EmptyPalace setting for first Drake fest
CANNES — The first Drake International Film Festival, set to launch next month at the picturesque Reggia di Caserta near Naples, Italy, will include a competitive section of 12 world, international or Italian premieres, organizers said Thursday. The June 23-30 festival joins an already crowded film festival calendar in Italy, but organizers said the event would find a market because of its niche plans to focus on first-time filmmakers and modern technologies. "All I can say at this point is that there is a lot of enthusiasm about this festival and that we will have some very important films screening," festival president Francesco de Lorenzo said. One of the festival's main drawing points will be its setting: The sprawling and decadent Reggia di Caserta was built in 1752 as the home of King Charles VII of Naples, and its main palace is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe.
'Waitress' to unspool at Locarno
CANNES — Adrienne Shelly's romantic comedy "Waitress" will follow "Little Miss Sunshine" in having its international premiere on the Piazza Grande this year, the second year running that the Locarno International Film Festival has used Europe's largest outdoor cinema to screen a mainstream U.S. comedy. "Waitress," the first premiere officially announced for the August 1-11 festival, centers on a young waitress (Keri Russell) who falls in love with her gynecologist while pregnant by her brutish husband. Locarno will release its full lineup next month, but artistic director Frederic Maire said here that with about 30% of the program selected, he estimated the 180-film slate would include about 80 world or international premieres.
Quantum leaps for kids titles
CANNES — German DVD label Your Family Entertainment has signed a distribution deal with U.K. indie Quantum Leap Group. Under the agreement, Quantum Leap will exclusively release selected YFE titles in the U.K. "Air Bud" and "The Enid Bylton Secret Series" are among the titles Quantum has cherry-picked from the German group's catalog of children's and family entertainment.
Kaufmann comedy closing Munich
CANNES — Rainer Kaufmann's comedy "A Flying Horse" will close the 25th Munich International Film Festival, set for June 22-30. An adaptation of the novel by Martin Walser, "Horse" revolves around two couples who find themselves forced to spend a vacation together. The film stars German A-listers Ulrich Tukur ("The Lives of Others"), Katja Riemann ("Rosenstrasse") and Urlich Noethen ("Downfall") as well as TV actress Petra Schmidt-Schaller. German distributor Concorde will bring "Horse" to German cinemas Sept. 20.