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. Past recipients include Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, director and screenwriter of Caesar Must Die and Paolo Sorrentino, director, and writer of La grande bellezza.
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 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.