8th Annual Filming Italy Los Angeles Festival big success #Italy #film #festival

Filming Italy honored beloved Oscar-nominated star Giancarlo Giannini at the 8th Annual Filming Italy Los Angeles Festival, held March 1-3, 2023. My client, Actor Aaron Anastasi, was in attendance. 

Tiziana Rocca, CEO of Filming Italy held the 8th edition of Filming Italy Los Angeles Festival on March 1, 2023 with a red carpet evening gala at the Harmony Gold Theater, honoring Oscar-nominated Giancarlo Giannini with the Lifetime Achievement Award during closing night lineup on March 3rd. Giancarlo is also slated to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 6th. 

Filming Italy Los Angeles was created and organized by Tiziana Rocca, Agnus Dei, and the Italian Cultural Institute Los Angeles under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage "MiC", auspices of the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles and in collaboration with APA - Audiovisual Producers Association.

Honorary president of the festival is double Oscar-winning Nick Vallelonga (Green Book) with additional stars including Patricia Arquette, Danny Huston, and others. “For the eighth year in a row, we are honored to further fuel this partnership,” says Lucia Borgonzoni, Italian Undersecretary of Culture about Filming Italy Los Angeles.

During the festival, Italian actress Matilda De Angelis received the Women Power Award/Best Movie Award; Italian singer Nina Zilli, the PERFORMANCE - Music Award; Tom Ellis was honored with the Best Actor Award shared with actor Tomas Arana; screenwriter Tembi Locke won this year’s Creativity Award; and young actress/model Nida Khurshid was highlighted with the Spotlight Award launching the opening night tributes.

Filming Italy Los Angeles’ Friday March 3rd  Closing Night ceremonies were dedicated to Giancarlo Giannini and actor Dolph Lundgren, actor Salvatore EspositoJeremy Piven, Matilda De Angelis and Nina Zilli showed up as well.

The opening night also featured the Industry Panel: WOMEN IN ENTERTAINMENT: HOW FAR WE HAVE GOTTEN  and celebrity guests and honorees listed below. 


  • Matilda De Angelis - Filming Italy Best Movie Award, Filming Italy Women Power Award
  • Margherita Mazzucco - Filming Italy Los Angeles International Award
  • Chiara Tilesi, producer
  • Sandra Stern (President Lionsgate TV)
  • Sabrina Impacciatore, actress
  • Matilda De Angelis, talented Italian actress
  • Nina Zilli, great Italian singer - PERFORMANCE - Filming Italy Los Angeles Music Award
  • Tom Ellis, actor  -  Filming Italy Los Angeles Best Actor Award
  • Tomas Arana, actor 
  • Tembi Locke, screenwriter  -  Filming Italy Los Angeles Creativity Award
  • Nida Khurshid, young actress, and model -  Filming Italy Los Angeles Spotlight Award
  • Caterina Scorsone, actress Filming Italy Los Angeles International Award
  • Michael Madsen, actorFilming Italy Los Angeles Lifetime Achievement

For pictures from the event, please click here.

Pre-Oscar Gifting Suites recap - Luxury Experience & Co at Valerie's Part 1

By Joy A. Kennelly

No matter how times change, some things will always remain the same. By this, I'm referring to Pre-Oscar Gifting Suites. All the stars and wannabe stars flock to these like they've never received a gift in their life, or else that's just my impression having been to so many over the years, but seriously, they're the one time all of Hollywood mixes for a daytime party. Free gifts. Fun People. Glamour. Photos. Networking. An Oscar pre-party.

What's not to love?

I enjoyed attending two very different types of gifting suites during this past weekend. One that's been around for years and one that was new and both were unique and special in their own ways. 

Luxury Experience & Co and Valerie Beverly Hills presented a luxury gifting lounge honoring nominees and presenters during Oscars Weekend at the exclusive Valerie Beverly Hills located in the “Golden Triangle” in the heart of Beverly Hills, California. With quality and luxury in mind, LE & Co gifted celebrities an unparalleled level of style and sophistication in beauty, health, home, travel and wellness.

"Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" actor Kirk Bovill, Selling Sunset star Amanza Smith, "Dollface" actor Gilles Marini, Amber Friendly (Apple TV’s “The Morning Show"), Tyler Perry's "The Have and the Have Nots" actor Celeste Thorson, Filmmaker/Actress Kathy Kolia, Actress/TV Host Caitlin O'Connor, John Singleton’s “Snowfall,” star Angela Lewis, Adrian Dev (Westworld, Mulan), and many others, which created a great mix of film and television talent.

