Maria & Tommaso Maglione

Italian Filmmaker Award

Best In Italian Cinema

Established in 2008, the Maria and Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award recognizes the best in Italian cinema. Recipients of the Italian Filmmaker Award are selected after rigorous committee review under the leadership of Anna Maglione Sie, the Award’s founder, and Ron Henderson, co-founder of the Denver Film Society. The Award is open to any film that celebrates Italian culture and all filmmakers – from directors to actors – from all nationalities. 

Each year, the Italian Filmmaker Award recipient is honored at the Denver Film Festival with a screening of the selected film and an honorarium of $10,000. The Italian Filmmaker Award is supported thanks to a generous endowment from the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation and named in honor of Anna’s parents, Maria and Tommaso Maglione.


Maria and Tommaso Maglione

Maria and Tommaso grew up in the small town of Airola in the province of Benevento, Italy. They met, fell in love, married and brought up their six children including Anna Maglione. Maria had a lovely singing voice, was renowned for the delicious pastries she made for the family bar and was beautiful inside and out. Tommaso was a dashing trombone player and later became a fruit merchant.

Tommaso wanted a better life for his family, so in 1955 he decided to sail to America with Anna and two of her brothers. Three years later, Anna’s mother and two younger brothers joined them in New Jersey. There, Anna met an up-and-coming entrepreneur and Chinese immigrant, John J. Sie. They fell in love, married, raised five children together and spent most of their working lives in the film industry, eventually launching the Starz and Encore movie channels.

After retirement, Anna donated the first endowed gift to the Denver Film Society to establish the Maria and Tommaso Maglione Italian Filmmaker Award.


Past Award Recipients

Carolina Cavalli


Carolina Cavalli was born in Milan. In 2017, she was the recipient of the San Francisco Film Society Kenneth Rainin Foundation Filmmaking Grants. In 2018, Cavalli won the Italian screenwriting award Premio Solinas. Her debut feature Amanda premiered in September 2022 at the 79th Venice International Film Festival and internationally at the 47th Toronto International Film Festival. Amanda received 3 nominations for the Italian David di Donatello and was nominated for 2 Nastri d’Argento awards. Cavalli co-wrote the film Fremont along with the Iranian film director and producer, Babak Jalali. Fremont premiered in January 2023 at the Sundance Film Festival. In November 2022, her first novel, Metropolitania was published by Fandango Libri.

Mario Martone


Mario Martone is a director from Italy who is known for his film The King of Laughter. The film stars Toni Servillo as the comic theater legend Eduardo Scarpetta, for which Servillo won Best Actor at the 2021 Venice Film Festival. The film also won Silver Ribbons for Best Screenplay and Best Director from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists. Martone’s new film, Nostalgia, is Italy’s official submission for Best International Feature Film for the 2023 Academy Awards.

Stefano Cipani


Stefano Cipani is a director and writer from Italy, best known for his films My Brother Chases Dinosaurs, Shine Bright, and A Pill for David Friktenstein. Cipani’s latest film, MMY BROTHER CHASES DINOSAURS, screened at the Venice Film Festival and Denver Film Festival, featuring a strong Italian and Spanish cast.

Stefano Mordini


Over his 28-year career, Stefano Mordini has distinguished himself as a writer, producer, editor, and director of versatile talent. Mordini’s diverse slate of documentary, short, and feature films have premiered at film festivals around the world, most notably at Venice and Berlin. Mordini’s incisive documentaries, such as Il Confine and Like My Father, have garnered critical acclaim, and his fresh approach to the thriller genre in The Invisible Witness is already attracting attention.

Francesco Falaschi

Francesco Falaschi


Francesco Falaschi is an Italian film director and screenwriter. He won the David di Donatello for Best Short Film for Quasi fratelli in 1999. He was nominated for a David di Donatello and a Silver Ribbon for Best New Director in 2003 for his first film I Am Emma.

Nanni Moretti


Nanni Moretti was born on the 19th of August, 1953. He lives in Rome, where since he was a kid he devotes himself to his two passions: cinema and water-polo. In 1970 he also played in water-polo first division in Italy, and in the junior National team. In those years he was also very committed in politics, within the extra-parliament left wing..

Roberto Andò



Born in Palermo, Andò debuted as assistant director, working with Francis Ford Coppola, Federico Fellini, Michael Cimino and Francesco Rosi, among others. In 1986 he debuted on stage directing La foresta-radice- labirinto, a puppet theater work based on an Italo Calvino’s original story and with puppets drawn by Renato Guttuso. After several documentary films, Andò made his feature debut film in 2000, with Il manoscritto del Principe, produced by Giuseppe Tornatore. His debut novel, Il trono vuoto, won the Campiello prize for best first work; from the novel he derived the film Viva la libertà, with whom he won the David di Donatello for Best Script and the Nastro d’Argento for Best Screenplay.

Paolo Sorrentino


Paolo Sorrentino was born on May 31, 1970 in Naples, Campania, Italy. He is a writer and director, known for Youth (2015), The Great Beauty (2013) and This Must Be the Place (2011). He is married to Daniela D’Antonio. They have two children.

Paolo & Vittorio Taviani


The Taviani brothers studied law at the University of Pisa, becoming interested in the cinema after seeing Roberto Rossellini’s Paisan (1946). After writing and directing short films and plays, they made their first feature in 1962. The brothers have continued to work together ever since, with each directing alternate scenes with the other watching but never interfering.

Massimo Natale


His film takes place in the summer of 1980 in Brindisi, Italy. Martino is a young man whose father isn’t giving him enough attention. His older brother and his friends, including Silvia, a young northern Italian who spends her holidays in the south of the country and has a romance with Martino. Young people tend to enter an American military base north, and Martino ends up finding a US military officer, a good friend who teaches him how to surf.

Gianni di Gregorio


Gianni Di Gregorio was born on February 19, 1949 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Giovanni Di Gregorio. He is a writer and actor, known for Gomorrah (2008), Mid-August Lunch (2008), and Citizens of the World (2019).

Federico Bondi


His film Mar Nero is about an elderly widow Gemma hires a young Romanian woman, Anna, to help her around the house. Although at first Gemma is hard on her, the two become friends and eventually set out to solve the mystery of Anna’s husband’s disappearance.

Denver Film