Matt Dillon, Bo Derek, Eva Longoria in Spotlight at Taormina Fest

Bo Derek, along with Matt Dillon and Eva Longoria, is among the stars at Taormina.
Bo Derek, along with Matt Dillon and Eva Longoria, is among the stars at Taormina.
 Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

TAORMINA, Sicily -- The world premiere of Walking on Sunshine, the musical romance from Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini, was the main event in Taormina's famed Teatro Antico Wednesday night, after an afternoon in which the festival took brief respite from its focus on women in cinema with a special tribute to Matt Dillon.

After an overcast start to the festival Saturday, the weather was finally crisp andclear Wednesday, helping to draw a robust crowd to the 2,700-year-old Teatro Antico. The stars were out for the day's and evening's events as organizers also honored 10 star Bo Derek with the City of Taormina award.

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But the star of the day was probably Dillon, making his second appearance at the 60-year-old cliff-side festival, hosting a master class and presenting the afternoon screening of Factotum, the 2005 drama in which Dillon plays Hank Chinaski, the alter-ego of cult writer Charles Bukowski. Dillon's appearance was a break from the festival's focus on women under the banner "60 Years of Women and Their Impact.

In addition to Dillon and Derek, the festival also continued to pay homage to former Italian diva Claudia Cardinale Wednesday.

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The guest list has been filled with A-List stars all week. On Tuesday, it was Eva Longoria who was honored with a special humanitarian award. Longoria, who is of Mexican descent, wowed crowds by admitting she sometimes passed herself off as an Italian to get work early in her career. 

"People asked me, 'Are you Italian?' I always said yes, because I wanted to get the roles," she said.

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Longoria traveled with Melanie Griffith, who appeared in public for the first time since last week's announcement she was separating from Antonio Banderas, her husband of 18 years. Griffith kept a relatively low profile, but the Italian media noticed she used make-up to cover the word "Antonio" from her shoulder tattoo.

Earlier in the week, starlet Pamela Anderson stole the show attracting an oversized crowd of paparazzi as she enjoyed her first visit to the panoramic city, rubbing shoulders with moviegoers and tourists and using the spotlight to call attention to her signature hunger issues. 

Twitter: @EricJLyman

 

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