Taormina 50
Taormina Arte Awards for Cinematic Excellence
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the World
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BNL Prize Award Sicilian Short Films
Cinema's Lessons
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In 2004 the International film festival of Taormina and Messina celebrates its 50th edition. The event founded in Messina in 1955 was moved in the course of the years to Taormina. The festival is organized by the Taormina Arte Committee, whose board of directors is presided by Aurelio Turiano, mayor of Taormina, and Antonino Panzera, general secretary. The festival is for the most sustained by the Turism’s Councillor of Communication and Transports of the Sicilian Region in collaboration with the Cinema general Direction of the Ministry of Goods and Cultural Activities. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Golden sponsor and other Silver sponsors such as Air One, Land Rover, Harry Winston, and also Esso and Stella Artois support the event. The festival’s poster portraying Marylin Monroe, reproduces the art work of the great artist Mimmo Rotella.
Since 1999 Felice Laudadio is the artistic director of the Taormina BNL FilmFest. He has also been the artistic director of the Venice Film Festival until 1998 and president of Cinecittà Holding from 1999 to 2002. Deborah Young, cinematographic critic of “Variety”, is the vice-president of the festival while Maria Rosaria Cerino, Lorenza Micarelli and Patrizia Prosperi are the members of the Direction Committee. PUNTOeVIRGOLA is the Italian press office while DDA in London is the International one. The press office of Taormina Arte Committee is held by Fabio Tracuzzi.
The Taormina BNL FilmFest will host as usual – on Saturday June 19th - the consignment ceremony of the four festival’s awards (BNL, Fipresci ecc.) and of the Silver Ribbons awards promoted by the National Italian Association of Cinematographic Journalists (SNGCI) that assigned the special European Silver Ribbon to Fanny Ardant. The Silver Ribbons Awards – as the National Italian Association of Cinematographic Journalists itself underlines on the site – represent the main event scheduled among the others traditionally organized by the SNGCI. The Ribbons are the oldest and most prestigious awards to the Italian cinema, second only to the Oscar, assigned since 1946 to the best feature and short films, as well as to their authors, interprets, technicians and producers. The votes are collected through a referendum among the SNGCI associates. The Silver Ribbons have a central meaning in the SNGCI’s politic, always oriented to give the maximum value to Italian cinema and to its protagonists detecting even among the minor or market-censored works, inspirations and expressions of quality. The consignment ceremonies of both the Taormina BNL FilmFest and Silver Ribbons awards will be broadcasted by RaiUno on the night of Saturday June 19th. The television channels RaiSat and Sky and the radio station RadioDue, will present long daily link-ups from Taormina for the whole festival’s period through different newspapers. Radio 24 is the festival’s official radio station.
As Laudadio writes in the general catalogue’s introduction, the 50th edition of the Taormina BNL FilmFest is “silently” dedicated to Michelangelo Antonioni who has been many times in the past guest of the festival. The festival will also remember Nino Manfredi through two of his films (Nell’anno del Signore by Luigi Magni and Brutti, sporchi e cattivi by Ettore Scola) and by projecting on the opening night on June 13th the last extraordinary public images of the great artist while dancing on the Greek Theatre stage accompanied by Nino Rota’s music from the film 8_ by Federico Fellini. It was on June 12th 2003 at the end of the amusing consignment ceremony of the Taormina Arte Award for Cinematic Excellence assigned to Manfredi by Gillo Pontecorvo.

The 50th edition of the Taormina BNL FilmFest will take place in Taormina from Sunday June 13th to Sunday June 20th. The program including 10 world premiere feature films (among the 20 films of the two major sections) will develop as follows:
Taormina 50 years
Special events will be held on occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the festival. The events, all gathered together on the Opening night of June 13th, are the following:
- Screening of the film Napoli che canta (1926) by Leone Roberto Roberti accompanied by the live performance of the singer Giuni Russo and her musical group. Roberti is the father of Sergio Leone. The event is organized in collaboration with Pordenone’s Days of Silent Cinema.
- Tribute to Nino Manfredi
- The Italian cinema for the 50 years of the International festival of Taormina
- Opening concert by the Boban Markovic Orkestar.
Taormina Arte Award for Cinematic Excellence
During the festival nights at the Greek Theatre, some prestigious International cinema’s personalities will be granted with the Taormina Arte Award for Cinematic Excellence consisting in a valuable watch, exclusively created by our festival’s sponsor Harry Winston. The confirmed personalities to be awarded are:
- Luigi Magni (June 13)
- Judi Dench (June 14)
- Maggie Smith (June 15, waiting for definite confirmation)
- Margarethe von Trotta (June 16)
- Francesco Rosi (June 18)
- Michael Douglas (June 19)
- Antonio Banderas (June 20)
The evenings at the Greek Theatre will be presented, as in the past edition, by Grazyna Torbicka polyglot journalist and cinema’s expert for the Polish television weekly program “I Love Cinema”.
