By Vince Meehan | SDUN Reporter
A fundraising event was held at Pappalecco Italian Restaurant in Hillcrest on Sunday, Jan. 12, in support of Animate A Way, a local nonprofit organization empowering young victims of violence through filmmaking. Pappalecco CEO Francesco Bucci teamed up with Italian winemaker Piergiorgio Castellani to host a night of great food and wine to generate financial support for the organization.
The Animate A Way foundation was created to raise awareness among teens about topics such as dating violence and abuse by holding after-school classes at Montgomery Middle School in Linda Vista. Their unique approach encourages students to express themselves by creating short films using stop-motion animation techniques. These films will be screened at the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in Balboa Park this June.
“By utilizing stop-motion animation, we can get the students to open up about issues they may have encountered, in a fun and non-threatening way,” said founder and Development Director Karla Duarte. “It can help put the gravity of the situation aside so we can start a positive dialog, and let the healing process begin.”
Event hosts Bucci and Castellani served a generous spread of Italian fare to the eager crowd in a relaxed, family-style setting. The two grew up together in Pisa, Italy, on the southern edge of the famous wine-producing region of Tuscany. Wine is in the blood of the Castellani family, who has been producing wine for more than 300 years. They began distributing their wine in the U.S in 1903.
It was Castellani who convinced Bucci to open his first restaurant in San Diego’s Little Italy seven years ago after touring several California locations. Three years later, he expanded by opening his Hillcrest location. The two men have remained close friends throughout the years, and Bucci serves Castellani wines at both his locations.
“Piergiorgio [Castellani] took me up to Los Angeles and San Franscisco to scout locations for my restaurant, but when I came to San Diego I fell i
n love,” Bucci said to the crowd at the fundraiser. “ I knew this would be the place, and here I am!”
Many close friends and family members of Bucci attended the event, and he thanked them for their support.
“There’s one thing that holds us all together, and that is passion!” Bucci declared. “Passion in food, passion in wine, and passion in art. That’s why I chose to support Animate A Way, I love the idea of using art to heal.”
The event raised over $1,000 for the foundation. Benissimo! For more info on Animate A Way, go to animateaway.org.