Hot on the heels of the recently-wrapped Sundance London Film and Music Festival comes another US film festival transplanted to Europe. IMG Artists and Tribeca Enterprises today unveiled Tribeca Firenze, a collaboration that will bring film premieres – and Tony Bennett – to the Tuscan Sun Festival in Florence, Italy next month. Below is a press release detailing the event:


New York, NY and Florence, Italy (7 May 2012) – IMG Artists (IMGA), the global leader in the performing arts and lifestyle events management, and Tribeca Enterprises (TE), the parent company of the Tribeca Film Festival founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in lower Manhattan in 2002, announced today Tribeca Firenze, which will bring world-class film premieres to the widely-anticipated Tuscan Sun Festival in Florence, Italy 11-18 June, founded by IMGA’s Barrett Wissman in 2003. Legendary performer and 17-time Grammy winner Tony Bennett is the first major celebrity to confirm participation in Tribeca Firenze.

Tribeca Firenze joins a stunning lineup of performing artists and celebrities, food, wine, and cultural and historical exhibitions at what the UK’s The Independent newspaper described as ‘one of the ten best festivals in Europe’. The Tuscan Sun Festival and its film initiative Tribeca Firenze are made possible through the principal support of the Ente Cassa di Risparmio of Florence, are being organized under the patronage of Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi and the City of Florence, and in partnership with the Fondazione Teatro della Pergola, the New Theater of the Maggio Musicale of Florence, the Odeon Cinema, and the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi. Gucci, the renowned Italian fashion house with strong ties to the City of Florence, will partner with the Tuscan Sun Festival as one of the lead sponsors of the festival.

Tribeca Firenze will feature an extraordinary selection of films screened over five days, handpicked by Tribeca to complement the Tuscan Sun Festival’s broad palette of cultural offerings, bridging other art forms such as music and theater. Tribeca Firenze will present an international film panorama.

Among the films to be screened, Tribeca Firenze will present the European premiere of the film The Zen of Bennett, with Tony Bennett and his son Danny Bennett, who created and conceived the film, introducing the film. Filmed by Academy Award-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe, the documentary employs a voyeuristic approach while illustrating the isolation experienced by the artist in the midst of the recording sessions for his #1 album Duets II.  Illustrating Bennett’s creative process are appearances by John Mayer, Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé and most poignantly, the late Amy Winehouse, all of whom recorded duets with the singer. The Zen of Bennett takes the viewer to a variety of locales including Los Angeles, Nashville, London, Italy – including a visit to Bennett’s ancestral home in Padagoni, Italy, as well as his home and art studio in New York City.

Mr. Bennett will also be giving a special performance on 18 June at the Teatro della Pergola as part of the Festival’s 24 Hour Plays project. He will choose four songs that will become the inspiration for the four plays that will be written, rehearsed and performed within a period of 24 hours, and will perform each song before the play that it has inspired. The full schedule of films will be announced over the next few weeks leading up to the festival. The Tribeca Firenze screenings will be held at Florence’s Odeon Cinema, one of Italy’s most elegant and historic art nouveau cinema-theatres located in the Palazzo Strozzino, originally built in 1462 during the height of the Renaissance.

“I’ve known Bob De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff for years, and I’m so thrilled that one of my first projects at IMGA will be to work closely with them on launching this fabulous new relationship with Tribeca. We’ve connected two organizations that strive to promote and sustain the arts.  Tribeca has a film-lover’s eye for finding and promoting the world’s best movies, so their contribution to the Tuscan Sun Festival will be immediate and lasting,” said Jerry Inzerillo, IMGA President and CEO.

“Tribeca’s mission is to provide filmmakers with audiences who are passionate about film, to make independent film accessible to a broad international community, and to move people with the power of cinema. These ideas are at the heart of our partnership with IMGA and the Tuscan Sun Festival,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises.

The Tuscan Sun Festival, presented by the Associazione Culturale del Sole and produced by IMG Artists and its strategic visionaries Barrett Wissman and Alexander Shustorovich, is expanding its horizons by holding the festival for the first time in its new home of Florence, the capital of Tuscany and the jewel of the Italian Renaissance. In addition to Tribeca Firenze, the Festival will also include an expansive program of events, concerts, live theatre and culinary adventures, including John Malkovich selecting and presenting some of his best films, and performing as an actor and narrator in a special performance combining music, theatre and projections at the Teatro della Pergola on 17 June.

“The Tuscan Sun Festival has been a labor of love for me and IMGA.  The Festival is at its core a platform for the world’s greatest artistic talent and a celebration of the arts.  The Tribeca Firenze film program is a natural extension of the Tuscan Sun Festival and will also reflect the quality it has come to represent. Alexander and I are excited to help launch this new offering and look forward to stars such as Tony Bennett and John Malkovich joining us in Florence and sharing their artistry at our Festival,” said Barrett Wissman, IMGA Partner and Tuscan Sun Festival Founder and Director.