Our Village Mourns an Artistic Legend

Ugo Gregoretti died on July 5, 2019 in the city where he began his life. The icon of Italian cinema and film was born on September 28, 1930 in Rome. The death of this pioneer of the new Italian cinema, director, actor, playwright and author was mourned not only by the film and theatre communities but also by the entire Pontelandolfo comunity. Within moments of the announcement of his passing, Pontelandolfesi from around the world paid homage to the man on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. Death notice condolences were ordered by individuals, families and community groups. These were posted throughout the village. Here is an example –

A titolo personale e a nome della  Redazione del sito  www. pontelandolfonews.com porgo sentite condoglianze alla Famiglia Gregoretti per la perdita del  caro amico e grande Maestro Ugo Gregoretti.

Renato Rinaldi

Ugo Gregoretti loved Pontelandolfo and Pontelandolfo loved him. As a boy, he spent his summers frolicking in the fields and piazzas of Pontelandolfo.

His father once owned the village’s medieval Tower. Saddened when his mother decided to sell the tower, he was often quoted as saying he wanted to set up a foundation for the property and open it to all.

In 2014, he donated his library to the town so that his personal and professional history could be preserved in the village he loved.  The collection of scripts, posters, film memorabilia and personal items is held in the newly renovated Piazza Rinaldi. The Ministry of Heritage, Cultural Activities and Tourism noted its importance.

Gregoretti also put his money where his heart was and developed Comicron, an international film festival that is produced in Pontelandolfo.

Comicron, devoted exclusively to one genre – comedy – is a unique experience in the International Festival scene.  The films are all shorts and most of the entrants are young filmmakers. Audiences come, watch and leave smiling.  Gregoretti’s famous actor and film making pals have also participated which insured that national press covered the event.

Gregoretti could often be seen in Pontelandolfo. He even came to the Club del Libro and entertained us with his tales and writing.

The mayor, members of the city council and citizens went to Rome to say goodbye. His wake was at the famous Casa del Cinema in Rome. On their website they noted:

Noi di Casa del Cinema, insieme a Luca Bergamo, Vicesindaco e Assessore alla Crescita Culturale, ai vertici di Zetema ma soprattutto insieme alla straordinaria platea degli appassionati di cinema, siamo adesso vicini a Orsetta, ai suoi fratelli, alla moglie Fausta, agli amici e compagni di mille avventure. Ciao Ugo, questa rimarrà casa tua.

He will be missed.

Ci vediamo.


LA? No, Pontelandolfo!

Get your fancy clothes out of storage! Force your feet into those sexy pumps.  It is almost time to prance down the red carpet at  Pontelandolfo’s International Film Festival – Comicron! 

This December 15th and 16th our little southern Italian village will be screening short comic films from all over the world. The glitterati will be there.  The press will be there.  Hell, Jack and I will be there.  Will your short comic film be there?

Producers of Short Comic Films – Enter ComicronToday!

Pontelandolfo, in cooperation with Centro Studi Ugo Gregoretti and Pontelandolfo’s Pro Loco presents the fifth edition of the Comic Short International Film Festival, Comicron. The project creator and artistic director is award winning film director and Honorary Pontelandolfo Citizen, Ugo Gregoretti.

Reaching out to handy dandy Wikipedia, I discovered a little of Gregoretti’s background –

Ugo Gregoretti is an Italian film, television and stage director, actor, screenwriter, author and television host. He has directed 20 films since 1956.  For RAI, Gregoretti worked as a documentarist and a director. In 1960 he won the Premio Italia Award for the television documentary La Sicilia del Gattopardo. In 1962 he made his film debut with the comedy-drama I nuovi angeli. Having directed both theatre and opera, he was president of the Turin Permanent Theatre from 1980 to 1989 and in 1995 he was nominated president of the Accademia Nazionale di Arte Drammatica Silvio D’Amico. In 2010 he was awarded with a special Lifetime Nastro d’Argentofor his career.

The location of the Festival in Pontelandolfo is not only indicative of the Gregoretti’s desire to create an alternative venue for this quirky art form, but also his commitment to the village where he summered as a child.  His family actually owned Pontelandolfo’s iconic tower.  Not only is he the driving force behind the Short Comic Film Festival, Gregoretti has also donated his personal archives to the town.  Centro Studi Ugo Gregoretti is an invaluable resource for film students.

