Drake Film Fest unveils inaugural lineup


ROME -- Ryan Eslinger's "When a Man Falls in the Forest," a Golden Bear nominee at this year's Berlinale, and "Numb" from Harris Goldberg are among the dozen films that will appear in competition at the first Drake International Film Festival, set for June 23-30 near Naples.

The lineup was announced amid controversy over the leadership of the new festival, which will be held in the sprawling Reggia di Caserta, a World Heritage Site since 1996. Several of the event's top officials were replaced in recent weeks, with some complaining loudly in the Italian press.

But organizers promise the festival will be a hit.

With a screening schedule that focuses on new filmmakers and innovative technologies, Drake's competition lineup also includes Robbie Moffat-directed action flick "Axe Raiders," "Johnny 316" from Erick Ifergan, Andrew Black-helmed comedy "Moving McAllister" and "The Last Request" from John DeBellis and starring Danny Aiello.

Other competition titles include Nick Lyon's gritty rape and murder mystery "Punk Love"; "Gumiho Gajok" (The Fox Family) from South Korea's Hyung-gon Lee; "The Heart of the Earth," a romance from Antonio Cuadri; Brett Leonard's action fantasy "Highlander: The Source"; "The Melon Route" from Croatia's Branko Schmidt; and Augustin Diaz Yanes' Viggo Mortensen starrer "Alatriste," winner of three Goya Awards earlier this year.

The lineup is dominated by U.S. fare: Half of the 12 films were at least co-produced by U.S. companies and only one, "Punk Love," is an Italian co-production.

It was not clear which cast members will make the trip to Reggia di Caserta for the screenings, all of which are at least Italian premieres.