The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum Announces 2017 Grant Finalists


Danielle DeSimone
National Italian American Foundation

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 19, 2017) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) and the Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA) are excited to announce the 2017 grant finalists for The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum. Spearheaded by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, the Film Forum is an initiative to fund films depicting and exploring the Italian American experience for the benefit of future generations.

“Our selection committee was very impressed with both the choice of subject matter, and the quality of the films submitted by the grant recipients,” said Basil M. Russo, ISDA President.

The three finalists listed below were selected to receive $7,500 each to fund their film projects. The selection committee believes each of them presents a specific vision for the exploration of truly interesting and dynamic themes.  All three films will be screened during NIAF’s 42nd Anniversary Gala Weekend, November 4 at 1 p.m., and the winning film will be announced during the Gala Awards Dinner on November 4.

The 2017 finalists are:

Roberto Angotti, a Film Studies major at Claremont McKenna College, whose documentary film “The Italian American Baseball Family” relates how Italian Americans assimilated into popular culture through America’s favorite pastime.

Kirsten Keppel, a videographer of the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society in Washington D.C., whose documentary film explores “The St. Joseph’s Day Table” and its significance in Italian and Italian American culture.

Margaret Sclafani, an Anthropology major at Bryn Mawr College/Haverford College, whose documentary film will examine the relevance of street and religious festivals in Italian American communities through the formation and subsequent demolishment of New York City’s Our Lady of Loreto Church.

Congratulations to all! NIAF and ISDA look forward to presenting these screenings during NIAF’s 42nd Anniversary Gala Weekend, a special three-day event of Italian American pride at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. For more information about the weekend, please visit

For more information on The Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum, please visit


The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving, promoting and protecting the Italian American heritage and culture. Based in Washington, D.C., it is the major advocate for nearly 25 million Italian Americans, the nation’s fifth largest ethnic group. To learn more about the Foundation and become a member, please visit


For 87 years, the Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA) has kept a strong sense of community alive and thriving to become one of the largest and most financially successful Italian American organizations in the country. The ISDA unites Italian Americans across states nationwide to celebrate our culture and preserve the traditions our ancestors brought with them from Italy. To learn more about the ISDA and become a member, please visit