DisplayNewton2 Adrian dev Dr Busso and Selling Sunset Star Amanza Smith Apple TV’s “The Morning Show_ Amber Friendly
The LE & Co experience combined the ultimate customized celebrity experience that featured Dr Busso, Nu Estestica Spa, Protege Footwear, Everlasting Comfort, Jewelry By Swoon, B GREAT, EcoSlay, Valerie Beverly Hills, MoreLife, Elixicure, Scott Porter, KAENA Wines, Batch & Bottle, Monkey Shoulder, Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s, Reyka Vodka and Icelandic Glacial.

Photo by @orelhafotos_Protege_31

  Photo by @orelhafotos_Protege_31

Photo by @orelhafotos_Protege_31

Protégé Footwear was a huge hit among women due to their mechanically engineered fit designed by Candace Chen, the Founder and CEO. A woman's heel is cupped at the heaviest weight of the body on the heel, with gel padding at the ball of the foot, interchangeable straps to vary the look and a toe grip that prevents your foot from awkwardly sliding forward.

I've ordered a pair and am very curious to see how I like the fit since I've had injuries in the past that prevent me from wearing most high heels. Plus, I don't need extra height, but these were too beautiful and interesting not to buy. 

LE & Co founder Melissa McAvoy, named 2019 Top Dynamic Women by Modern Luxury | Angeleno Magazine, toasted to the success of talent walking away from the event with incredible gifts, valuable new connections and a sense of celebration for the amazing past year in entertainment.

"We couldn't have asked for a better partner to host such a successful event with," McAvoy said of Valerie Beverly Hills. Taken from the Valerie's website and I quote:

"Valerie Beverly Hills is a cosmetic company and makeup boutique based exclusively out of Beverly Hills, California. A luxury brand prized for selling a unique line of high quality cosmetics, Valerie Beverly Hills offers an unparalleled beauty experience to its consumers.

Photo by @orelhafotos_Oscars Gifiting Lounge_24

Photo by @orelhafotos_Alyssa de Boisblanc_@alyssad_03Photo by @orelhafotos_Oscars Gifiting Lounge_50So cheers to all who attended, showcased their wares, and gave us a great memory. We enjoyed the experience. It was a great party and can't wait for the next one. And in the meantime, don't mind me. I'm grateful for my gift bag and seeing as it's one of my love languages, very happy now! Thank you Melissa and team! Great Pre-Oscar event!










Aaron Anastasi, Biography - Actor, Writer, Musician, Author, Coach...

Aaron Anastasi cookie image
Aaron Anastasi Photo Credit David Muller

Southern Californian native, Aaron Anastasi, was born to an Italian father with Middle Eastern ancestry, and an Italian mother with Eastern European ancestry. His father, a lifetime saw filer tradesman, and his mother, a career secretary, Aaron was the first person in his family to graduate college as the second son of seven boys.

Spending the majority of his younger years in and around Huntington Beach, California, Anastasi's early years were filled with surfing, playing guitar, and performing music. In high school, Anastasi trained, acted, and sang in a number of music theater productions. 

A talented singer-songwriter and vocal coach, his music career took off when he was in college, and for many years Anastasi spent summers and weekends touring widely, performing music, sketch, and stand-up comedy with his band, including, most notably, Nathan Chapman, two-time Grammy Award winning producer of Taylor Swift, who played guitar on Anastasi’s debut album, Star Seven.

Academics came naturally to Anastasi. After high school he received a Humanities BA degree from Lee University and achieved a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he studied philosophy, psychology, and theology.

After Anastasi stopped performing music, he co-founded several successful music-oriented businesses, including an online singing lesson course entitled Superior Singing Method, with long-time best friend, Chas Smith, a fellow musician and college roommate. With over 50M views and 500K subscribers on YouTube, Superior Singing Method became world-renowned, being ranked the #1 online singing program for over a decade.

Anastasi's academic training proved invaluable when he began coaching clients in industry-leading roles ranging from TV and film directors, to Netflix and Google executives, to TED Talk speakers and Billboard-charting artists. He credits EST Founder, Werner Erhard, as well as Byron Katie, founder of The Work, and philosopher Martin Heidegger, with the transformational style he employs which is also based on his extensive ongoing reading of personal development and leadership materials, of which he is unashamedly obsessed.

Taking his own coaching advice, Anastasi has limited his executive coaching to a small, exclusive, high-profile clientele in order to fully pursue his passion for acting.

He also published two books in the self-development genre: The Voice of Your Dreams: Turn Down The Voices of Limitation, and Turn Up The Volume of Success, which landed at #18 on the Amazon bestseller list, and Your Prosperous Mind: Discover What You Really Want, What’s Holding You Back, and How To Get New Results.

Aaron Anastasi headshotAnastasi’s most recent credits include, “Detective Banks” – a seasoned, no-nonsense character on season four of Carl Weber’s The Family Business. He also co-stars in the Ryan Murphy ProductionsMonster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story on Netflix, playing a physician, and is featured asLyle,” a Hare Krishna, on Gaslit, starring Julia Roberts & Sean Penn, on STARZ.

