Director Paolo Rotondo has organised the return of the popular Italian Film Festival to take place at Events Cinema in Palmerston North.

The festival opens from August 13 to August 20.

The films will be screened at cinemas around New Zealand in an effort to get Kiwis supporting their local theatres that have been affected by the level 4 closures.

Rotondo said it's been a tough year for events and for cinemas.

"Making movies has of course, halted in many countries as well.

"Our festival is an opportunity to support local, but also to support the very best in content from Italy," Rotondo said.

This will be the festival's fifth year running.

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Rotondo has been working with their sponsor Studio Italia to get Italian films to movie lovers across the nation, despite the financial aftermath of the lockdown.

"We wanted to demonstrate to our audience that we're still here, and we still care," says Rotondo.

This year's festivities has the unofficial theme of "exploration of the Italian made" as Rotondo explains that it's a topic he identifies with.

He was born in Italy, then raised in Naples before shifting to New Zealand when he was 10.

Rotondo is interested in the way Italian cinema both critique and celebrate what it means to be a man in Italy.

Each year, he and his wife Renee Mark choose the film selection.

"The films we have chosen deliver a fascinating inside, often from a female perspective," he said.

This year, the selection includes a range of genres including lyrical films, comedies, dramas and even a children's film.

Sorrentini's 2014 oscar winner The Great Beauty will also be screening.

"We have something for everyone.

"Cinema can offer so many different experiences, but one thing is for sure - if you come to a Cinema Italiano film, you will be either entertained, transported, or moved," said Rotondo.

Times and ticketing information is available at www.cinemaitalianonz.com