The Sands International Film Festival of St Andrews has set Stanley Tucci as a special guest for this year’s edition, where he will present a screening of his 1996 culinary comedy Big Night.
The film will screen at the festival on April 15 at the Byre Theatre. The screening will be followed by an on-stage conversation between Tucci and writer-director Joe Russo (Avengers Endgame). Russo’s AGBO label is among the backers of Sands.
Set in 1950s New Jersey, the pic follows two brothers who run an Italian restaurant. Business is not going well as a rival Italian restaurant is out-competing them. In a final effort to save the restaurant, the brothers plan to put on an evening of incredible food.
Tucci co-wrote the screenplay for Big Night with his cousin Joseph Tropiano and co-directed with fellow actor Campbell Scott (Jurassic World: Dominion). He also stars in the pic, which debuted at Sundance. Tucci and Tropiano picked up the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay for their work on the pic. The film also stars Tucci’s sister Christine and their mother, who wrote a cookbook for the film.
This year’s Sands festival runs April 14 – 16. Alongside highlight events like Tucci’s appearance and an open forum Q&A with Russo, the festival will also mount a line-up of official screenings. The list of films set to screen as part of the programme includes buzzy titles such as the 2023 Berlinale war drama Klondike by Maryna Er Gorbach, which was Ukraine’s pick for the 2023 International Feature Oscar race. The well-received 2022 Sundance documentary Calendar Girls will also screen as part of the festival.
Other Sands titles include Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Monsters and Men, starring John David Washington, Violet Du-Feng and Qing Zhao’s Hidden Letters, and the Academy Award-nominated Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. The screening of Marcel the Shell will be followed by a Q&A with the film’s producer Paul Mezey.
Festival organizers have also said Russo will be bringing an “early sneak peek of a hotly anticipated project” that he has executive produced under his AGBO production outfit to St Andrews. The title of the pic will not be unveiled until the screening begins.
“The idea behind Sands is to create a sense of community and a dialogue between a diverse group of artists and film lovers,” said festival director Ania Trzebiatowska.
“We think it’s important to pause and think about not just where we are, but also how we got here, and how to make this industry into a better and more sustainable environment. Stanley Tucci is one of the most curious, passionate, and fearless filmmakers out there, and we’re so excited to welcome him to St Andrews to talk about his professional journey and the stories he’s interested in telling.”
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