Tony De Nonno

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Tony De Nonno
Anthony Joseph De Nonno

(1947-01-12) January 12, 1947 (age 73)
Alma mater New York Institute of Technology
OccupationFilmmaker, photographer, puppeteer
Years active1970–present

Anthony Joseph De Nonno (born January 12, 1947) is an Italian-American filmmaker, photographer, puppeteer, historian, and speaker in humanities. [1]


Early life

De Nonno was born in Brooklyn, New York to Antoinette (née Carifa) and Jerry De Nonno, two residents of Manhattan's Little Italy neighborhood. [2] His grandparents, Giovanni and Angelina Carifa, owned and operated the Columbia Restaurant on Mulberry Street in Manhattan. [3] His father, Jerry, was a sports columnist and horse racing handicapper who worked at the New York Post from 1927 to 1977. [4] He wrote a daily column called "De Nonno's Picks," which highlighted racing odds at the Aqueduct and Belmont tracks. Former colleague and sports editor Vic Ziegel wrote about Jerry De Nonno in a 1997 remembrance: "He had [an index card] for every horse who ran in New York, squeezed into a half-dozen long cabinets that sat on his desk...De Nonno had a well-deserved reputation for picking longshots, which will happen when you don't have enough time to find the logical and boring even-money favorite." [4]

De Nonno attended New Utrecht High School and later received a B.F.A. in Communications from the New York Institute of Technology-Manhattan. Around this time, he worked as a copy boy for the New York Post, the newspaper where his father worked.


Between 1970 and 1993, De Nonno has photographed a number of public figures including Muhammad Ali, Tina Turner, Cary Grant, David Bowie, Joan Baez, Bette Midler, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Stevie Wonder. [5] He served as Eric Clapton's 1974 American tour photographer. [6]

Since 1970, De Nonno has written, produced, and directed over 50 short films and documentaries. While studying at NYIT-Manhattan, De Nonno made his first films: El Fang-Dango, a spoof of Dracula, The Kiss of Death, a gangster-film spoof, and It's All In My Hands, a documentary on local shoemaker John Principe. It's All In My Hands was an end-of-year project that cost him $800 (~$4,800 in 2018). De Nonno recalls in an account on Folkstreams: "...Finnish TV acquired the rights to broadcast It's All in My Hands six times over a 2 year period-and paid me exactly $800." [7]

Subjects of his documentaries have included Itzhak Perlman, Anne Akiko Meyers, and Antonio Meucci, as well as senior citizens, physically challenged persons, and family businesses in New York City. Many of his documentaries have aired on ABC, PBS, Bravo, and New York's WLIW. Meucci, in particular, had resonated with De Nonno in his filming of 1992's Antonio Meucci: Father of the Telephone. He would later advocate House Resolution 269 among the U.S. House of Representatives to honor Meucci, which passed on June 11, 2002. [8]

In a recollection of It's All In My Hands on Folkstreams, De Nonno states his ethos on filmmaking:

"At the heart of what I do as a to mine the essence and core of the individual(s) I am focusing upon and reveal something about him or her, which touches a chord in all of us. I see myself as a storyteller and I love to shine my filmmaker’s eye on the often unspoken and unrecognized “Salt of the Earth” individuals of this world...I am especially determined to honor the legacy and dignity of Italian Americans as well as the heritage and traditions of culturally-diverse people of our great nation." [7]

From 1981, after filming It's One Family: Knock on Wood, he has offered public performances and workshops with a marionette of a knight based on the epic poem Orlando Furioso . [9] De Nonno is a close friend of the film's subjects: the Manteo family of puppeteers versed in the marionette shows of Catania, Sicily. [10] He has also worked as a Senior Security Officer at The New School in Manhattan. [11]


"Michael Racanelli, director of the Vocational Division of the New York City Department of Education, called it 'An impressive personalized film on working.' Dr. Paul Patane, trustee of the School Art League said 'it awakens young people to the dignity of working with their hands.' Joan Eskenaski of the National Career Counseling and Resource Center cited the film in a review calling it 'A film of feeling and quality...a great vocational guidance film.' Her review inspired librarians across New York State to acquire 16mm prints for their film collection." [7]


1970The Kiss of Death
1971El Fang-Dango
1972It's All In My Hands
1977Part of Your Loving
1979One Generation Is Not Enough
1980Moira: A Vision Of Blindness

Fleetwood Mac

1981The Way of The Wind

It's One Family: Knock on Wood

1982Itzhak Perlman: In My Case, Music

Dancing's All of You

1983Anne Akiko Meyers: Beyond The Gift of Music

Just Be Me

1984Housing With a Heart: The Enterprise Foundation
1985Just Be Me

Navigation Without Sight

1986Liberty Minutes

Portraits of Liberty

1987a3520 For Piano Solo(a composition by Matthias Kriesberg)
1988Fast and Sexy
1989A Fistful of Words
1990Everybody Rejoice
1991The Morris Magnet School for the Arts
1992Antonio Meucci: The Father of the Telephone
1993Rebuilding the South Bronx: The Story of SEBCO
1994Italian American Visions: Portraits of 20th Century Immigration
1995An Empowering Partnership
1996–97The UN in Queens: A Global Celebration
1998Teaching Technology to the World
2000Tai Chi and Seniors: A Meditation in Movement
2001–2005Heaven Touches Brooklyn in July
2003Teaching Technology to the World
2004A Gift of Joy

New York City Through Time: The Museum of the City of New York

Public Schools are Everybody's Business

2005Forming Men for All Seasons
2006Young People: Building Bridges to a Safer World
2010John LaCorte: A Monument to History

Serving Society With Heart: UNICO National's 85-Year Contribution to America

2007–2010From Devastation to Celebration: The South Bronx: A Community Reborn

A Century of Laughter, Heart, and Song: The Art of Italian Comedy in America

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  1. De Nonno, Tony. "De Nonno Productions". Retrieved 2017-01-08.
  2. Carlozo, Louis R. “Cultural Troubadour.” Fra Noi, Dec. 2016, pp. 27–28.
  3. "Tony De Nonno | Folkstreams". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  4. 1 2 "DE NONNO, ONE OF A KIND". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  5. "Super User" (September 18, 2006). "Tabla Rasa Gallery Exhibits " Music to My Eyes "". Art Knowledge News. The Art Appreciation Foundation. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  6. Howe, Sam (September 29, 2006). "Howe's Brooklyn: Tony De Nonno". Howe's Brooklyn. Howe's Brooklyn. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  7. 1 2 3 "Tony De Nonno's Account of making "It's All in My Hands" | Folkstreams". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  8. Kernan, Joe (October 5, 2011). "Risorgimento and Telephones: a Look Back at Italian History". Johnston Sunrise. Beacon Communications. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  9. Masone, Carolyn (September 30, 2010). "Communicating Dignity-The Sicilian Marionette Theater Tradition". Essence of Italy Official Blog. Blogspot. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  10. Kilgannon, Corey (September 21, 2017). "A Little Italy Tradition, Hanging by a String" (Web). The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  11. Pang, Amelia (December 12, 2013). "In Memory of Our Beloved Friend". The New School Free Press. The New School. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
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  13. White, Tom (December 1, 1998). "Short Takes, December 1998". International Documentary Association. International Documentary Association. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  14. Mulligan, Thomas S. (July 19, 2004). "Scars and All, Italians Carry On Traditio". The Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  15. Sciorra, Joseph (Fall 2004). "Heaven Touches Brooklyn In July (Review)". Journal of American Folklore. Project MUSE. 117 (466): 459–462. Retrieved 14 July 2018.