Young to head Taormina fest

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ROME -- The Taormina International Film festival's long-time assistant artistic director, Deborah Young, has been elevated to the event's top post, organizers announced Monday. Young replaces Felice Laudadio, who left to head the new Rome festival focusing on television films.

Young's appointment comes at a difficult time for Taormina, which was forced to shrink down the 52nd edition of the Sicilian festival last year after the main sponsor pulled out and threw its weight behind the inaugural RomaCinemaFest.

This year's edition of the June festival will focus on films from around the Mediterranean, the Middle East and from Arabic countries, Young said in a statement. It will also include a retrospective on the work of Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore, best known for the 1988 classic "Cinema Paradiso."

Young, a consultant with New York's Tribeca Film Festival and a former Venice Film Festival official evaluating U.S. films, spent the past five years under Laudadio in Taormina.
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