Great cinema comes back to Sestri Levante, May 9 – 14

One week to go for the seventh edition of this great festival, that each year awards the best films by under-35 directors and the most interesting documentaries with an environmental theme, attracting the stars of Italian and international cinema to the pearl of Tigullio

SESTRI LEVANTE (GE) – Exactly one week from the start, the cast of major film and entertainment stars expected from May 9 to 14 in Sestri Levante for the seventh edition of the Riviera International Film Festival is enriched with the names of Anna Foglietta, Michela Andreozzi, Vanessa Beecroft, Anna Favella, Lavinia Longhi and the return of Paolo Ruffini. Some of them and many others will already be on the Red Carpet at the Cinema Ariston during the opening ceremony on Tuesday, May 9, at 5:30 p.m. Others will join in the days to follow to take part in previews, talks, masterclasses and panels that, for a week, will transform Sestri and Tigullio into a true capital of Italian and international cinema.

«We have now reached the seventh edition of RIFF, and I believe that this event is proof that when you believe in something true, when you have passion for what you do, things happen – states President Stefano Gallini Durante –. The talent of the organizing team and the support of the Ligurian Region and the Municipality of Sestri Levante are the elements that have made this festival an international success. On a personal level, I am happy to see that what was just an idea seven years ago has become a great event that everyone can participate in and that culturally and humanly enriches this magnificent territory».

Already a protagonist on the shores of the Bay of Silence in 2022, Paolo Ruffini returns to RIFF again this year to present his new film “Rido perché ti amo”: he appointment is for Friday 12 at 3 p.m. at the Duferco Lounge in Piazza Matteotti, the large pavilion in the center of Sestri around which all the main events of the Festival will revolve, and where on Saturday 13 Lavinia Longhi, who enjoyed great success with the Rai series “La porta rossa” in which she plays the role of Beatrice Mayer, and at 2 p.m. Anna Foglietta, among the best-known and most appreciated actresses of our cinema (“Ex! Still Friends?”, “Tutta colpa di Freud”, “Perfect Strangers”, “I migliori giorni”).

President of the film jury, as already announced, will be British actress Emily Mortimer (“Notting Hill”, “Match Point”, “Shutter Island”, “The Newsroom”), who comments on her participation as follows: « Since the beginning of cinema, independent films have represented its true soul. I’m really excited to be the president of the jury of the Riviera International Film Festival and I can’t wait to see all the films in competition, to be in Sestri Levante and to meet the young filmmakers whose talent represents the future of our fantastic world».

Actress and director Michela Andreozzi, star of the talk “La commedia è donna” scheduled for Thursday 10 at 4 p.m., will chair the documentary jury, which is rounded out with war correspondent and International correspondent Annalisa Camilli and actress and activist Anna Favella. « Curiosity: it’s my approach to life, my key to reading the world and my thirst for human production – Andreozzi explains –. And if as a filmmaker I discovered along the way a vocation for storytelling through the wide-angle lens of humor, as a viewer I gradually became passionate about telling the real, its proposition of new questions rather than answers. I am excited and grateful for this new experience as jury president of the RIFF documentary section, aware of the privilege and responsibility of this role to which I wish to approach with the curiosity that has always defined and moved me as a human being and a woman of cinema».

When judging the works submitted by the best under-35 filmmakers from all over the world, Mortimer will be joined by screenwriter Ludovica Rampoldi, internationally renowned visual artist and Genoese-born Vanessa Beecroft, Hungarian director Tamás Topolanszky who already won the RIFF in 2019 with “Curtiz,” and the very young Filippo Scotti, who was revealed with his starring role in Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Hand of God.” Scotti himself, along with Giancarlo Commare, Aurora Giovinazzo and Ludovica Martino, will participate in a talk on rising stars in Italian cinema at 6 p.m. on Wednesday 10, to precede, in the evening, the national premiere screening of Marco Bocci’s second directorial effort, “La Caccia.” who will be present in the auditorium together with lead actor Filippo Nigro, already seen in the cinema in, among others, many films by Ferzan Ozpetek (“The ignorant fairies,” “Facing Windows” and the recent “The Goddess of Fortune”) and also starring in successful TV series such as “RIS. Delitti imperfetti” and “Suburra.”

It is precisely to TV series that the Riviera International Film Festival 2023 reserves a particularly important section, starting with the Sky Original productions “Unwanted – Ostaggi del mare”, which will be presented precisely in Sestri Levante in a world premiere by its screenwriter, Stefano Bises, by Fabrizio Gatti, well-known investigative journalist and author of the book “Bilal” from which the series takes its cue, and by Nils Hartmann, vice president Sky Studios Italy and Germany; “Django,” the subject of a masterclass by Francesca Comencini and Paki Meduri; and “M. Il figlio del secolo”, based on the bestseller of the same name by writer and historian Antonio Scurati, at RIFF on Saturday, May 13 at 11:30 a.m. Amazon Prime instead brings “The Bad Guy,” which will be presented by Ludovica Rampoldi together with director Giuseppe S. Stasi and lead actress Selene Caramazza. And speaking of series, how can we not mention the phenomenon “Mare Fuori,” which will be discussed together with some of the protagonists of the series on Thursday, May 11, in a talk so eagerly awaited that it will have to be exceptionally hosted in the more capacious auditorium of the Ex convento dell’Annunziata. The same evocative location that on Sunday, May 14, starting at 6 p.m., will host the awards ceremony preceded, at 2:30 p.m. at the Duferco Lounge, by the meeting with Maria Chiara Giannetta, Fiorenza Pieri and Enzo Paci, namely the cast of “Blanca,” the series that brought the beauty of Genoa and Liguria to prime time on Rai 1.

