Italy's Capri, Hollywood Fest to Premiere 'Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom'

Idris Elba in "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"

Fest director Pascal Vicedomini says the civil rights icon's passing has inspired an unofficial section for films about Africa and African-Americans.

ROME -- Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, stars of Justin Chadwick's Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, will be honored as actor and actress of the year by the upcoming Capri, Hollywood Film Festival, organizers said Monday.

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The Nelson Mandela biopic, which will go into wide release in the U.S. on Christmas day, will have its Italian premiere at the Italian island festival five days later.

The festival also announced Monday it would screen two other films: Lee Daniels' The Butler -- about a White House butler (played by Forrest Whitaker) who served eight presidents -- and Fruitvale Station, a drama from Ryan Coogler narrating the story of Oscar Grant, the African-American youth who was fatally shot in the back by a Bay Area Rapid Transit officer.

Combined with Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, previously announced to screen at the Capri Fest, the films form a sort of subplot focused on Africans and African Americans.

"The emotions generated by the death of Nelson Mandela, a global icon for human rights, encouraged us to create a festival section dedicated to films promoting tolerance, solidarity, and respect for migrants," said Pascal Vicedomini, the founder of the 18-year-old Capri festival.

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The festival, which takes place on the scenic island of Capri, off the coast of Naples, runs from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2, 2014. It is traditionally the last film festival of each calendar year and the first of the following year. In the past, Capri Hollywood Fest honors have been a harbinger of good fortune for several films.

Twitter: @EricJLyman