DEBORAH YOUNG PRESENTS TAORMINA FILM FEST 2008

“In its 54th year, the Taormina Film Fest can confidently affirm its role as Italy’s premier summer showcase of films,” remarked Deborah Young. “This year we have consolidated our identity as a Mediterranean film festival whose doors are open also to world cinema, following our mandate to cover the Mediterranean and Beyond. “Working closely with the Region of Sicily,” she said, “we have tried to expand the festival to make it more relevant to young audiences and producers alike. With this in mind, we have created two new sections, Campus Taormina and Spazio Taormina–Sicilia Film Commission, destined to have a major effect on the festival’s future.” Campus Taormina aims to bring young audiences back to the festival by giving film students special access to daily meetings with young Italian actors and actresses and international guests. Under the patronage of the Universities of Catania, Messina and Palermo, the Campus has already attracted hundreds of students in its first year, which we take as a very hopeful sign of the festival’s renewed interest for a new generation of viewers. These informal meetings with contemporary young stars complement Taormina’s justly famed Master Classes, often copied but never surpassed.
MASTER CLASSES 2008 GIUSEPPE FIORELLO. One of the most popular Sicilian actors recounts his story and presents the film version of “La vita rubata” (A Stolen Life).. ANTHONY LANE. The leading British critic whose elegant, articulate writing about film has influenced a generation of readers of The New Yorker magazine will discuss Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Il grido”. PAUL SCHRADER. The great American director of “Mishima,” “American Gigolo” and “Affliction” talks about the imminent demise of 35mm film with the advent of high definition. FATIH AKIN. The German-Turkish director of “Crossing the Bridge” and “The Edge of Heaven” speaks about his work. Akin will receive this year’s Nielsen Award for Dialogue Between Cultures, presented by The Hollywood Reporter.
CAMPUS TAORMINA 2008 NICOLETTA ROMANOFF – the star of Gabriele Muccino’s “Ricordati di me” talks about her experiences on the set VALERIA SOLARINO – one of Italy’s most promising young actresses describes her life in cinema. LUIGI LO CASCIO – the popular actor known internationally for his role in “The Best of Youth” talks about his career. SUBSONICA & JAMES LAVELLLE – Two giants of music and video art meet for the first time in Taormina, outcome unknown. JORDI MOLLA & DON RANVAUD – A special program on producing films using the Internet, using the example of Massimo Mazzucco’s “The New American Century.” The other novelty this year is “Spazio Taormina–Sicilia Film Commission”, designed to make room for the film industry at the festival. After an exploratory attempt in 2007, Taormina this year inaugurates a real industry space, where 25 influential buyers, distributors, world sales agents and top festival directors from around the world can meet in a relaxed atmosphere to watch the festival’s highly selected new films and become acquainted with Italian film locations, filmmakers and producers. We owe a debt of gratitude to the forward-thinking Sicilia Film Commission and to I.C.E., the Italian Trade Board, which co-sponsor this industry area. In keeping with the festival’s Mediterranean identity, a special effort has been made to bring films and film people from around the area to Taormina, an ideal meeting point for the eastern and western Mediterranean. An international jury chaired by Rome-based Turkish filmmaker Ferzan Ozpetek will judge seven of the best new films from the area, featuring two titles from Egypt, the country that was our Guest of Honor last year, and one from Turkey, the Guest of Honor in 2008. Last year, Taormina Film Fest’s selection of 20 new films included eight premières and five films which were subsequently chosen to represent their countries at the Oscar © nominations. Taormina programmers Maria Rosaria Cerino and Deborah Young and consultant Luca Macciocca stand by their choice to privilege quality over quantity in a boutique selection of films.
MEDITERRANEA COMPETITION Competing for: the Golden Tauro, best director, best performance and Special Jury Prize. EYE OF THE SUN, dir. Ibrahim El Batout, Egypt 2008, World première DEUX JOURS A TUER, dir. Jean Becker, France 2008, International première BURNED HEARTS, dir. Ahmed El Maanouni, Morocco 2007, European première AQUARIUM, dir. Yousri Nasrallah, Egypt 2008 TRACTOR, LOVE AND ROCK ‘N’ ROLL, dir. Branko Djuric, Slovenia 2008, World première SUMMER BOOK, dir. Seyfi Teoman, Turkey 2008 A seventh title will be announced shortly.
