Italy's Ischia Fest to Honor 'Winx Club' Creator Straffi, Unveils First Films

Christoph Waltz

Django Unchained star Christoph Waltz attends the photocall on May 15.

Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, an honorary citizen of Ischia, will join Straffi at Wednesday's official announcement in Cannes.

ROME – Iginio Straffi, the director, writer, and producer behind Italy’s most successful animated films, will be honored as the filmmaker of the year at the Ischia Global Film and Music Festival, organizers said Monday, also naming the first six films that will screen at the summer festival.

The official announcement will be made by Ischia Fest founder Pascal Vicedomini on Wednesday, in Cannes, at the Italian Pavilion Cinecitta. Straffi will be on hand for the announcement along with Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, an honorary citizen of Lacco Ameno, where the picturesque island festival is based. Waltz, who won best supporting actor Oscars for his roles in Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, both from Quentin Tarantino, is a member of the Cannes jury this year. 

Festival organizers announced the first six films that would screen at the July 14-21 festival, including the European premiere of Shawn Levy’s comedy The Internship, which stars Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as two over-aged Google interns. The film is produced by Arnon Milchan, who, as previously announced, will join actor Samuel L. Jackson at the festival to receive the event's prestigious Ischia Legends career honors.

Also on tap: Girl Most Likely, a comedy from Shari Singer Berman and Robert Pulcini starring Annette Bening and Kristen Wiig as an unlikely mother and daughter combo; Dito Montiel drama Empire State; The Gun, the Cake and the Butterfly from Amanda Eliasch; Mexican comedy Marcelo from Omar Ynigo -- all of them European premieres -- and the Italian premiere of Ethel, a documentary about the Kennedy political dynasty in the U.S., directed by Rory Kennedy, the niece of former U.S. President John F. Kennedy and whose father was senator, attorney general, presidential candidate and activist Robert F. Kennedy.

Straffi is the founder of Italy’s Rainbow production company, which has produced the blockbuster animated television series Winx Club and last year’s Gladiators of Rome animated children's drama. 

The summer's edition of the festival will be the 11th edition of the event.

Twitter: @EricJLyman