Wide space, as is now a well-established tradition, will be devoted again this year to environmental issues, dealt with by many of the documentaries in the competition and the subject of two talks in particular, both moderated by journalist Stefania Vitulli: the one on Thursday 11 dedicated to “Balene, delfini e altre meraviglie” (Whales, Dolphins and Other Wonders), n which TV journalist Donatella Bianchi and Wolfgang Knöpfler, producer of some of Leonardo Di Caprio’s finest documentaries, will also participate; and the panel on Saturday 13 – “Senza l’oceano non ce la facciamo. Le ultime notizie sullo stato dei mari in diretta da Ocean Race” (Without the Ocean We Can’t Make It. The Latest State of the Seas Live from Ocean Race) – which will have as its special guest the mayor of Genoa, Marco Bucci.

Rounding out the program are the Networking Day organized Wednesday, May 10, by CNA Audiovisual Liguria, the “RIFF Shorts” short film festival and the out-of-competition presentation of Sándor Csoma’s “Heights and Depths” and the documentaries “Peso morto”, screened at 4 p.m, 45 on Wednesday in the presence of director Francesco Del Grosso, and “Punk Rock Vegan Movie,” the directorial debut work of Moby, who is also the protagonist of an unmissable masterclass connected from the United States, which can be enjoyed at the Annunziata from 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 11. Added to all this are the “Lost in Rock” exhibition at the Palazzo Comunale by sculptor Andrea Copello from Chiavari, and children’s workshops inspired by Disney classics at the “Leggi e Sogna” bookstore.

Finally, on Friday, May 12, at 9:15 p.m., an exclusive evening in the Piazzetta in Portofino, which, as part of the “Cinema in Blu” festival organized in collaboration with Splendido & Splendido Mare Hotel, will feature the press premiere of the docu-film “Con l’Aiuto di Dio”, realized by Flying Donkeys Productions and directed by Nicola Bozzo, which tells the story of the exceptional undertaking of the 93-year-old shipwright from Casarza Ligure Mosè Bordero who was able to make, with just his hands, a real leudo, an ancient and typical boat of the Tigullio Gulf.

As mentioned, all talks and meetings will take place between the Duferco Lounge, the pavilion set up by main sponsor Duferco Energia in Sestri Levante’s beautiful Piazza Matteotti, and the Ex-convento dell’Annunziata, and will also be streamed live on RIFF’s official Facebook page.


Giovanni Toti, president of the Region of Liguria with delegation for culture and entertainment: « The program of this seventh edition proves the growth of the event and its central role in not only the national, but the international scene. From May 9 to 14, Liguria and Sestri Levante become the place where the attentions of all fans of cinema, documentaries and TV series are focused: a parade of stars and top names will once again converge in the city of the two seas for a festival capable of speaking to everyone, from experts to simple fans, with in-depth masterclasses designed for insiders to meetings with the protagonists of the hottest TV series of the moment, from the cast of “Mare fuori” to that of “Blanca,” which brought Genoa and Liguria to the screens of millions. The tourism success of Liguria is not only linked to its magnificent views and beaches, but also to the rich cultural offer and the many events on the program: the Riviera International Film Festival, for sure, is one of the most important ones».

Federica Cavalleri, Genoa City Councilor with responsibility for major events: « I am proud that once again this year the Riviera International Film Festival is being presented in Genoa: our city is experiencing an extraordinary moment as a film set for movies and series for television, Blanca and Petra just to name a few. The RIFF has been able to innovate itself, edition after edition and, with the constant of a jury and guests of international level, it has the great merit of always shining a spotlight on issues of current affairs and the territory, promoting not only the Riviera di Levante, whose brand it spreads, but the whole Genoese area. I would like to thank the organizers, who this year have also included in the program a moment of important discussion on environmental sustainability and the health of the oceans, which is the founding theme of The Ocean Race, whose Grand Final will land in Genoa on June 24 and will bring our city to the international limelight as a natural stage for great boating, with great collateral events that we are organizing to entertain the many tourists and enthusiasts arriving and to involve Genoese and Ligurians in what will be a great celebration for our entire region».

Riviera International Film Festival is supported by Conferenza del Turismo del Comune di Sestri Levante, Regione Liguria, Camera di Commercio di Genova, Ascom Genova and other local entities, with sponsorship from Rai Liguria.

We also thank the main sponsors Duferco Energia and Redelfi, the sponsors Cardenxe, Hotel Vis à Vis, Grand Hotel dei Castelli and Daikin Aerotech-Habitaria; Primocanale Production and GruppoGE for their support, the partners Accademia09, Sestrilevantein and CNA and all technical sponsors including Portofino Dry Gin, Cotril and Banca Generali