After shaving his head as an experiment, Anastasi’s career spiked, booking four dramatic roles back-to-back including his appearance as “Adrian” on Marvel's Runaways, as well as an efficient paramedic on 9-1-1 and Bosch, and a recurring role on The Baxters

A prolific creator, Anastasi has also written, produced, and starred in the episodic web series entitled Adam & Jamero, produced 3 documentaries, and played a vigilante ex-cop in the film, Vigilance, which he wrote, produced and starred in, along with a few one-hour drama thrillers in various levels of development.

Anastasi honed his acting skills under Actor Cress Williams of Black Lightning fame, multi-Emmy-award-nominated director, Robert Allen Ackerman, acting coach Lesly Kahn of Lesly Kahn & Company, Graham Shiels of Graham Shiels Studios and renowned dialect coach, Bob Corff of Corff Voice Studios.

Anastasi resides with his wife, Martha Anastasi, (m. 2013) in Los Angeles, California.

Re-Opening mockumentary is a must see! Aaron Anastasi & his wife enjoyed it last night. #Comedy #PandemicHumor #Mockumentary

By Joy A. Kennelly

It was only a matter of time before someone came out with a comedy mocking everything we've all gone through with the pandemic and Re-Opening kills it!

PostcardIf you can read this, you have better eyes than me, but suffice it to say, some comedy and film heavyweights were involved in creating this gem of a film. You may recognize the directors' Chris Guerra from The Groundlings Main Company and Matthew John Koppin.

Official synopsis: "RE-OPENING is a fully-improvised lockdown mockumentary following the cast and crew of a struggling theater (All Voice IS Theater) in Pigeon Valley, Tennessee. They attempt to prepare the theater to reopen to the public after months of lockdown, encountering setbacks along the way."

This was an 6 month, 18 day shoot and Kelsey Cooke co-wrote it along with Chris & Matthew and she also produced it. But wait, there's more! She also stars in it!

Here's some of the cast on the red carpet last night. This was a huge ensemble cast and so many talented people participated who aren't reflected in this picture. 20220318_193521

L-R Casey Hime as the nerdy Bryce, Amanda Lehan-Canto as the mean stage manager with a heart of gold, Chris Kleckner as the sentimental CDC code enforcer, Karen Maruyama as the hilarious tour guide, Kelsey Cooke as the shy single mom who shines, Chris Guerra as the emotional play director and Matthew John Koppin, the filmmaker.

That's only a smattering of the talented people who make this film so hysterical. Here's the trailer where you can see everyone involved...

If you want to look back at the past two years of the pandemic, laugh at all the hoops we all jumped through, and see some very funny people in action, then you will enjoy this film! 

AA & MA Red CarpetActor Aaron Anastasi and his lovely wife Martha attended the screening last night at the Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills and we met a lot of the cast prior which was very fun. I posted more pix on my Facebook page here.

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In the Q & A afterwards, the filmmakers shared that the people in TN were very gracious to work with and one guy allowed them to use his theater for free because he had once taken a class at the Groundlings. 20220318_213707

They actually shot in the Groundlings theater too while it was being renovated and also in the Burbank Historical Society Museum. 

So many venues were able to upgrade their facilities including the Fine Arts Theater and it looks stunning now. Here's Aaron and Martha again against the plush red theater backdrop. Her look was a huge hit. AA & MA red

If you want to see Re-Opening yourself, you can catch it next week streaming at the Malibu Film Festival which states, "Malibu Film Foundation is proud to present the 22nd annual Malibu Film Festival virtual edition March 20-27. All access pass is only $4.99.

WATCH and VOTE on your favorite Malibu Film Festival official selections available on our streaming partner XOLO ( Proceeds benefit the XOLO sanctuary of Los Angeles, a permanent home animals in need." 

Actor Aaron Anastasi attended Dr. Anna Guanche's ribbon cutting ceremony at Bella Skin Institute

By Joy A. Kennelly

So yesterday, this happened... IMG_1934
Actor Aaron Anastasi and I attended Dr. Anna Guanche's ribbon cutting at her new Bella Skin Institute in the heart of the City of Beverly Hills. She is known for her Bella Miracle Cream and Bella Cosmeceuticals and amazing treatments for celebrities and others.

Dr. Anna Guanche's Ribbon Cutting at Bella Skin InstituteOthers in attendance included Actor/Director/Producer Jerry O'Connell, Actress/Producer Kate Linder, various members of the Beverly Hills Chamber and Beverly Hills City Council and of course the belle of the ball, Dr. Anna Guanche and her team, family, friends and clients.

Scroll down to see more pictures from the celebration.

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Now to prepare for the rest of the month's activities...

