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Venice Film Fest's Venice Days Section Unveils Lineup

"La Belle Vie" from Jean Denizot

The announcement featured multiple calls for the reinstatement of the government's cinema tax credit; more protests are expected Thursday when the full fest lineup is unveiled.

ROME – The autonomous Venice Days section of the Venice Film Festival unveiled its lineup on Tuesday, centered on a cosmopolitan competition selection of a dozen films, plus various special events and the three finalists for the European Parliament’s Lux Prize.

In presenting the lineup, several of the speakers also used the forum to call on the Italian government to reinstate the cinema tax credit, the government program to reimburse some of the production costs for films shot in Italy that is currently set to expire in 2014.

Venice Days, in its tenth edition, is a separate festival within the august Venice Film Festival, running its full length (August 28-Sept. 7). Among the discovery event’s highlights are La Belle Vie, a story about a father on the lam with his two young sons from France’s Jean Denizot; Yuval Adler’s Bethlehem, a story about a boy torn between loyalty to his brother and a friend he admires on opposite sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict; Cherien Dabis May in the Summer, a comedy about a family crisis that earned rave reviews when it premiered at Sundance; and Rigor Mortis, a big-budget Hong Kong horror story complete with a star-studded cast and top-notch special effects from Juno Mak.

Venice Days will also feature the second edition of its Women’s Tales sidebar, with two films highlighting feminine creativity: Ava DuVernay’s The Door, which earned Du Vernay a Best Director honor from Sundance, and Le Donne della Vucciria from Hiam Abbas, and Italo-French co-production, which was partially inspired by Venice Days.

The event will also feature five special out-of competition screenings, including Lenny Cooke from Benny Safdie and Joshua Safdie, showing as part of a collaboration effort with the Tribeca Film Festival, and Tres Bodas de Mas from Javier Ruiz Caldera, Venice Days’ closing film.

All told, productions or co-productions from 17 countries will be featured in the section.

Tuesday also saw the unveiling of the three finalists for the European Union’s Lux Film Prize for EU-made films. Culled from a list of 13 semi-finalists, the three are Miele (Honey), the feature film directorial debut from Italian actress Valeria Golino, Felix Van Groeningen’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, and The Selfish Giant from Clio Barnard.

Following Monday’s announcement of the lineup for Venice’s Critics’ Week section, the Venice Days lineup is the second installment from Venice’s lineup week that will cumulate with the festival’s full competition and out-of-competition lineup on Thursday in Rome.

The calls for the full reinstatement of the cinema tax credit are expected to grow only louder: Cinema industry groups have vowed to use Thursday's announcement to protest the government's belt-tightening plans.

Twitter: @EricJLyman