Francesco Bruni Debut to Open Italian Sidebar at Venice Film Festival

"Il Maestro" from actress Maria Grazie Cucinotta opens event's shorts competition.

ROME – The directorial debut of prizewinning screenwriter Francesco Bruni will be the opening feature film for the Italian film sidebar at the Venice Film festival, where the three-member jury will be chaired by Italian director Roberta Torre

Bruni’s Scialla!, a comedy about the relationship between a troublemaking teenager and his depressed professor, will open the Controcampo Italiano sidebar in the festival’s Sala Grande on Sept. 2, the third day of the festival. On the same evening, Il Maestro, a drama from actress and producer Maria Grazie Cucinotta, will open the sidebar’s short film competition.

Both productions will compete with six other films for the Controcampo awards in the category for feature-length films and shorts, respectively. The competition also includes a section for documentaries.

Though Scialla! is his directorial debut, Bruni is no stranger to the film business: he won Italy’s two top screenwriting prizes -- the David di Donatello award and the Nastro d’Argento prize -- for his work on La Prima Cosa Bella (The First Beautiful Thing) last year. Scialla! is Roman slang that can roughly translate to the phrase “chill out.”

Torre, whose film I Baci Mai Dati (Lost Kisses) opened the Controcampo Italiano section a year ago, will head the jury that will also feature screenwriter and director Aureliano Amadei, who won last year’s Controcampo Italiano section with 20 Sigarette (20 Cigarettes), and Italian actress Cristiana Capotondi.  

The 68th edition of the Venice festival, the world’s oldest film festival, runs Aug. 31-Sept. 10.