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The Italian Contemporary Film Festival offers up a diverse selection of cinema

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So many festivals, so damn little time to genuinely appreciate them all as this is one of those rare weekends where multiple festivals are running concurrently with one another. One that has peaked my interest this year is the Italian Contemporary Film Festival that is kicking off today and running until June 20th at a variety of different venues across our fair city.

Taking place during Italian Heritage Month, the ICFF now launching its 3rd edition, not only in Toronto but in Montreal, Vaughan and Hamilton as well and is an important showcase that brings together cinema that highlights the best of Italian heritage from all over the globe and screenings will try to bring together the best of both worlds with Q&A's, celebrities and social events that will attempt to bring the community together as a diverse selection of shorts and feature films (many of which are having their North American debut) get screened for our viewing pleasure.

I took the liberty of diving into a couple of selections to recommend from a lineup that is substantially stronger than one might initially suspect going into this 9 day event.

From writer/director Giuseppe Tornatore, la migliore offerta "The Best Offer" is the festival's opening night selection that screens tonight at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in a sold out event as well as on June 19th at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema at 9:15 PM. Starring Geoffrey Rush, Jim Sturgess and Canada's own Donald Sutherland.

It's the story of Virgil Oldman (Geoffrey Rush), managing director of a leading auction house, has collected hundreds of masterful, priceless portraits of women that he keeps hidden in his villa. One day, Oldman receives a special assignment: a mysterious young woman, who refuses to appear in person, asks him to sell her family's antiques. Not only interested in her classical paintings and furniture, Oldman becomes increasingly fascinated by the mysterious incognito woman, leading to a sumptuous and entertaining mystery of passions, neuroses and intrigue.

Film fans best know Tornatore from movies like "Cinema Paradiso" and "Malena" that are sumptuous romantic tales, here he adds some suspense to the mix and while it isn't always perfect it is more than worth a look as it is a quality start to a film festival.

"2047: Sights of Death" screens on June 13th at the TIFF Bell Lightbox here in downtown Toronto and it has a loaded cast of action movie veterans that shows how genre filmmaking just isn't for North American filmmakers.

Set in 2047 (duh) as the CCG (Confederate Central Government) rule the planet with an iron fist, the GWO (Green War Organization) are a group of rebels bent on exposing the corrupt military arm of the CCG as rebel agents, mercenaries and even mutants wage war for the sake of the survival of the planet and the human race.

I did not get to pre screen this, but with a cast that includes Rutger Hauer, Danny Glover, Darryl Hannah, Michael Madsen and Stephen Baldwin (who will be in attendance at the screening) in a post apocalyptic wasteland...you'd have trouble keeping me away.

This is just a taste of what is screening during the festivals 9 day run, for more info on movies, ticket prices & availability and any more details you'd like to know about the festival, you can visit their website right here.

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