'Great Gatsby' Director Baz Luhrmann to Be Honored at Ischia Global Fest

Baz Lurhmann, left, with "Gatsby" star Leonardo DiCaprio

The 50-year-old Australian will be presented with an award named for famed Italian director Luchino Visconti at a special ceremony at Visconti's former villa.

TAORMINA, Italy – The Great Gatsby’s Baz Luhrmann will be a guest of honor at the upcoming Ischia Global Film & Music Festival, which will honor him with a special ceremony at the Villa La Columbaia, once the residence of iconic Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti.

The setting is appropriate: Luhrmann will be given the Luchino Visconti Legend Award, one of the festival’s top prizes. Previous recipients of the honor include Tom Hooper, Paul Haggis, Stephen Frears, and Terry Gilliam.

Visconti, a part-time resident of Ischia until his death in 1976, is best known for his 1971 opus Death in Venice and Gatopardo (The Leopard) from 1963, while his 1969 drama La caduta degli dei (The Damned) earned him an Oscar nomination for writing.

In addition to screening Gatsby in connection with the awards ceremony, festival founder and artistic director Pascal Vicedomini said the event would also host screenings of two of Luhrmann’s earlier films: Romeo + Juliet from 1996 and 2001's Moulin Rouge. The awards presentation will take place July 19.

Vicedomini called the 50-year-old Australian “one of today’s most creative risk takers.”

Actors Samuel L. Jackson and Nicolas Cage and film producer Arnon Milchan, all of whom will be given the festival’s Ischia Legends Award, will join Luhrmann at the increasingly star-studded event. Roman Polanski, whose latest, Venus in Fur, will open the festival, will also be honored in absentia with his own Ischia Legends prize.

The festival has also said it would pay homage to Giuseppe Tornatore’s The Best Offer as film of the year.

The 11th edition of the picturesque island festival, held off the coast of Naples, will take place July 14-21.

Twitter: @EricJLyman