Digest: Palace setting for Drake fest

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The first Drake International Film Festival, set to launch next month at the picturesque Reggia di Caserta near Naples, will include a competitive section of 12 world, international or Italian premieres, organizers said Thursday. The June 23-30 festival joins an already crowded film festival calendar in Italy, but organizers said the event would find a market because of its niche plans to focus on first-time filmmakers and modern technologies. "All I can say at this point is that there is a lot of enthusiasm about this festival and that we will have some very important films screening," festival president Francesco de Lorenzo said. One of the festival's main drawing points will be its stunning setting. The sprawling and decadent Reggia di Caserta was built in 1752 as the home of King Charles VII of Naples. Its main palace is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe.

'Waitress' unspools at Locarno

Adrienne Shelly's romantic comedy "Waitress" will follow "Little Miss Sunshine" in having its international premiere on Locarno's Piazza Grande this year, the second year running that the venerable Locarno International Film Festival has used Europe's largest outdoor cinema to screen a mainstream U.S. comedy. "Waitress" is the first premiere officially announced for the Aug. 1-11 festival. The film tells the story of a young waitress who falls in love with her gynecologist while pregnant by her brutish husband. Locarno will release its full lineup next month, but artistic director Frederic Maire said in Cannes that, with about 30% of the program selected, he estimated that the 180-film program would include around 80 world or international premieres.

Kaufmann comedy closing Munich

Rainer Kaufmann's comedy "Ein fliehendes Pferd" (A Flying Horse) will close the 25th Munich International Film Festival set for June 22-30. An adaptation of the novel by Martin Walser, "Pferd" is the story of two couples who find themselves forced to spend a vacation together. The film stars German A-listers Ulrich Tukur ("The Lives of Others"), Katja Riemann ("Rosenstrasse") and Urlich Noethen ("Downfall") as well as TV actress Petra Schmidt-Schaller. German distributor Concorde will bring "Pferd" to German cinemas Sept. 20.

Quantum leaps for kids titles

German DVD label Your Family Entertainment has signed a distribution deal with U.K. indie Quantum Leap Group. Under the agreement, Quantum Leap will exclusively release selected YFE titles in the U.K. "Air Bud" and "The Enid Bylton Secret Series" are among the YFE catalogue titles that Quantum has cherry-picked from the German group's catalogue of children's and family entertainment.
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