'Forest,' 'Numb' headed to 1st annual Drake fest

U.S. pics dominate competition lineup

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 — half of which hail from the U.S. — also includes the Robbie Moffat action flick "Axe Raiders," "Johnny 316" from Erick Ifergan, the Andrew Black comedy "Moving McAllister" and "The Last Request" from John DeBellis.

Other competition titles include Nick Lyon's murder mystery "Punk Love"; "Gumiho Gajok" from South Korea's Hyung-gon Lee; "The Heart of the Earth," a romance from Antonio Cuadri; Brett Leonard's "Highlander: The Source"; "The Melon Route" from Croatia's Branko Schmidt; and Augustin Diaz Yanes' "Alatriste."