Acquacetosa on the campus of the CONI “Giulio Onesti” Olympic Training Center in Rome, Italy. Italian American Baseball Family was later featured on RAI-TV's "L'Italia con Voi".
Basil Russo, father of famous Hollywood directors Joe and Anthony Russo.and president of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America, said, "We are happy to hear that the film has been screened in so many important cities, and that it has been selected as a finalist in the Sports Film competition in Milan. How great to have made a movie that is recognized for its excellence both in the U.S. and Italy." The documentary was chosen as the winner of the inaugural Russo Italian American Film Forum Award at the National Italian American Foundation Gala in Washington, D.C. on November 4, 2017.
Italian American Baseball Family features Lawrence Baldassaro, author of “Beyond DiMaggio: Italian Americans in Baseball” and “Baseball Italian Style”, as well as National Baseball Hall of Fame legend Tommy Lasorda and Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola. Team Italy's Nick Punto, Francisco Cervelli, Chris Colabello, Brandon Nimmo, and Gavin Cecchini are also interviewed in Italian American Baseball Family.
The documentary examines how the likes of Tony Lazzeri, Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra helped reshape America’s perspective on Italian immigrants, and how baseball helped Italians assimilate into American popular culture. The move is based on the book “Beyond DiMaggio: Italians Americans in Baseball” by Lawrence Baldassaro. The film depicts the Italian American experience through American’s favorite pastime and showcases Italian Americans who have circled back to Italy to help grow the game abroad by playing for Team Italy in the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.
Although brothers Vince, Joe, and Dom DiMaggio may be the premier Italian American Baseball Family, the Colabello's from Milford, Massachusetts are a perfect example of the modern day Italian American Baseball Family. Father Lou Colabello was the starting pitcher for Team Italy against host Team USA at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympics while his son Chris Colabello later played baseball in Italy as a youth and, like his father, eventually went on to represent Team Italy in the 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classics. It was only fitting that the world premiere of Italian American Baseball Family take place in the Colabello home town of Milford, Massachusetts earlier this year. Immediately following the screening of the movie, audience members were delighted to interact with Chris Colabello and his father, Lou Colabello, in an exclusive Q & A session.
Other U.S. cities enjoyed similar experiences. A panel discussion featuring Team Italy's Fabio Milano and his Bologna teammate Barth Morreale Jr. along with former Italian Baseball League player Brent Consiglio followed the Chicago-area premiere of the Italian American Baseball Family in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Additional screenings in St. Louis, Missouri featured an insightful look at the life of Italian American baseball celebrity Joe Garagiola as told by his nephew Robert Garagiola, while in Cleveland, Ohio a panel of Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) members spoke about the strong Italian influence on the Indians after the movie at Case Western Reserve University. California audiences in San Francisco and San Diego audiences were treated to Lawrence Baldasssaro's engaging presentation on the legendary son of a poor Sicilian fisherman, Joe DiMaggio, prior to the screening of Italian American Baseball Family.
Now lovers of baseball, history and the Italian American experience will have the opportunity to see Italian American Baseball Family at Milan's Sport Movies & TV Festival, which kicks off at the 17th-century Palazzo Giureconsulti in Piazza Duomo and runs from November 14-19, 2018. To watch the selected movie trailers and schedule of all screenings at some of the most prestigious venues in Milan, click HERE. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti