Vincenzo Mistretta is a filmmaker and visual artist. He was born in Palermo, Sicily and immigrated to the United States with his family as a child. He has lived in Buffalo, N.Y.; New York City; Rome, Italy; and Palermo, Sicily. He began his career as a visual artist in 1989 upon graduating from Pratt Institute in New York City with a BFA in Painting. His paintings have been exhibited in Europe and the U.S. and are in numerous collections in Italy, the U.S. and France.
Mistretta began making films in 1989 in New York City. He received an MA in Media Study and Italian Literature from the University at Buffalo in 1998 and an MFA in Media Study from the same institution in 2006. He has worked in various genres including experimental, narrative, and documentary film, often utilizing a hybrid of all three. Recurring themes in his work range from cultural identity and language to gender and sexuality to formal concerns with the material essence of film itself. His longstanding interest in political activism has led him to produce a series of documentaries on the Women in Black peace network in Buffalo and New York City, and in 2006 he was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to continue his research and documentation of Women in Black in Rome and elsewhere in Europe. In 2011 he received a Channels grant from Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources to work with the not-for-profit Clean Air Coalition of WNY on a documentary about the organization. After the project was over, he maintained his close ties with the group and is continuing to work on various video projects including a feature documentary which examines the critical environmental concerns in Western New York.
Mistretta has received a Miquel Vinciguerra Filmmaking Grant, as well as fellowships and grants from the Niagara (N.Y.) Council for the Arts, the Erie County (N.Y.) Arts Council, the Experimental Television Center, and others. He has screened and exhibited his work internationally at venues and festivals including Open Video Projects and the Arcipelago Film Festival in Rome; the O’Curt Film Festival in Naples; Netwerk /Center for Contemporary Art, Brussels; the Madrid International Film Festival and the International Independent Film Festival in New York City. He has also presented papers at several academic conferences on gender, popular culture, Italian film, and globalization at Rutgers University (Newark, N.J.), the University at Buffalo as well as the 13th International Oral History Conference in Rome, Italy.
Mistretta has taught filmmaking, film analysis, and Documentary Production at the University at Buffalo and SUNY Fredonia. He has also worked as a curator at Acefalo Art Gallery in Palermo, Italy, and media programmer at Open Video Projects, a video archive based in Rome that facilitates video art/film screenings throughout the city and abroad. His video production company, The Ricecooker Productions, served as a home base for his work on television commercials and independent productions. Mistretta is a frequent collaborator with other artists, including Hisham Bizri, Geoffrey Alan Rhodes, Brian Milbrand, Beatrice Flores, Ruth Goldman, Elizabeth Finnegan, Giuliano Lombardo, Tosca Miserendino, Luigi Esposito, Sandra Fuciarelli, Opie Boero Imwinkelried, and Seon Hyoung Kim.