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Behind the Westchester Italian Film Festival Opening Night Film with Director Will Nunziata

by admin

One of the joys of being an independent theater is the opportunity to showcase work made by local filmmakers. At the Westchester Italian Film Festival, happening the weekend of April 21–23, we’re thrilled to have Pelham native Will Nunziata and his film, The Old Guitarist, for opening night. As part of the festivities, Will is also presenting The Picture House Lifetime Achievement Award to his friend, actor Dominic Chianese.

Will, Pelham Memorial High School Class of 2002, had a few words to share in lead up to the film festival:

I am honored that The Picture House will be featuring my first short film as part of the Westchester Italian Film Festival. I remember growing up in Pelham Manor and often going to The Picture House Pelham on weekends, and to think that my film will be played as part of this festival at The Picture House is a wonderful ‘full circle’ moment. I am also so proud of my friend Dominic Chianese for being honored with The Picture House Lifetime Achievement Award.

I have known Dominic for over 25 years, and to finally work with him on a set was one of the best creative experiences of my career. How this film and Dominic starring in it came about all began in January 2022 when I had a dream about Dominic as the man in Pablo Picasso’s painting ‘The Old Guitarist’. And in my dream the man in the painting was remembering the day he chose his music over the love of his life. I saw it all so clearly.

A month went by, and I still couldn’t get the image out of my head; I thought it would make such a beautiful short film with Dominic and the other actors’ performances showcasing the writing of the film.

Fast forward to the end of February 2022, and I was walking the streets of New York and who do I see sitting outside of an Italian restaurant on Madison Avenue? Dominic! I hadn’t seen him in five years, and there he was. I ran up to him, gave him a hug, and immediately told him about this idea. He said he was heading back to London (where he currently lives), but that we should film it when he comes back to the city in June 2022. So we did… and it was magical!

Pelham native, Will Nunziata (award-winning creator and director of theatre, television, and film) has written and directed a short film starring his long-time friend Dominic Chianese (The Sopranos, The Godfather Part II), titled The Old Guitarist. The film is inspired by the Pablo Picasso painting of the same name and will be a part of the 2023 Westchester Italian Film Festival taking place on April 21-23, 2023. Dominic Chianese will be receiving The Picture House Lifetime Achievement Award and will be accepting the award from his home in London.

The Old Guitarist had its world premiere screening at the New York Shorts International Film Festival in October 2022. The film and Will as writer/director have garnered recognition (as of March 2023) from the London Movie Awards, Gold Movie Awards, Corsenal International Film Festival, Garden State Film Festival, New York Best Actor & Director Awards, Rome Prisma Film Awards, Heart International Film Festival, Indie Short Fest, Paris International Short Festival, Florida Shorts, and South London Film Festival. Dominic won Best Actor in a Short Film and Will won Best Director of a Short Film at the 2023 Venus International Film Festival. For more on Will Nunziata and The Old Guitarist, please visit

Learn more about the films screening as part of the Westchester Italian Film Festival, and purchase tickets here.