By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It’s one of Baltimore’s most popular summertime events. And right now preparations are underway for the annual Little Italy Film Festival.

Ron Matz reports on a new twist this year and how you can select some of this year’s movies.

As always “Moonstruck” will open the Little Italy Film Festival, but this year you can help choose some of the other movies.

“Over the first 14 years it was a group of restaurant owners who normally picked the titles, but as we were out there every Friday night working the film festival the public would come up and start giving us suggestions, so we thought we would open it up to the public completely and let them submit the title they would want to see,” said Mary Ann Cricchio, Little Italy Film Festival.

So now online and at Vaccaro’s, you can pick what you’d like to see. Customers are having fun putting their favorite titles in the bucket.

“They love to do it. It’s like they’re getting picked for something because it’s their suggestion. A lot of people are asking for ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Letters from Juliet,’” said Maria Vaccaro, Vaccaro’s Pastry Shop.

This year for the first time and after many requests, the festival will show “The Godfather.”

“Over the years we have had overwhelming requests for ‘The Godfather,’ but we never wanted to show it because it’s rated R,” Cricchio said. “But through Swank Productions in New York you can get a toned down version of ‘The Godfather.’ We are planning to show it the second week of the festival. We’ll publicize it many weeks before so people will know ‘The Godfather’ is coming up.”

“Through the promotion center web site and a suggestion jar we have at Vaccaro’s Pastry Shop the folks come and put their titles in and the titles that get the most votes we’ll choose those films,” Cricchio said.

Family friendly and Italian themed films are preferred.

“The guidelines are family friendly films because we show them out in public. Something PG or PG 13 but because it’s the Little Italy Film Festival we’d like a film that is Italian themed, maybe filmed in Italy or has Italian actors or actresses,” Cricchio said.

Cricchio says the first film is always “Moonstruck,” and the last film is always “Cinema Paradiso.” This Baltimore tradition is now in its 15th year.

“The film festival is important to the neighborhood. It brings people together. There’s a lot of camaraderie. People come out, talk to each other, they have something to eat. It’s great,” Vaccaro said.

The festival opens Friday night, July 6. You can make your movie suggestions until June 1. For more information, click here.

Comments (2)
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