The evening of June 17th at the Greek Theatre will be dedicated to the event BNL for Telethon.
Great Cinema at the Greek Theatre
Every night a World or an International première film of great spectacular impact will be presented on the immense screen of the Greek Theatre (with a second screening scheduled for the next day at the Congress Palace). 7 films from different countries have been selected to be part of the program and each of them belongs to a different cinematographic “genres” following the artistic director’s will to celebrate all the film genres screened in Taormina during the past 49th editions:
- LADIES IN LAVENDER by Charles Dance, with Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, David Warner, Natascha McElhone. UK, 2004, first feature film not in competition, World premiere (June 14) – Comedy
- THE ALAMO by John Lee Hancock, with Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, USA, 2004, (June 15) – Western
- LAUTLOS (Soundless) by Mennan Yapo, with Joachim Króll. Germany, 2004, first feature film, International premiere (June 16) – Thriller
- MIRACOLO A PALERMO! by Beppe Cino, with Tony Sperandeo, Luigi Maria Burruano, Maria Grazia Cucinotta. Italy, 2004, World premiere (June 17) – Mafia
- STARSKY & HUTCH by Todd Phillips, with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson. USA, 2004 (June 18) – Adventure
- DE-LOVELY by Irwin Winkler, with Kevin Klein, Ashley Judd. USA, 2004 (June 19) – Musical
- IMMORTEL (AD VITAM) by Enki Bilal, with Charlotte Rampling. France, 2004, International premiere (June 20) – Fantasy
Cinema from around the world and BNL award to the best first film
12 International produced films, mostly world premieres, will be presented at the Congress Palace. This section is not officially competitive, but the selected films will be judged by a jury composed of International cinematographic critics presided by Marcel Martin that will assign the FIPRESCI Award to the best film, while an audience formed jury will assign a prize of 10.000 Euros offered by the Ministry of Goods and Cultural Activities of the Sicilian Region.
An International Jury made up of five personalities from both cinema and art fields (the German director Michael Verhoeven, president; the actress Iris Peynado, Santo Domingo; the Italian director Paolo Sorrentino; Ulja Uçansu, director of Istanbul’s festival; Emanuel Ungaro, the great Italian-French fashion designer and cinema lover) will assign the BNL Award – Best First Film of the amount of 25.000 Euros to be invested on the development of a second film. The prize will be assigned to one of the 8 debut films screened within the sections “Cinema from around the world” and “Great Cinema at the Greek Theatre” (Lautlos).
Following, the selected films:
- CARGO by Andi Reiss, UK, 2004, first feature film, World premiere (June 14)
- BLIND FLIGHT by John Furse, with Ian Hart, Ireland, 2004, first feature film, International premiere (14)
- HURENSOHN (The Whore’s Son) by Michael Sturminger, Austria, 2004, first feature film (June 15)
- FREEZE FRAME by John Simpson, Ireland, 2004, first feature film, European premiere (June 15)
- SET POINT by Ilmar Taska, Estonia, 2004, first feature film, World premiere (June 16)
- DIE ANDERE FRAU by Margarethe von Trotta, with Barbara Sukowa, Barbara Auer, Germany, 2004, International premiere (June 16)
- BLINDED by Eleanor Yule, G.B.-Scotland, 2004, first feature film, World premiere (June 17)
- MEMO by Milós Jovanovi_, Serbia and Montenegro, 2004, first feature film, World premiere(June 17)
- TURN LEFT AT THE END OF THE WORLD by Avi Nesher, Israel, 2004, (June 18)
- VILLA PARANOIA by Erik Clausen, Denmark, 2004, World premiere (June 18)
- FRACTURE by Larry Parr, New Zealand, 2004, World premiere (June19)
- MA MERE by Christophe Honoré, with Isabelle Huppert, Louis Garrel, France 2004, International premiere (June 19)
BNL Award Sicilian Short Films
Nine short films directed by authors either born or living in Sicily since at least five years, will be judged by the same International Jury that will assign the BNL Award to the best short film of the amount of 5.000 Euros. Following the selected films:
- IL REGALO DI COMPLEANNO by Christian Bisceglia and Fabrizio Ruggirello
- STAI CALMO by Alfio D’Agata
- LITTLE DISTRACTIONS by Vincenzo Tripodo
- ANDARE by Antonio Bellia and Martino Lo Cascio
- CAPOLINEA by Mario Casentino
- MEGALOMANIA by Francesco Lollo
- STIDDA CA CURRI by Piero Messina
Cinema’s lessons
The real event within the event will be represented by seven “Cinema’s Lessons” organized by Felice Laudadio and presented to the public by Deborah Young. The lessons will take place during the 50th edition of the Taormina BNL FilmFest from June 13th to 20th.
