Albuquerque’s celebration of Italian film and culture will be five when the fifth annual Italian Film Festival begins Feb. 20th. The event, which is a successful fund-raiser for the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital, will again feature both “classic” and contemporary Italian films. The popular food and wine events, coupled with the opening and closing days will also be a part of the eight-day celebration.

This year’s film selections include many of the award-winning films of 2009 and 2010, produced by Italian film-makers. The rich tradition of great cinematography, colorful characters, and vivid depiction of the passion, fire and emotion captured by the legendary Italian film industry will be on display with the eleven movie selections.

“We were very fortunate to secure more comedies and more films for young adults this year. There is always a rich selection available and we try hard to choose the very best for our growing and sophisticate audience,” says Managing Director Ronaldo Patrizio-Steiner

The opening day will feature a Puccini opera, along with wonderful antipasto and intermezzo pranzo offerings, by some of Albuquerque’s best restaurants.

Festival dates are Feb. 20-27, with film presentations at four Albuquerque venues. Tickets will be on sale through the Festival web site starting Jan. 31th…. Ticket reservations are now being taken on the Festival phone line, 508-0759. A limited number of $100 Festival Passes are now available.

Festival media sponsors will again include KASA-TV2, KRQE-TV13, KHFM Classical Music Radio, Local IQ and the Premium Shopping Guide and Albuquerque the Magazine. The returning major sponsors are Saggio’s, Lithexcel, Merrill Lynch and the City of Albuquerque. New sponsors this year are Albuquerque Center for Plastic Surgery and Fastino’s, on Juan Tabo.

For more information on the 2011 Italian Film Festival call 508-0759