Pixar's 'Brave' to Have European Premiere at Sicily's Taormina Fest

12:42 PM PST 06/05/2012 by Eric J. Lyman

The 58-year-old festival is getting back on track after big budget cutbacks, continuing its roll as a launching pad for blockbusters aiming for a young audience.

ROME – The European premiere of Disney/Pixar’s latest production, Brave, will be among the centerpieces of this year’s edition of the Taormina Film Festival, organizers said Tuesday.

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The 3D film follows a young princess who defies tradition and finds herself beset by a curse she must undo with bravery and archery skills. The film will have a limited release in Los Angeles and in a handful of other territories just before the June 23 European launch in Taormina, which will take place in the festival’s famous Teatro Antico.

The cliffside Sicilian festival has developed a reputation for acting as the European or international launch for similar films targeted at young audiences: in recent years it has launched Kung Fu Panda II, Toy Story 3D, and Transformers. All but Transformers were 3D productions.

Brave, which was co-directed by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman and Steve Purcell, stars Kelly Macdonald as the voice of Princess Merida, Emma Thompson as her mother Queen Elinor, and Bill Connolly as King Fergus. But the festival did not say which cast members would make the trip to Sicily for the screening.

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With this announcement, newly-appointed artistic director Mario Sesti, formerly the head of the International Rome Film Festival’s Extra sidebar, continued to breathe new life into the 58-year-old event, which was left in disarray amid severe budget cutbacks and the departure of Deborah Young -- The Hollywood Reporter’s international film editor -- as artistic director after a five-year run.

The festival’s full lineup will be announced June 18, just days before the festival’s June 22 opening ceremony. The festival will conclude June 28.

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