By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 25, 2018 at 9:02 AM

For the 12th straight year, the Milwaukee Italian Film Festival returns, bringing a slew of great films – most of which wouldn’t likely otherwise screen in Brew City – and, as always, it’s free and open to all.

This year’s event, slated for April 27-29 at UW-Milwaukee’s Union Cinema and co-sponsored by the Department of French, Italian and Comparative Literature at UWM, takes inspiration from the Italian Ministries of Culture and Agriculture declaration of 2018 as the "Year of Italian Food."

Two of the eight films celebrate Italian wine and cuisine. Those films are "The Last Prosecco" and "Cucinì" – which makes its U.S. premiere – respectively.

All of the films are screening in Milwaukee for the first time ever – but maybe not the last, as occasionally, films from the event make their way to the Milwaukee Film Festival, too.

"We are so pleased to again offer Milwaukee a weekend of outstanding films," said Simonetta Milli Konewko, chair of the local committee that screens and selects the films. "Our committee worked hard to select a variety of films in drama, comedy and documentary."

All films are in Italian with English subtitles.

Here is the complete schedule, with descriptions provided by festival organizers:

Friday, April 27, 7 p.m.: "THE LAST PROSECCO" "FINCHE C’E’ PROCESSO" (Director, Antonio Padovan, drama, 2017, 101 minutes.) This mystery unfolds in the rolling hills of the Veneto region where Prosecco grapes are grown. It’s a thriller that highlights the conflict between greed and respect for the land.

Friday, April 27, 9:15 p.m.: "EARS" "ORECCHIE" (Director, Alessandro Aronadio, comedy, 2016, 90 minutes) A man wakes up one morning with an annoying ringing sound in his ears. This is just the beginning of a tragicomic day during which he will be plunged into the folly of the world.

Saturday, April 28, 5 p.m.: "SEA DREAMING GIRLS" "FUNNE" (Director, Katia Bernardi, documentary, 2016, 78 minutes) A group of 80-year-old "girls" dream of seeing the sea, and raise money in various ways to meet their goal.

Saturday, April 28, 7 p.m.: "FRIENDS BY CHANCE" "TUTTO QUELLO CHE VUOI). (Director, Francesco Bruni, drama/comedy, 2017, 106 minutes) Alessandro, 22, takes a job as the walking companion for Giorgio, 85, and an unlikely bond develops.

Saturday, April 28, 9:15 p.m.: "EASY" (Director, Andrea Magnani, comedy, 2917, 91 minutes) Isidoro, aka Easy, is conned into driving a coffin containing the body of a Ukrainian bricklayer from Italy to the Ukraine. He might go by the nickname "Easy," but for him, unfortunately, nothing is.

Sunday, April 29, 3:15 p.m.: "CUCINÌ" (Director, Ciro Fabbricino, documentary, 2017, 54 minutes) A journey into the flavors, smells and colors of the Neapolitan gastronomic traditions through the eyes and memory of five Neapolitan chefs.

Sunday, April 29, 5 p.m.: "IT’S THE LAW" "L’ORA LEGALE" (Directors, Salvatore Ficarra, Valentino Picone, comedy, 2017, 92 minutes) For elections in a small Sicilian village the crooked mayor is ready to use all deceptions to win again. His opponent is a honest professor. And the citizens ready for a change?

Sunday, April 29, 7 p.m.: "THE ORDER OF THINGS" "L’ORDINE DELLE COSE" (Director, Andrea Segre, drama, 112 minutes) An agent for the Italian Ministry of the Interior, specialized in international missions against illegal immigration meets a young Somali woman who is trying to escape to Europe.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.