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FESTIVALS Italy

Strong women and more business at Taormina

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Strong women and more business at Taormina

Sebastian Kiesmueller, (Bavaria Film), Said Ben Said (UGC), Filippo Roviglioni (01 Distribution), Zinos Panagiotidis (Rosebud Motion Pictures Enterprises), Beki Probst (Berlinale EFM) and Lissy Bellaiche (TrustNordisk) will be among the 20 guests of Spazio Taormina of the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily (June 13-20) in Sicily.

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Spazio Taormina was created in 2008 for industry meetings and international business opportunities. Participants will be able to see and receive information on recently completed Sicilian films and those in pre-production, in Palermo (June 16-17), while in Taormina (June 18-20), the networking and business negotiations will take place during the festival.

"We feel it’s important to develop commercial relationships and create a platform from which to launch local films as well as those in the festival,” Festival Artistic Director Deborah Young tells Cineuropa.

In her third year as artistic director of the Sicilian festival, which is at its 55th edition, The Hollywood Reporter critic has this year doubled the number of films (with 20 more titles) to offer a rich programme, and increased the number of open-air cinemas, with screenings to take place for the first time in the Sicilian cities of Palermo, Syracuse and Palma di Montechiaro, during the festival. "In this way, we want to bring cinema to young people as much as possible,” adds Young.

Another event dedicated to younger audiences are the Master Classes held by renowned industry figures, from editors Roberto Perpignani and Michal Leszczylowski to fashion designer Emanuel Ungaro, who will speak on film and fashion. As well as the Taormina Campus, a series of daily Q&As between 600 accredited students and actors (Carolina Crescentini and Francesco Mandelli, Paolo Briguglia and Michele Alhaique), journalists (Ciak editor Piera Detassis) and marketing experts (Ulderico Acerbi will explain how to use product placement to finance a film).

French cinema is this year’s international focus, in a retrospective of seven contemporary films (from Guillaume Canet to Xavier Giannoli) chosen by critic Edouard Waintrop; and the screenings in the Teatro Antico of Stijn Coninx’s French/Belgian co-production Sister Smile [+see also:
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, with Cécile de France, and Gilles Béat’s Diamond 13 [+see also:
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, a film noir starring Gérard Depardieu and Asia Argento.

Women are at the heart of many of the festival’s films, and in particular in a sidebar (that includes, among other titles, Anna Negri’s Good Morning Heartache and Persepolis [+see also:
film review
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interview: Marc-Antoine Robert
interview: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Pa…
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by Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi) and round table entitled Whose Afraid of Strong Women?, moderated by Luciana Castellina. The latter event will be attended by US actress Jessica Lange, who will receive the Taormina Arte Award, as well as two legendary French actresses: Dominique Sanda and Catherine Deneuve.

The main competition Mediterranea (whose international jury comprises Laurent Cantet, Ari Folman and Aimee Mullins) offers interesting, high caliber titles such as Ümit Ünal’s The Shadowless (Turkey); Javier Fesser’s Camino [+see also:
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(Spain); André Téchiné’s La fille du RER [+see also:
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; Casanegra by Moroccan director Nour- Eddine Lakhmari; Hatem Ali’s The Long Night (Syria); and Antonio Capuano’s Giallo? (Italy).

The section Beyond the Mediterranean-Audience Award will include, among others, At Any Second by Jan Fehse, a German debut director known for his work as DoP on Robert Schwentke’s Tattoo and Penalty by Iranian filmmaker Ensieh Shah Husseini.

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(Translated from Italian)

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