INTERNATIONAL JURY 2008 Ferzan Ozpetek (president), the popular Turkish director who has worked in Italy for most of his career, where he made “Ignorant Fairies,” “Facing Window” and “Sacred Heart.” Mirsad Purivatra, director of the Sarajevo Film Festival. Jytte Jensen, film curator at the Museum of Art in New York (MOMA) Elsa Zylberstein, French actress most recently seen in “I’ve Loved You So Long” Paulo Branco, Portuguese producer for directors who include Oliveira, Wenders, Monteiro, Ruiz, Techinè, who received the Taormina Arte Award in 2002 On the subject of prizes, the Golden Tauro will be presented to the winner of Mediterranea. All other prizes, including the Audience Award, are original works of art that have been donated to the festival by some of Italy’s most noted artists, including Achille Laiti, Cosimo Gabriele Campisi, Angelo Salemi, Franco Mento and Aurelio Valentini, members of the EuroMediterranean Academy of the Arts presided by international art critic Maria Teresa Prestigiacomo. The Taormina Arte Awards are also brand new this year. They have been specially designed for the festival by the artist Gerardo Sacco in the form of precious diamond-studded silver Sicilian puppets. In the section Beyond the Mediterranean, six films will be judged by an audience jury for another prestigious prize. Each one exhibits an extremely modern, individual style of filmmaking that makes them sometimes touching, sometimes shocking, and always quite unforgettable. BEYOND THE MEDITERRANEAN Competing for: Audience Award for Best Film 14 KILOMETROS, dir. Gerardo Olivares, Spain 2007 COME BACK, dir. Ulrik Wivel, Denmark 2008 International première THE WALL, dir. Mohammad Ali Talebi, Iran 2008, World première LOVE LIVE LONG, dir. Mike Figgis, UK 2008, World première INCONCEIVABLE, dir Mary McGuckian, Ireland 2008, World première A sixth film will be announced shortly. The Teatro Antico once again hosts a series of spectacular movies able to appeal to large audiences. This year Taormina is proud to announce the world premières of the important restorations of two films that have made cinema history: Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” (1972), and “Mishima” (1985) restored and retouched by its director Paul Schrader. The evening screenings in the 2,300-year-old Teatro Antico, which has seated 6,000 spectators since the time of the Greeks, have made Taormina world-famous. They will be preceded by a 45-minute presentation directed by Mimma Nocelli. Our presenters this year include Giuseppe Fiorello, Lorena Bianchetti and Serra Yilmaz. GRANDE CINEMA AT THE TEATRO ANTICO THE GODFATHER restored, dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1985. (Part 1) Taormina unveils Robert A. Harris’s brand new restoration of a film indelibly linked to the Sicilian identity and shot not far from Taormina. Courtesy of Paramount Pictures Home Video. RED BELT, dir. David Mamet, 2008. Chewetel Ejiofor (“Pretty Dirty Things”) plays a principaled master of jiu-jitsu forced against his will to compete. Courtesy of Sony Classics. STREET KINGS, dir. David Ayer, 2008. Keanu Reeves plays a headstrong detective working for Forest Whitaker on the L.A. police force in a film co-scripted by James Ellroy. Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox. MISHIMA restored, dir. Paul Schrader, 1985. Another first look for Taormina audiences: director Paul Schrader recolors his classic about the controversial Japanese author. THE EDGE OF HEAVEN, dir. Fatih Akin, 2007. The Gran Gala Turkey concludes with a special gala screening of Fatih Akin’s most recent film. TAORMINA SPECIALS As the festival looks forward to new actors, production methods and formats, it also looks back at preserving the great cinema classics that have changed our lives. Federico Fellini’s “Toby Dammit” (1968) was restored especially for the Taormina festival by its original director of photography Giuseppe Rotunno, thanks to the Cineteca Nazionale and the generous contribution of actress Ornella Muti. Featuring Terence Stamp as an actor on the skids, it recaps the themes of “La Dolce Vita” in a darker key. Taormina Specials also hosts the innovative and controversial documentary STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE by American filmmaker Erroll Morris, which recreates the infamous story of Abu Ghraib prison using many of its real-life protagonists. GUEST OF HONOR: TURKEY “It is a special pleasure to introduce audiences to new Turkish cinema this year,” says Deborah Young. “Turkey is possibly the most vital and exciting film-producing country of the Mediterranean right now, and it was incredibly easy to find ten films worth screening made in the last three years.” Renowned Turkish critic Atilla Dorsay, who lead the selection of these films, will be on hand to introduce the retrospective. The Turkish tribute will culminate in a Turkish Gran Gala featuring an evening of Turkish music, culture and cinema in the Teatro Greco in the presence of the country’s major actors, actresses and filmmakers. A special thank-you is owing to the ministry of culture in Turkey and the Turkish embassy in Rome for supporting this section so generously and enthusiastically. As always, the festival renews its commitment to promote Sicilian production through the hotly-contested Sicilian short film competition, whose winner will travel around the world with the N.I.C.E./New Italian Cinema Events festival. Many other Sicilian features and documentaries will be on view in Spazio Taormina-Sicilia Film Commission. This is the moment to salute a tip-top staff which includes festival coordinator Chiara Nicoletti, international relations chief Maya Breschi, hospitality head Rossella Piergentili and our head administrator Giovanni Di Pasquale, the off-shore labor of Edna Fainaru and Silvia Bizio, as well as the selfless work of Marianna Rubulotta, Francesca Cupane and Federica Ferrara, along with the indomitable Taormina Arte committee which saw the festival through thick and thin. Once again, Taormina Film Fest has been supported by a number of companies who have allowed the festival to offer participants the finest services. Intel, Videobank, Europcar and media partner The Hollywood Reporter return to the festival. The airlines Blu Panorama will be its official carrier. The press room, open to all accredited journalists, will be furnished with Sony Vaio computers. A particular thanks is owing to the President of the Region of Sicily and to the Regional Board of Agriculture who have closely followed the Taormina Film Fest this year. Together we welcome you to this beautiful city and a vital, growing festival… where the red carpet is for you! International communications: Dan Fainaru press@taorminafilmfest.it TaoArte press office: Fabio Tracuzzi +39 335 7433301 f.tracuzzi@taoarte.it Italian press office: Maya Reggi +39 347 687 9999 maya@reggiespizzichino.com Raffaella Spizzichino +39 338 8800199 raffaella@reggiespizzichino.com