61st Edition of Taormina Film Festival Set for June 13-20

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Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:40 -- Nick Dager

61st Edition of Taormina Film Festival Set for June 13-20The 61st edition of the Taormina Film Festival, the oldest film festival in Italy, is set for June 13-20, in Taormina, Sicily.  Organizers announced key program highlights and the first of the festival’s celebrity honorees at a press conference in Cannes. 

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) will receive the Tao Arte Award presented by Bulgari.  Additional celebrity honorees will be announced on a weekly basis leading up to the Festival.

Italian actress/songwriter/screenwriter Asia Argento (Marie Antoinette) will serve as Patroness of the festival, held by a strong and empowered artist who represents the spirit and integrity of the Taormina Film Festival.

Special screening in original version with Italian subtitles of Disney Pixar’s Inside Out (which premieres in the U.S. on June 19 and in Italy on September 16).  Inside Out is directed by Oscar-winner Pete Docter (Up), produced by Jonas Rivera (Up) and features an original score by Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Up).  The special June 12th screening will take place in Messina, Italy, where the Festival was born 61 years ago.

Opening night will be fashion-centric honoring Fashion 4 Development, a private sector global platform, which supports the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Every Woman, Every Child, the UN Initiative spearheaded by Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon.  Also, Studio 189 will be presented with the Humanitarian Taormina Award.  Studio 189 uses fashion to raise awareness of women who are victims of abuse, violence and poverty. Founders Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah will receive the award.

Master classes are led by celebrity attendees for the next generation of Italian filmmakers.

This edition marks the comeback of the International Competition of films, which will kick off with a special screening of The Reach- Caccia all Uomo, a film by Jean-Baptiste Leonetti starring Michael Douglas. 

A special Jury of Young Film Enthusiasts will select the Best Italian film at the festival.  

Taormina will present New Independent Cuban Cinema, in collaboration with the Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo and numerous Cuban directors and producers. 

Several of the films on the docket of the 61st Edition of Taormina Film Festival will be screened in Los Angeles thanks to an agreement with the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles and its director Valeria Rumori; the Italian General Consulate of LA, and ICE.

There will be a special documentary showcase at this edition, presented by Punto Luce Institute.  And a special selection of American independent titles will be presented in association with Variety. 

Owner Agnus Dei has produced the Taormina Film Festival since 2012.  He said general manager Tiziana Rocca has implemented a specific strategy to bolster Taormina’s stature on the world film stage. Her goal is to platform Italian culture and products to the international community and showcase the unique strengths of the Taormina region by bringing the world’s biggest Hollywood stars to the festival each year.

“Over its long and illustrious history, TaorminaFilmFest has hosted and honored the biggest names in the film world,’Says Rocca, “from Henry Fonda, Richard Burton, Vittoria DeSica and Marlon Brando to Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Dame Judi Dench and Woody Allen.  This year will be a similarly star-studded lineup, starting with our first announced honoree, Oscar winner Patricia Arquette.”

Rocca continues, “With the support of such organizations as Italian film industry body ANICA, Instituto Luce Cinecitta (European Film production), artists rights organization Nuovo Imaie, the arts support organization Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo and the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia  (Experimental Cinema Center), we have been able to create  special events that showcase Italian film production and foster cooperation between Italian and international filmmaking communities.  It’s also important to highlight film incentives offered by Sistema Cinema Italia.”

Taormina Film Festival www.taorminafilmfest.net