About Lido Cantarutti

A personal welcome to the 2018 Italian Film Festival from Lido Cantarutti, courtesy of Telefruili, Udine, Italy. Watch here.

Born of an Italian family from the Friuli region, Lido Cantarutti grew up in the Bay Area. He attended U.C. Berkeley, earning a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Romance Languages and Literature, and "Highest Honors" and Phi Beta Kappa recognition.

After college, Lido served as a U.S. Army officer, followed by a corporate career in marketing administration and human resources. Throughout his career he has maintained an enthusiastic interest in Italian cultural activities. In 1980, he assumed leadership of a fledgling Italian film program at the College of Marin. His presentation of the program, as a "festival" and not just movies, with live entertainment, informative and entertaining introductions, and personal "family style" greeting of guests, produced a winning formula for popular success.

Since 1985, most Festivals have been sold out. Special series featured great neorealist (1985) and comedy classics (1986 and 1987) of the Italian cinema. In 1988, Lido offered two shows in the open-air setting at Dominican College's Forest Meadows Theatre. In 1989 the Festival moved to the Showcase Theatre at Marin Center in San Rafael, affording improved patron conveniences and state-of-the-art film projection. The 2014 Festival was expanded with the addition of two Sunday matinee screenings.

In 2015, Lido was acknowledged by the President of the Republic of Italy with the promotion and conferral of the title of Commendatore dell'Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (Knight Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy). The award recognizes his 39 years as director of the Festival, and his 30 years as an Italian language teacher at the College of Marin. Commendatore is the third of five levels of knighthood. Lido was previously honored as Cavaliere (Knight) and Cavaliere Ufficiale (Knight Officer). He is one of only four American-born recipients of this honor this year. more>

Also, in 2015, Lido appeared in the PBS milestone documentary series "The Italian Americans", offering commentary on his family's experiences as non-U.S. citizens in the Bay Area during World War II. more>

Lido was selected as the 2016 recipient of the Marin Cultural Treasure Award by the Marin Center. Lido spent 30 years as a volunteer Master of Ceremonies for the Marin County Fair. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to cultural life in Marin through outstanding service and support of Marin Center cultural programs and services. more>

Previously, in 1995, Lido was named Marin County's Italian American Citizen of the Year by the Cristoforo Club of Marin. In 1996 he received two awards in Italy—the Merit Furlan and recognition from the Friulian branches of the Alpini national soldier association. For the academic year 1998-1999 at the College of Marin, Lido was honored for his teaching of Italian with the award as Outstanding Faculty Member (Part-Time).

In 2002, Lido was honored by his family's native town in Italy with the conferral of honorary citizenship. In 2006, he received the Christopher Columbus Award from the San Francisco Columbus Day Celebration organization. In 2007, Lido made his acting debut appearing in two The History Channel programs—as Pope Urban VIII in a show on Galileo, and as Enzo Ferrari. In addition he served as the host for Northwest Airlines' in-flight video program showing Italian films.