2014 Festival – Ugo Gregoretti cuts the Red Carpet Ribbon.

 Comicron, devoted exclusively to one genre – comedy – is a unique experience in the International Festival scene.  Audiences come and leave the viewing areas smiling.  Seriously, this is not only a great experience for we giggling audience members but also for Indie Film makers with a comic flair.

So, now that you have the basics please spread the word to your artsy and funny film making pals.  Unlike other festivals this one is FREE to enter – it costs nada, nothing, niente.  The top prize is €500!  Think about it for only a nano-second and then forward the guidelines to your pals. (The website only translated the guidelines – hisss – but you can check out the pictures and let google translate play.  Also, they call the application area subscribe.  Strange, I know.  If you need help ask me.)

Registration Fee: Free

Deadline for applications: November 10, 2018

Festival dates: December 15 and 16, 2018

€500 Award – ComicronAward 2018 – Best Short Film


Ci vediamo sul tappeto rosso!


Nonna’s Mulberry Tree LLC is now accepting registrations for our May 2018 Cooking in the Kitchens of Pontelandolfo program.  




Festa Di San Donato — Comicron – Days 5 & 6


There I was, rifling through my tiny little notebook, looking for a clue as to what happened on day five of the festa. The seven day event filled party had addled my brain. Movie? 9:30 – what the hell did that mean.  I pulled up the Festa poster to read the list.  Cripes!  There are 8 – I counted – 8 days of late night events, drinks, etc.  No wonder I can’t remember.  Whack – it hit me – what did movie mean – just the biggest event to happen here – Comicron.  A two day film festival that drew entries from all over the world.  Note it was a TWO day even – so I only have to write one blog. The web site is slick – http://www.comicronfilmfestival.it – and states:

Il Comicron international short film festival nasce da un’idea di Ugo Gregoretti di creare un’inedita manifestazione dedicata esclusivamente ai cortometraggi comici. Un’esperienza in grado di scoprire nuovi talenti…

The Comicron international short film festival grew from the idea of Ugo Gregoretti to create an unprecedented event dedicated exclusively to comedy shorts.  An experience that allows us to discover new talent …


This festival and the drawing power of Artistic Director Maestro Ugo Gregoretti, attracted a huge well heeled audience  – including the red carpet crowd. They made the mistake of setting up the red carpet during the day – so that any old riff-raff could strut their stuff – like me!

Red Carpet? It must be out for me!

Slick, slick, slick. The roadies and volunteers were all dressed in red t-shirts, had communication equipment and moved about with purpose. High end ear buds could be seen on crew chiefs scurrying about with clip boards. Banners from the highway led you to the piazza.  The banners were a nice touch and perked up the streets.


We got there in plenty of time, sat on the red chairs and made sure I wasn’t sitting behind a tall person. The show was slated to start at 9:30 and being run by professionals so we knew curtain would be at 9:30.  Sitting there, I discovered that being on time was actually late.  The cutting of the ribbon and parade down the faux red carpet had started earlier – rats!!!

Maestro Gregoretti cuts the opening ribbon.             DEZPHOTO


Having the attention span of a gnat, I promptly started looking around – whoa flowers on the down stage edge.  That’s a nice touch and the screen is huge.  It was obvious that the A-team had done the setup, the stage was nicely dressed and lit.  Suddenly, I noticed that everyone was pointing to the front – must be someone famous – it is!  Sarah Maestri was here – she is an incredibly famous Italian film, television and radio star!!!!  She also just recently released a novel that has become a best seller.  Of course, I was here on time and didn’t get to meet her – ugggg.

Sarah Maestri and her daughter walking down the red carpet.    DEZPHOTO

Scared you – thought you wouldn’t see her face!  Don’t worry in the next photo we have Giorgio Arlorio, Sarah Maestri, Ugo Gregoretti and our own Sindaco Rinaldi.  H’mmmm I bet you are wondering who Giorgio Arlorio is – just an incredibly successful screenwriter with tons of film and television credits.


