Comedy Triumphs at the Lavazza Drive-In Film Festival

The Comeback Trail and Okay! Madam Win the People’s Choice Award, and Alice Filippi Selected as Best Director

Jaime Camil wins the Best Actor Award for his hilarious performance in My Boyfriend’s Meds, and Toni Colette is the winner of Best Actress Award for her outstanding acting in Dream Horse. The Jury Prize was a tie: Canada’s Peace by Chocolate and Septet: The Story of Hong Kong.

TORONTO, Ontario – July 21, 2021 – Following twenty-two days of outstanding programming from across the world, the Lavazza Drive-In Film Festival, co-organized by ICFF and CHIN Radio/TV, and in partnership with Ontario Place, came to an end with the award ceremony where the Festival presented The Comeback Trail by George Gallo (the United States) and Okay! Madam by Lee Cheol-ha (South Korea) with the 2021 People’s Choice Award. Both films were received with immense enthusiasm from the audience and scored full votes on the HappyOrNot app with an exceptional rating of 100% on the happy index.

The winner of this year’s Best Director Award was the talented Italian director of Out of My League (Italy), Alice Filippi. She has elevated and pushed the boundaries of the terminal romance genre by bringing to screen a comedy-drama centered around a witty, bright, and self-aware young woman who is affected by Cystic fibrosis, but not afraid to risk it all to gain the attention of her crush.

Uplifting and amusing stories triumphed at the festival with feature films bringing to the screen daring and entertaining narratives representing over 16 countries. 


“When it came to selecting the films this year, we naturally took into consideration the current situation and we decided to present pictures that would not only highlight each country’s contemporary cinema but would also present a moment of escapism from our still uncertain reality,” said Cristiano de Florentiis, Co-Founder and Artistic Director, ICFF. “On the positive side, we were met with interest and excitement from the audience, eager to reconnect, enjoy cinema together, and share an unfeigned laugh with other equally passionate cinema-lovers.”

The Best Actor Award was presented to Jaime Camil for his hilarious performance in My Boyfriend’s Meds (Mexico). In the film, Jaime plays the character of Hank, a charming store owner affected by multiple mental illnesses who forgets all his medications at home while heading on vacation to meet his girlfriend’s family. Toni Colette was the winner of the Best Actress Award for her incredible performance in Dream Horse (the United Kingdom) in which she portrayed Jan Vokes, a bartender in a small Welsh town who decides to change up her life and invest in a racehorse.

This year’s exceptional slate of jurors included Liam Lacey, Karen Gordon, Jim Slotek, Marc Glassman, and Honorary President of the Jury, Sergio Navarretta. The Jury panel stood out for their accomplishments in the field and knowledge of international cinema and deliberated extensively before presenting the Lavazza Drive-In Jury Award to two films: Peace by Chocolate (Canada), directed by Jonathan Keijser, and Septet: The Story of Hong Kong (Hong Kong) directed by Patrick Tam, Ringo Lam, Ann Hui, Johnnie To, Yuen Woo-ping, Tsui Hark, and Sammo Hung.

“It was truly an honour to serve as this year’s President of the Jury for the second edition of the Lavazza Drive-In Film Festival,” said Sergio Navarretta, Honorary President of the Lavazza Drive-In Jury. “The selection of films was strong and it was a difficult decision to make. I am excited to announce that Septet, a series of seven shorts directed by legendary directors, and Peace by Chocolate by Canada’s very own Jonathan Keijser, are this year’s winners. The winners were selected based on cinematic excellence, theme, performance, and impactful storytelling.”

Hollywood director, screenwriter, and producer George Gallo (The Comeback Trail) was presented the ICFF Lifetime Achievement Award honoring his incredible contribution to the world of cinema over the past thirty years. The Festival also presented the ICFF Award of Excellence to Vincenzo Guzzo, Canadian entrepreneur, philanthropist, television personality, and President and CEO of Cinémas Guzzo; Moira Romano, Founder of ETV Film Inc. and Editor of myetvmedia.com; Deanna Marsigliese, Pixar Character Art Director, and; Enrico Casarosa, Director of Disney and Pixar’s Luca.

With its three-week initiative, and thanks to the steadfast support of the Italian Embassy in Ottawa, the Italian Consulate in Toronto, the Italian Consulate in Montreal, the Italian Institutes of Culture, the Festival was able to unite over twenty-two thousand people at Ontario Place in the safety of their cars. On top of this already unprecedented result for an event conducted during the pandemic recovery, the Festival also recorded staggering audience numbers at its Montréal initiatives and during its Canada-wide online program.

As the engines of the drive-in initiative turn off, the ICFF invites all film lovers to the new open-air program at Trillium Park, Ontario Place, from July 21st to August 1st. This open-air initiative is presented thanks to the partnership with Rogers Communications, ICFF Official Communication Partner, Christie Digital, and alongside its media partners OMNI Television and RAI Italia.

The outdoor festival will include ten days of cinema under the stars featuring exclusive screenings, special events, and insightful panel discussions accompanied by exquisite culinary experiences from Campari and Lavazza. Through this exceptional program, the ICFF is thrilled to bring back the most classic movie-going experience where people can reconnect with the community in a safe, glamorous, and physically distanced manner. 

About ICFF

The Italian Contemporary Film Festival, presented by Lavazza, is one of the most highly anticipated cultural events of the summer in Toronto and across Canada, with a loyal base of nearly 50,000 attendees per year. Established in 2012, it is one of the leading and most successful festivals of its kind, and the largest Italian film festival outside of Italy. Each year, ICFF screens dozens of films, including shorts and documentaries, in eight cities across the country, in Italian with English or French subtitles. But the ICFF is much more than simply a film festival… It is a unique exploration of Italian arts and culture. With special events highlighting the best of Italian food, wine, fashion, music, literature, architecture, and industry developments, ICFF is committed to celebrating Italian heritage, and bringing together artists and entrepreneurs from around the globe and connecting them with Canada’s diverse audience.

About the 2021 Festival Sponsors and Partners

As Presenting Sponsor of the ICFF, Lavazza, is committed to supporting the Festival and the art of filmmaking, bringing business and energy to Canada and offering festival patrons the opportunity to enjoy the best in storytelling through film. The Festival is promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Institutional partners are: the Italian Embassy in Ottawa, the Italian Consulate General in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, the Italian Institute of Culture in Toronto and Montreal, the Italian Trade Agency, and ANICA.

Leading partners are: the Italian Embassy in Ottawa, the Italian Consulate General in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, the Italian Institute of Culture in Toronto and Montreal, the Italian Trade Agency, and ANICA.

Major Partners are: TIFF, Musée des Beaux-Arts Montreal, SIRT, Cineplex Cinemas, Take 5 Production, George Brown, and Cinémathèque QC. Leading Sponsors are: Cityzen Dominus, NyDock – Floating Docks from Huntsville Muskoka Ontario, Castlepoint Numa, Empire Communities, Rio Mare, Great Gulf, Liuna, and our Official Communication partner, Rogers Communications. 

ICFF Media Partners are: RAI Italia, CHIN Radio/TV and OMNI Television. 

ICFF is funded by: the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and Ontario Creates. 

Premiere Sponsors are: Christie Digital, Campari, Eataly, Pizza Nova, Luxe Rentals, and Cecconi Simone.

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Linda Farha

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