Prominent Italian producer Aurelio De Laurentiis has teamed up with the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) to establish a film production grant program supporting aspiring filmmakers with compelling stories to tell about Italian and Italian American experiences.
De Laurentiis, who is the nephew of the late great movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis and a mogul in his own right — his Filmauro banner has released more than 400 movies — has long been supporting young filmmakers by financing the Venice Film Festival’s $100,000 “Luigi De Laurentiis” award for best first work.
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The nascent NIAF/De Laurentiis Film Prizes will award a $10,000 grant this year to five selected applicants toward producing a short film project in any genre, including documentaries. The best project will be awarded an additional $10,000, plus a mentorship directly with De Laurentiis and his Filmauro team.
The five award-winning films will premiere at the NIAF 50th anniversary gala in Washington, D.C. in October 2025. The best overall film will be announced during the Washington gala dinner.
“We are thrilled to partner with acclaimed producer and NIAF board member Aurelio De Laurentiis to foster new creative work,” said NIAF Chairman Robert E. Carlucci in a statement. “These prizes will showcase Italian and Italian American stories while nurturing young talent.”
Commented De Laurentiis: “As a lifelong film producer, supporting the next generation of filmmakers is my passion. I look forward to seeing the fantastic submissions these prizes will uncover.”
The film prizes program is open to all aspiring filmmakers from around the world of any nationality and age. It is not limited to film students.
Applications for the 2024 NIAF/De Laurentiis Film Prizes are open through March 1.
In 2004, De Laurentiis branched out into sports by purchasing the Napoli soccer club, which last year won the Italian Serie A league title. In December, he celebrated the 40-year anniversary of his lucrative Italian Christmas comedies franchise by briefly re-releasing its first film “Vacanze di Natale” (“Christmas Holiday”). The most recent Filmauro production is the series “Vita Da Carlo,” featuring popular Italian comic Carlo Verdone, which plays on Paramount+.
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