On the big screen, the asino – donkey of yesterday’s Pontelandolfo came to life and licked the screen revealing Comicron!  The wait for the show to start was broken by counting how many times they would repeat the mule action accompanied by some killer swing music. Then the graphic changed.  The music changed.  The lights changed.  I raced home and changed.


The producers of Comicron are in the film business so the film work and the digitized graphics was top shelf.  Media held our attention and signaled what was going on. You didn’t need a program because the art infused graphics let you know who was on stage and why.  The hosts, Laura Abbaleo and Rino Genovese were real pros and a welcome change from the creepy guy of the night before.  Unfortunately, they had to read an incredibly long list of sponsors but moved it rapidly.  Now those names should have been on an opening graphic and we could have read it while we were waiting.  I got just a tad antsy. The duo really impressed me when I realized they were verbally synching with images that were flashing behind them!

Two real pros! DEZPHOTO

They opened the show with a home town favorite, Ri Ualanegli Juonior, performing Gioca Dei Bambini.  Sadly, many in the audience left their seats after the little dancers performed.

Young Pontelandolfesi. DEZPHOTO
Young Pontelandolfesi.

Don’t you leave your seat – check out the dance.  I shot their concert in June and you’ll see Gioca Dei Bambini,  the traditional dance that everyone loves.  The opening is kids playing games – the dancing is a few seconds past that.


The folks that scurried out of their seats didn’t go far because the kids also performed at the very end of the night.   I was gone by then and really couldn’t grasp why you would have little kids stay up until 12:30 to be the finale of a film festival.  Oh, I get it – audience numbers.  I don’t think the programmers needed to do that.  The audience – like me – was there to see this international slate of short comic films.  The red carpet notables were another big draw.

Speaking of unnecessary fill – the night also featured additional live entertainment of of the well known professional variety. Next up, after the spirited young dancers was comic Antonio Riscetti.  I appreciated his political humor and the fact that he spoke slowly and beautifully enough for me to understand.

Comic at a Comic Film Festival makes sense! DEZPHOTO

Finally, we got to see the first set of three films. Then a singer came on who had starred in Notre Dame de Paris – It was already 11:00 ish we didn’t need another famous person we wanted to see the next set of films.  I was a bad girl and got up and walked around to get a drink.

Let’s talk about the movies. The professionalism of cinema, writing and editing varied. All were well done but some reminded me of silly student films – you know slap stick and stupid sophomoric ideas. I mean “Mafia University” – come on. I loved the well scripted and thought out Fulgenzia – Until A Name You Do Part.

The next night an additional six films were shown – sans a lot of the extra entertainment.

Young actress Giusy Mancini with famous comic Max Cavallari.  See - famous folks both nights! DEZPHOTO
Young actress Giusy Mancini with famous comic Max Cavallari. See – famous folks both nights!

They flowed on to the grand denouement – the announcement of the winners!

Two happy directors with their prizes.

The winning young director was Sydney Sibilia.   Lets keep our eyes and ears open for him!   To see all the winners visit the Comicron Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/comironfilmfestival/

Happy film watching.  I’m going to bed.

Festa – Night One!

Light and sound check as we were walking in at 9:30PM.
Light and sound check as we were walking in at 9:30PM.

Jack and I aren’t sure how many nights we can go out at 9:30 and get home at midnight – and that was early for festa. This morning I asked Marilina at Bar Elimar how much sleep she got – she opens at 7:30. She said they closed the bar at 3:30 AM and she got 1.5 hours of sleep. Whew – I remember when I could do that, but I think sometimes I had the help of little blue — oh never mind. So how was the first night your wondering?

When we got into the center of Pontelandolfo at 9:30 PM there were still lots of places to park. Hmmm, thats not so good. People were slowly arriving and the show was supposed to start at 9:30!  Of course as everyone tells me, this is Italy and nothing ever starts on time.

Need more chicks or ducks? Get them at the Festa!
Need more chicks or ducks? Get them at the Festa!
Diamonds, rubies and pearls – OH MY!

