Born in Brooklyn, Spano developed an interest in acting at a young age and was pursuing it professionally at age 13. A year later, while living on Roosevelt Island, he earned a co-starring role in the play The Shadow Box on Broadway. Other roles in films quickly followed.
Spano's breakout role was as The Sheik in John Sayles' Italian-Catholic-boy-meets-Jewish-girl romance, Baby It's You. After the films' success, he was thrilled to have the opportunity, once again, to work with one of his favorite directors, Francis Coppola, in the role of Steve in Rumblefish.
As he developed his career, Spano spent his teenage years on Roosevelt Island. He became good friends with fellow actor and film festival founder, Daniel Jordano. “Danny and I always worked on filmmaking projects together. I even cast him in my Super 8 classic, The Optimistic Pessimist,” laughs Spano. In fact, their friendship even led to their appearance together in Amos Poe's Alphabet City.
“The island holds so many great memories for me. It was always a place of inspiration. I remember getting Sylvester Stallone to watch my Super 8 film, Little Rock, during the filming of Nighthawks,” Vincent recalls. “We projected it on the side of a handball court at the Sports Center. That was an awesome moment for us. We thought we were dreaming. Jordano and I had small shrines to Stallone in our rooms. We were like super-fans,” he laughs. “I was later blessed to work with Sly in Oscar”
It’s these experiences as a young filmmaker that made him proud not to just be on the jury of the festival, but to also hand out an award in his name:
The Vincent Spano Award for Best Emerging New York City Filmmaker
Spano has won several awards himself for his work over the years, and was nominated as Best Actor for Cable's ACE Award, for Showtime's Blood Ties. A short he directed, Tony and Bobby, won best short at the Los Angeles Italian Film Awards.
Spano is excited to help inspire a new generation of artists through the Roosevelt Island Film Festival, which is dedicated to the discovery and development of independent American and International filmmakers. The festival seeks to discover, support, and inspire independent film, and introduce audiences to new exceptional works.
The festival is open to submissions from filmmakers on filmfreeway.com/rooseveltislandfilmfestival. They will be accepting shorts under 30 minutes and feature films under 110 minutes through online screeners.
Visit the website www.rooseveltislandfilmfestival.com for more information.
It will be taking place Friday, August 21st through Sunday, August 23rd, culminating in the award ceremony, where they will bestow the GOLDEN TRAM to the best in fest. @ The Main St. Theater and Dance Alliance. 548 Main St. Roosevelt Island, NY 10044