The Italian Film Festival of Minneapolis/St. Paul (IFF) is a four-day event held in Minneapolis, MN, U.S.A, that screens the best contemporary Italian cinema from fast-paced Italian comedies to socially-relevant documentaries. Our goal is to showcase touching films that explore the vast complexities of Italy and its people, both past and present. For this reason, the IFF also features a classic filmmaker each year--i.e., Federico Fellini, Vittorio De Sica, or Sergio Leone--to celebrate the history of Italian filmmaking. Alongside film screenings, the IFF engages the local community through dialogues with filmmakers, panel discussions with local scholars and industry professionals, and introductions by journalists and critics.

The IFF is organized by The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis / St. Paul in partnership with the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul.

All films are screened on The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul's Screen #3 at the St. Anthony Main Theater in Minneapolis (115 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414). All movies are shown in Italian with English subtitles.

In 2020, the Italian Film Festival (IFF) celebrates its eleventh anniversary! This time again, the IFF will offer two award opportunities for the best short films made by emerging filmmakers working and living in Italy and Minnesota. The Italian Film Festival’s "Building Bridges: Emerging Filmmaker Awards” will be chosen by an esteemed panel of jurors and the winning films will screen at the 2020 IFF.

The jury will select two films--one made in Italy and one made in Minnesota--and each film will receive a 2020 "Building Bridges Award." Each winner will receive a cash prize and the IFF will cover the director's travel to the festival. Distributors and filmmakers are asked to make or submit short films that are related to a specific theme described in the "Rules and Terms" section.

The Italian Film Festival’s "Building Bridges: Emerging Filmmaker Awards” are dedicated to Massimo Bonavita, former president and founder of The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis / St. Paul.

Films submitted should consider the theme: Water / Acqua.

This year’s Film Festival's “Building Bridges: Emerging Filmmaker Awards” theme is water (acqua in Italian). For this second edition of the awards, short films submitted should present their very own artistic and/or poetic interpretation of water.

Water is the key to life. Water runs the world. It is also what defines and connects us, from beautiful Venice to the beloved State of “clear blue water”, Minnesota, from the pristine shores of the Amalfi Coast to the fragile sanctuary of the Boundary Waters.

Water is powerful yet scarce and precious. It brings life as well as it takes it. It impacts our way of living and vice versa. Water can generate violence and struggles over territory between communities and nations. It is also source of incredible beauty, deeply anchored into civilizations and their beliefs.

By selecting your creation, our ambition is to celebrate your expression of Water / Acqua. We are open to creative approaches to this theme and welcome your interpretations and experiments.

Submission process:

*Please submit your film through our FilmFreeway page

*Please include a link to the film (if available), the film's title, a brief description, the director's name and bio, country of origin, contact information, and press materials. Other information is welcome, but not required.

*The cost of submission is $10 for regular submission and $25 for late submission (see deadlines).

*If for any reason you need to send a physical screener link, please mail the film to the following address:

Italian Film Festival Submission
c/o Italian Cultural Center
528 Hennepin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Film criteria:

The IFF hopes to encourage filmmaking in Italy and in Minnesota that draw links between our local communities and those living in Italy today. For this reason, films will only be considered that meet the following requirements:

*The filmmakers must be from or living in Minnesota or Italy and able to attend the festival, 20-23 February 2020 for a post-screening discussion

*Films must be less than 15 minutes

*Films must contain English subtitles if in Italian or any other foreign language

*Films must creatively take up the theme for this year’s awards

Overall Rating
  • Arianna Lodeserto

    Awarded of the Special jury prize, I was invited to Minneapolis for the Italian Film Festival this year and I had a wonderful time in the stunning city of Minneapolis! I had a warm feeling of excellence in hospitality, since they the staff took care of every details to welcome the invited directors in Twin Cities.
    Besides that, the festival had a very good program this year, and we had the chance to watch some significant film of the recent Italian production, and to meet emerging directors and Italian-American incredible personalities (also thanks to the Q & A).
    The Festival location (St. Anthony Main) was extremely suggestive, and the screenings were very well arranged.
    I just wish to everybody the chance to see Minnesota at least once in a life!

    March 2018