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Still from Sister Italy
Still from Sister Italy
NYWIFT Member screening:
Sister Italy

Join us this month for a screening of Sister Italy!

The NYWIFT Member Screening Series provides members with the opportunity to show their work in a theatrical setting. The screening will be held at the Anthology Film Archives, followed by networking at a nearby bar. NYWIFT member Emelise Aleandri starred in this film and will be available for Q&A immediately following the screening, along with others from the project.

Sister Italy (screenplay by Angela Rago) is a heartfelt, hilarious, culinary escapade comedy that follows the fortunes of two Italian-American sisters, Italia (Emelise Aleandri) and Maria (Angela Rago), who are rival cooks. They clash in an intriguing cooking competition for a place in the affections, and last will and testament, of their rich, eccentric, aged aunt, Zia Concetta (Carolyn Rossi). The lively contest inevitably involves the families of the sisters, and causes a full-blown, typical Italian family feud that explodes into farcical emotional outbursts and appetizing gastronomic confrontations. The death of the aunt, whose will favors one sister over the other, only intensifies the conflict.

As the struggle rages on, we encounter a vivid assortment of charming and lovable characters who people the sisters' world: the confused local delivery boy (Mario Bosco), the flamboyant, philandering husband, Rocky (Luigi Scorcia), his voluptuous girlfriend (Christine Vienna), the old aunt's wily home attendant (Jodi Noble), her hungry boyfriend (Nick Raio), the tipsy contractor, the solicitous lawyer (Bob Agnoli), the beauty queen contestant, and a host of other fascinating and colorful relatives and neighbors. The Epicurean rivalry is resolved when the two sisters emerge from a journey of soul-searching and self-actualization that happily reunites both families in loving harmony and peace. Sister Italy presents a titillating slice of contemporary Italian-American family life, which is always full of passion and conflict, vibrant humor, delightful insights and delicious, incomparable food.

The cast of Sister Italy includes notable performers from the TV and film industry.

Angela Sciddurlo Rago
(Maria, screenplay) was born in Mola di Bari, Italy and since early childhood, devoted herself to art and the theatre. As a teenager, she frequently participated in productions of the “Filodrammatica Molese” theatre group as leading actress. In 1978 she emigrated to Brooklyn, and began writing for the theatre. Among her theatrical works, all produced in Brooklyn for the Italian-American community, are: Quel Tanto d’Altezza in Piu` (A Little More), Il Valore dei Soldi (The Value of Money), L’Onore nel Disonore (Honor In Dishonor), Chi ti Vuol Bene (Who Loves You) Piu` Grande (Bigger) and L’Amante Vedova (Widow and Mistress), in which she made her Off-Broadway debut. She made her film acting debut in the role of Shake’s mother in the blockbuster film Sleepers. She has also completed her first novel Yesterday’s Sky, soon to be published. Angela’s films, as well as her novel and plays, mirror the Italian-American world with its vivid assortment of lovable and fascinating characters.

Emelise Aleandri (Italia), has appeared in feature films, theatre and television productions. Emelise plays roles in Spike Lee’s films Summer of Sam, and Crooklyn, and the mother in the film Vito Bonafacci, and created the lead role of Eleonora Duse in the teleplay Of Penguins and Peacocks. She had Off-Broadway production roles in Sweatshop (American Theatre of Actors), Festa Primavera (La Mama ETC); and Italian Funerals and Other Festive Occasions (Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre). Hush the Musical, her adaptation of Etta Cascini’s comedy SHHHH!, with music by Charles Mandracchia, and in which she starred as Georgia, played several New York venues in 2011 and won the MidWinter Madness Festival Award. Emelise is Artistic Director of Frizzi & Lazzi the Olde Time Italian-American Music and Theatre Company. She has produced three documentaries: Teatro, Festa and Circo Rois. Dr. Aleandri created, co-produced and co-hosted the first regularly scheduled TV program about Italian-Americans, Italics: The Italian-American Magazine for CUNY-TV. She is a frequent guest in TV, film and radio as an expert on Italian culture, and on workplace abuse. She serves as President of Little Italy’s Lt. Joseph Petrosino Lodge #285 (OSIA).

Other featured players include Robert Agnoli (Mr. Leone, the Attorney). Born in New York City of immigrant parents, Bob was Co-producer of “Jazz ItaloAmericano” at B.B. King Blues Club. Also a writer, he serves on the Italian American Writers Association Board of Directors and is past President of the National Council of Columbia Associations in Civil Service.

Luigi Scorcia (Rocky), born in Brooklyn, is currently finishing a rapping video he directed and edited with rapper M.C. Tom P. He can be seen in We Own the Night with Joaquin Phoenix. His musical Babes and Flowers ran four months Off-Off Broadway. As a musician he has recorded with Bo Diddly and Johnny Thunders.

Nick Raio (Armando) has worked in local theatre, Vassar College films, interactive dinner theater and for Japanese TV. Nick has also written a play, Sheila and Angelo, and his own standup routine.

John T. La Barbera (musical score) is a composer-guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, who created film scores for the Academy Award Nominated feature documentary, Children of Fate, Sacco and Vanzetti, Pane Amaro, What's up Scarlet, Neapolitan Heart (Cuore Napolitano), La Festa and Tarantella. He was composer, arranger and musical director for several Off-Broadway productions including Souls of Naples, (Theater for a New Audience) starring John and Aida Turturro; and arranger for Liz Swados’ Missionaries (LaMaMa E.T.C.) and has composed several fully staged folk operas.

Born and raised on Long Island, Caroline Rossi found herself transported to Dallas, Texas in the 70s. 
She appeared in many of the Dallas-Fort Worth professional theaters, earning awards for her performances in Come Blow Your Horn and Angels In America.  Since returning to her home
state, New York, she has appeared in many regional theaters in the area, and on TV in The Sopranos, Law And Order, and As The World Turns. Film work includes: Once More With Feeling playing opposite Chazz Palminteri and Drea deMatteo.and most recently the role of Aunt Concetta in Sister Italy. Her international credits include leading roles with the Tokyo International Players and dubbing for major Italian film stars in Rome, Italy. 

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events 
are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of 
Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York 
State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and 
the New York State Legislature.