You might think Martin Scorsese and Marvel Studios have nothing in common, especially given the former’s comments, but there is something integral that’s shared between them (beyond a passion for filmmaking) — a celebration of Italian heritage. For instance, Louis D’Esposito is one of the major producers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the co-president of Marvel Studios. Two of the franchise’s greatest directors (and Community legends), Joe and Anthony Russo, are also of Italian heritage, and their fantastic grant program, the Russo Brothers’ Italian American Filmmaker Forum, is honoring D’Esposito with the very first “Renaissance Award,” which will recognize exceptional Italian Americans in the entertainment industry and their contribution to the heritage.

If you’re a Marvel fan, then you are a D’Esposito fan, even if you don’t know it. Meanwhile, the Russos have lit up Hollywood with their film studio, AGBO, which has produced three of Netflix’s 10 most-watched films of all time. Founded in 2017, AGBO’s mission is “to innovate and advance the next generation of storytelling to entertain and inspire worldwide audiences. AGBO’s recent productions include the Academy Award-Winning Best Picture film Everything Everywhere All at Once, Extraction 2, The Gray Man, and the Prime Video thriller series Citadel.”


You can find the full press release for the Renaissance Award and information about an exciting new grant program below:

AGBO announced today that Louis D’Esposito will be presented with the inaugural award at the Russo Brothers’ Italian American Filmmaker Forum Event on January 18th. The “Renaissance Award” is a distinguished honor to celebrate the outstanding contributions to Italian American heritage and the entertainment industry. This is the first annual event for the Russo Brothers’ Italian American Filmmaker Forum (RBIAFF).

Related: These Are the Best Episodes of Television Directed by the Russo Brothers

The RBIAFF hosts an annual filmmaker fellowship program in collaboration with the Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA.) This program offers production grants to emerging filmmakers who seek to develop and create stories for the screen that illuminate aspects of the Italian American experience. The top five applicants who receive the grant will create a short film based on a submitted concept, and a winning film will be chosen by a selection committee comprised of executives at AGBO and leadership at the ISDA. Applications for the RBIAFF grant will open on February 1, 2024. Learn more here.

Louis D’Esposito, Co-President of Marvel Studios and esteemed producer, has made a significant impact in his over three decade career in the entertainment industry. Under his stewardship, Marvel Studios has carved an impressive path, boasting 33 films that collectively have grossed nearly $30 billion worldwide, including ten that have achieved the billion-dollar milestone. Monumental accomplishments such as Avengers: Endgame and Avengers: Infinity War, both of which were directed by the Russo Brothers and co-written by AGBO Co-Presidents of Story Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, have surpassed the two-billion-dollar mark, solidifying Marvel’s monumental impact on the cinematic landscape.

“We’re greatly privileged to honor our esteemed friend, Louis D’Esposito, for his remarkable contributions. His tireless dedication to preserving and promoting Italian American culture profoundly resonates with us and perfectly aligns with the Filmmaker Forum’s commitment to cultural preservation through storytelling and film,” stated Anthony and Joe Russo.

The event will bring together industry luminaries, community leaders, and champions of Italian American heritage. The celebration also reflects AGBO’s core values, as reflected in the AGBO Foundation’s dedication to fostering creativity, advancing education, and supporting communities in need, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to contribute to a meaningful narrative of cultural enrichment and philanthropy.

And if you’re a Marvel fan, check out their releases coming in 2024 in the video essay below:

 The producer is honored with the inaugural Renaissance Award, and production grants will be given to burgeoning filmmakers.  Read More