Rome International Film Festival   Best Narrative Feature Nominee

Three brothers from an Italian-American family in northern New Jersey could not be more different. One brother owns a successful construction company and has married a beautiful wife.  His management of his company and his marriage is highly suspect.  A second brother is a biology teacher at a Catholic High school who struggles to manage his feelings for his brother's wife and his students while attempting to live a moral life.  A third brother, home from college, finds his enthusiastic attraction for a cousin to be fraught with peril. Life is difficult but beautiful for this singular American family.  Stumbling in and out of each other's lives, the three brothers battle family dynamics, priestly advice, and even a little witchcraft in Bongiorno's compelling portrait of a contemporary family struggling to define "What's Italian."

If Woody Allen were Italian-American and from the Garden State, he could have written this film,” says Nelson Williams, Festival Director. “It blends the humor and tragedy of real life in a way that’s reminiscent of Allen or Robert Altman. Keep an eye on this director. She will end up in the same league as Nora Ephron.”

Selected for the festival’s Closing Night film,  LITTLE KINGS is an edgy comedy from first-time director Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno of Newark, New Jersey. The movie concerns three brothers who can’t seem to make heads or tails of their women, or how to make them happy.

Fest fetes 'Kings'

Pic takes film, screenplay, actor, actress nods

April 22, 2004


HOLLYWOOD -- "Little Kings" won four top awards, including best film, at the 9th annual Palm Beach Intl. Film Festival on Thursday. Closing night awards ceremony was hosted by "Scrubs" thesp John C. McGinley.

After a week of screening roughly 130 films, "Kings" took home prizes for screenplay (Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno and Jerome Bongiorno), as well as actor and actress (Dominic Pace and Rita Pietropinto). Documentary winner was "Lolita: Slave to Entertainment." Chris Philpott took home the director award for "Fairytales & Pornography."

The Palm Beach County festival drew thesps including Nia Vardalos, Ben Gazzara, Shohreh Aghdashloo ("House of Sand and Fog) and Michael Clarke Duncan.

'Kings' rules fest

'Kings' reigns at Palm Beach fest

April 23, 2004

Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno's "Little Kings," a romantic comedy about three Italian-Americans, was named best feature at the ninth annual Palm Beach International Film Festival, which concluded Thursday night with an awards ceremony hosted by John C. McGinley of NBC's "Scrubs." Other winners included: best documentary, Timothy Gorski's "Lolita: Slave to Entertainment"; best director, Chris Philpott for "Fairytales & Pornography"; and best actor and actress, Dominic Pace and Rita Pietropinto, both for "Little Kings." (Staff report)

  1. LITTLE KINGS  Press

see Little Kings at the 2007 Pesaro Film FestivalPesaro,_Italy_Screening_Gallery.html

Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno’s work resides in that area of analytical cinema that examines sexual and racial identity as well as environmental issues (her new film will be on the flood dangers in New Orleans and Venice), adopting a socio-political point of view that does not compromise ethnic origins but, rather, uses the critical legacy that Italian socialism and trade unionism introduced in the United States. Her films go well beyond stereotypes and relate to the Italian-American working class.

by Giuliana Muscio

Italian-American Directors Roundtable: John Turturro, Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno, Raymond De Felitta