Every lesson will be introduced by the screening of a film either directed or interpreted by the “teacher”. The meetings will take place every day in the big theatre (approx. 1,000 seats) of the Congress Palace around 11.00am, right after the film screening. The lessons will be held by prestigious International cinema’s personalities. The program’s events realized in collaboration with Stella Artois will develop as follows:
- On June 14th the film Dangerous Liaisons (1988), winner of three Oscar and greatly awarded everywhere, will be the lesson’s starting point of the UK director Stephen Frears.
- On June 15th will be the turn of the German director Margarethe von Trotta with Rosenstrasse (2003), best actress Coppa Volpi winner at the past Venice Film Festival and recently awarded with both the David of Donatello and the International press Golden Globe Award for best film.
- On June 16th the Australian director Peter Weir who has chosen The Year of Living Dangerously he himself directed on 1982, Oscar winner for best actress.
- On June 17th the lesson will be held by the New Zealand director Jane Campion who has chosen In the Cut (2003), with Meg Ryan and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
- On June 18th a group of important directors and editors such as Jon Jost, Roberto Perpignani, Larry Sider, Sabine Himmelsbach, Pierre Dongiovanni, all coming from different countries, will focus their lesson’s theme on “A research hypothesis on the cinematographic and audiovisual language” presenting digital films realized at the Gallodoro Short Films Campus.
- On June 19th the lesson by Francesco Rosi and his Salvatore Giuliano (1961)
- On June 20th the closing lesson will be a question-answer based meeting with the public on Joel Schumacher’s film Falling Down (1993), held by the Oscar winner actor, director and producer Michael Douglas.
Taormina 50. The great films from the past editions of Taormina
Felice Laudadio has selected 12 films presented at the festival of Taormina from its year of foundation (1955) on, tracing the prestigious history of the Sicilian event that has also contributed to discover young talents who later became great successful authors such as Peter Weir and Steven Spielberg. Following, the films chosen for the festival’s 50th anniversary retrospective among the thousands films projected on the great Greek Theatre’s screen:
- Rififi by Jules Dassin (1955)
- El Dorado by Howard Hawks (1967)
- Easy Rider by Dennis Hopper (1969)
- Bananas by Woody Allen (1971)
- Il Decameron by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1971)
- Duel by Steven Spielberg (1973)
- Frenzy by Alfred Hitchcock (1972)
- Picnic at Hanging Rock by Peter Weir (1976)
- Ai no korrida by Nagisa Oshima (1976)
- Le dernier combat by Luc Besson (1983)
- Ie declin de l’empire americain by Denis Arcand (1986)
- Ta’m e guilass by Abbas Kiarostami (1997).
Taormina’s events
The Taormina BNL FilmFest will present – next to the traditional sections – some initiatives represented by a series of special additional screenings.
On June 15th will be presented a Felix Moeller’s film, DIE VERHOEVENS, that reconstructs the extraordinary story of a directors’ dynasty since three generations. Michael Verhoeven, also jury’s president, as well as his sons Simon, director of the film, and Luca, actor, will be present in Taormina.
On June 17th on the occasion of the tribute to Francesco Rosi, also awarded with the Taormina Arte Award for Cinematic Excellence 2004, will be presented a film by Roberto Andò dedicated to the great Italian director.
On June 19th and 20th it will be the turn of the 14 minutes short film IL VESTITO, co-produced by Chico Paladino and Luc Besson and directed by Rie Rasmussen. A short film entirely shot in Palermo.
On the same days, will be presented the documentary SICILIA (44’) that is part of different works from the series L’ITALIA VISTA DAL CIELO, realized almost 30 years ago by Folco Quilici and produced by Esso, currently sponsoring the restoration and the DVD copying of the 20 documentaries by the famous documentary director and traveller. Folco Quilici will preside the event.
On June 20th in the afternoon, the event titled FUTURE CINEMA LANGUAGES will consist in a screening of different short films representing a sample of the digital production realized during a seminar, currently taking place, at the Short Films Campus of Gallodoro.
The same day, the Sicilian director Francesco Calogero will present IN THE NAME OF THE GODFATHER. Work in progress for the documentary “Nella terra del Padrino” by Francis Ford Coppola (19’).
Apart from the general catalogue by Francesca Nigro and the daily journal of the festival, two volumes containing the history of the cinema’s International festival of Taormina will be published. The first volume will contain a critical essay by Nino Genovese while the second one will present about a hundred of photographs from 1955 to 2003 with texts by Franco Cicero. The photos were chosen by Fabio Tracuzzi among the most significant ones representing the protagonists who have been at the festival during the past 49 years.
Rome-Taormina, June 7th–8th 2004

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