We walked through the small showing of bancarelle set up selling candy, panini, shoes – really – high end marked sneakers, probably knock offs, cleverly perched on the sidewalk –  jewelry, toys and I can’t remember. I felt there weren’t a lot and a betting there will be more on the weekend.

Then I spotted the most amazing ride – the swing to your death ride – set up in a rear piazza. I dragged Jack through the alley to get there just in time to watch the swings held on chains swinging out into space and teams of riders pushing each other to grab the “horses tail” that was hanging from a high perch. If you didn’t kill yourself by falling out trying you won a FREE ride!

Wheeeeeeeeee! Grab that tail! Safety belts????

Little tykes were practicing on the miniature version of the death swing. Then I noticed parents – OK DADS letting their little boys get on the large death swing!

Games of chance too!

We got to Piazza Roma and saw that the night’s show was set up. This was the sexiest set up I’ve ever seen here. Great sound system, projections – the screen could have been larger, there was even a grand piano on the stage. We saw my best buds, Carmella and Alda, at a table with a perfect view of the stage and headed over. First things first, lets get some wine and find out what is going on.


Alda’s cute daughter came running over, she had taken a picture at Bar Mix Fantasy with PIF an MTV star! Later Gabrielle ran over with his camera, he had a picture too! Wait, Annalaura just posted a picture of PIF with her!  Everyone was excited, I of course had no idea who PIF was or why he was here. So much for being current Auntie M.

PIF has a show on MTV and is a director. Annalaura needs to be cast in his next film!

Tonight’s show was titled VII edizione del Premio “Ugo Gregoretti – Landolfo d’Oro”.  No one I spoke to was quite sure what the night was about. Only that it had happened in other years.  I better do some research.  The stage was set with a grand piano stage right and two lovely golden upholstered chairs stage left – think talk show set.

We were all a bit hungry and it was now 10:15PM the show wasn’t starting so we looked at our food options. Apparently the pork panini truck had great roasted pork, the Mini Market was selling nice looking prosciutto panini for €1.

The pork stand.  Hmm we need to try this one night.
The pork stand. Hmm we need to try this one night.

Jack and Gennaro, Alda’s husband, said – “salsiccia!”  Since we were sitting at Bar Elimar it seemed right to buy their sausage panini, cooked to order on crispy hard rolls – €2.50.  Of course, one has to have a glass of Peroni Beer with that.  Jack announced the sausages were better than the ones we had at a festa in Casalduni the week before. Yeah for the home team!

Suddenly, music filled the square, a full orchestra was surrounding us. The sound system was top drawer because the sound was from the video. Shots of the iconic Pontelandolfo tower whirled into introductions of the notables who would tonight be awarded Landolfo d’Oro.  Yes I finally found out that it was a prestigious awards ceremony.

Beautiful red chairs were set up – real comfortable chairs, not the usual white plastic things Ii’ve seen here. This was a classy show.  The video was slick and well timed to the music. I realized that while I had been drinking and eating tons of people had showed up.  But why is this awards show happening here, in Pontelandolfo?  Time for the back story.

Ugo Gregoretti, the driving force behind the event, is an award winning Italian film, television and stage director, actor, screenwriter, author and television host.  His father once owned the iconic Pontelandolfo Tower and young Gregoretti spent his summers racing up the village’s green hills and has always had a special place in his heart for the Pontelandolfesi.  He was not happy when his mother decided to sell the tower.  According to one news report I found, he wanted to set up a foundation for the Tower so that the ancient portal could be open to all.  I wish he had – hey – it’s not too late.

He donated his personal library to the town so that his personal and professional history could be preserved in the village he loved.  Now, the library is closed – I wonder where this collection is?  I want to see it – Harriet the Spy is back in business.


The award ceremony, “Ugo Gregoretti – Landulf D’Oro”, is now the cultural kickoff the the summer season.  By bringing famous artists to Pontelandolfo and honoring them, Gregoretti is bringing the red carpet to our home town. This year’s honorees were art critic Achille Bonito Oliva, filmmaker and television writer Pif, the journalist Barbara Palombelli, the writer and the scriptwriter Giorgio Arlorio, and  author Giussepe Furno.


NTR 24 has great video!  Watch it and have good night – we’re getting ready for Festa – Night 2!