Here's a great initiative to support diverse voices by @ActorsConn. If you're a black actor - check it out & apply! #acting #NYC #ZOOM #alwaysbelearning #BLM #entertainment

This is taken from the newsletter I received this morning from Actors Connection. I didn't have anything to say and this seemed like a great way to use my blog for good. If you have positive things you're doing to assist African American's move forward in society and I like them, I will share them here. All emails can be sent to joykennellyactress (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

EH_x4W8WkAM4MHSHey All!

I'm really excited to announce a few new programs Actors Connection is pulling together in support of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement.  We went dark for Free at Three the other day and I spent the time asking myself how we can do more.  What can we do?  What SHOULD we do?  How should we do it?

We want to become HYPER ALLIES!  And although everyone on staff has been participating in their own ways individually (donating, marching, advocating ---you name it!)-- as a company we wanted to PUT OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS and show you that without a shadow of a doubt-- WE LOVE YOU and ARE HERE FOR YOU.


So here is what we are doing.

1) We are launching weekly MICRO SCHOLARSHIPS of $100 for actors of color for the months of June and July.  To apply, email us a video of you talking about how YOU as an ARTIST can create change in our industry.  We know we are going to love them all so winners will be selected at random.  Email your submission to and mark "MICRO SCHOLARSHIP" in the subject line.  We know you are using lots of your resources to support your mission right now, so let us help keep your career going in the meantime.

African American reviewing a script
2) We are investing $5000 in projects by content creators in our new ACtivate Your Voice Program.  We will be accepting project proposals all month.  We are looking to support projects that celebrate YOUR unique voice and projects that will inspire CHANGE.  The top 10 proposals will do a live pitch to the AC leadership team and one person will be selected in early July.  To submit, email and mark the subject "ACTIVATE YOUR VOICE". You must include the following:

  • Headshots and Bios of all key players in the project
  • Short one paragraph synopsis on the project
  • Project timeline
  • Project budget
  • Description of the change you would like to create due to this project and how you expect to engage people in it's message

3) We are scheduling a ZOOM PANEL about bringing more equity & equality to our industry.  Stay tuned.  We will announce these details soon.  It'll be an awesome community conversation with the goal of writing down actionable steps to suggest to the members of the entertainment community.

We are working hard to make our impact reflect our intention.  

We love you.  Like a lot.  Our customers are some of the most extraordinary humans on this planet.  Helping you makes our hearts happy.

Be the change,
The AC Team

Here's some of the other great things they've been doing overall that you might enjoy if you're an actor or creative who wants to get involved during our lockdown experience.

Free at Three zoom classesFREE at THREE SERIES

TODAY,  June 3rd, Allison Kirschner, Casting Associate at 3pm EST

June 4th, Malissa Young, Manager at 3pm EST
June 5th, Martin Bentsen, Marketing and Branding Consultant at 3pm EST
June 8th, Bob Kale, Casting Director/Coach AT 4PM EST
June 9th, Elaine Bromka, Emmy Award Winning Actress, at 3pm EST
June 10th, Up-to-Date-Theatricals at 3pm EST
June 11th, Jason Lockhart, Atlanta Models and Talent at 3pm EST
June 12th, RJ Magee, Casting Director, at 3pm EST

Space is LIMITED!  Login early to reserve your spot!
Topic: FREE at THREE Online Lectures and Q&As with Industry Guests!


Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 688 238 429

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This is the weekend of #Acting #Success #Training! @ActorsFastTrack 7/28 10am - 3pm

By Joy A. Kennelly

Aft_SUMMERGAMES_final (1)My head is spinning a little with all the great information I've been gaining from taking James LeVine's Bring It! On-Camera class and working with him privately too.

Then you layer that with today's class taught by Actor Eric Matheny of The Acting Center where he gave the more cerebral viewpoint of how to prepare for episodic season, it's a lot!

A lot of awesomeness!:)

But that's not all, I'm diving headfirst into applying what I've heard today in Eric's class to actually bring all this home with Valorie Hubbard's 7th Annual Summer Retreat Games tomorrow!

There's only a few tickets left if you care to join me. Listen, learn and apply what you gain at this amazing 1-day event at Kenneth Hahn State Park.

Tickets are only $37 and you’ll spend the day outside with other amazing actors learning what it takes to create a brand that will get you noticed.

You’ll also get the chance to get in front of INDUSTRY GUESTS who want to find their next big thing.

$37. Act now, or regret it for the rest of your life. Just kidding, but seriously, sign up already:


If you're not currently an actor, but need to pitch your startup, your new business, or perhaps propose to your love, then you may also want to consider joining me because what I've come to see is that acting really apply to how you present yourself in the world overall.

Don't believe me? Read this article: Why Everyone (Not Just Actors) Should Take an Acting Class

See you around town!