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The 15th Annual Little Italy Film Festival Begins With ‘Moonstruck’

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Ron Matz is an Emmy award-winning reporter who joined the Eyewitness...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— It may be hot but that won’t stop a lot of people from taking in a movie Friday night outside. The 15th Annual Little Italy Film Festival gets underway.

Ron Matz reports movie goers will get to see something new this summer.

When the sun goes down, the no parking signs go up.

“I’m ready for the festival. It’s going to be a hot night, but it’s going to be fun,” said Ray Lancelotta.

The big screen is ready. It’s time for the Little Italy Film Festival.

“You’ll have a wonderful experience. You’re going to watch films under the stars. People get here as early as five o’clock to set their chairs out to get a good spot,” said Mary Ann Cricchio, owner of Da Mimmo Restaurant.

Lancelotta has the best spot of all. He lives in the same house where his uncle John Pente lived until his death. The projector is still in the third floor bedroom.

“I like it. I’ve been down here before when Uncle John had the place. That’s one of the reasons I want to keep it up,” Lancelotta said.

As always, “Moonstruck” kicks off the nine-week series and “Cinema Paradiso” will end it.

“The film starts at nine, and you would be surprised as a hush falls over the crowd. No one stirs for two hours. Then it’s 11 o’clock and it’s all done, and we do it again next Friday and every Friday night in July and August,” Cricchio said.

Vaccaro’s will serve up great cookies and their Italian iced tea.

“It’s great for the community. Everybody comes out. We sit together and watch the movie. We have a great time. It’s been a long run and we don’t want to stop,” said Maria Vaccaro, Vaccaro’s.

One week from Friday night and for the first time ever, the festival will show the 1972 classic “The Godfather.”

“I think it’s good for the neighborhood and good for the businesses who were so kind to sponsor this, so it’s nice,”  Lancelotta said.

Movies and Little Italy is a Baltimore tradition.

“Mario Palumbo from Omni One Productions is here this year. People dance and sing. They enjoy food. The restaurants will offer film friendly menus tonight. That means easy carry-out things. The sponsoring restaurants are Vaccaro’s, Chiapparelli’s, Da Mimmo, Cafe Gia and Sabatino’s,” Cricchio said.

Live entertainment starts at 7 p.m. followed by the movie at 9 p.m. Colombo Bank provides free popcorn. The festival continues every Friday night during July and August.

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