Taormina to feature 'Toy Story 3,' De Niro
June 12-18 fest will also honor Iranian director Jafar PanahiROME -- A total of five world or international premieres -- including Disney's "Toy Story 3" -- will screen at the Taormina Film Festival's famous outdoor Teatro Antico, festival organizers announced Monday, along with a pair of in-competition lineups that show the festival's international pedigree.
The two seven-film competition slates, one that focuses on films from the Mediterranean region and a second that looks beyond the Mediterranean, are packed with provocative titles, including "18 Comidas" from Spain's Jorge Coria and French director Renaud Bertrand's "Nous Trois" in the Mediterranean competition, and a Beyond the Mediterranean lineup that features "Lover in a Puff" from China's Ho-Cheung Pang, and "Kawasaki's Rose" from Czech national Jan Hrebejk.
The festival's prestigious Golden Tauro Awards for best film, director and performance and a special jury prize will be selected from the Mediterranean lineup by a five-member jury headed by Berlin Film Festival artistic director Dieter Kosslick. A special audience award will be chosen from the Beyond the Mediterranean lineup by a group of 15 local film lovers.
But it is the Teatro Antico lineup that will attract the most attention. The 2,300-year-old Greek theater will host what Taormina artistic director Deborah Young said will be the first-ever outdoor premiere of a 3D film when Lee Unkrich's "Toy Story 3" opens the festival on June 12. Subsequent days will include Gareth Edwards' "Monsters," Neil LaBute's "Death at a Funeral," Australian director Scott Hicks' "The Boys are Back" and "Imbroglio nel Lenzuolo" from Alfonso Arau, the lone Italian film to premiere in the country's most famous outdoor venue.
"The will be the festival's finest year since I became director," said Young, in her fourth year at the 56-year-old festival's helm.
In addition to its film lineup, the June 12-18 festival will include appearances by actors Robert De Niro and Colin Firth, and directors Emir Kusturica and Marco Bellocchio. Additionally, Iranian director Jafar Panahi, recently released from jail in Iran, will be presented the Taormina Arte award in absentia.