Joe Dante to Receive Lucca Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award

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Joe Dante

The 'Gremlins' director will be feted at the Italian fest with a career retrospective.

Director Joe Dante is heading to Tuscany this spring. The director of iconic films including Piranha, Gremlins, The 'Burbs, The Howling, Explorers and Innerspace will be the 2019 recipient of Lucca Film Festival’s lifetime achievement award.

Dante, who started work as a trailer editor for Roger Corman’s New World Pictures, made his directorial debut in 1976 with Hollywood Boulevard, co-directed with Allan Arkush.

He has recently worked in TV, helming multiple episodes of Hawaii Five-0. Dante has several features that have been in the works, including The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes, about the straitlaced Corman attempting to create the ultimate LSD film, with the help of Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper. And Labirintus will follow the supernatural occurrences in an underground maze buried beneath an abandoned Soviet research facility.

In addition to a full retrospective of his work planned for key cinema venues in Lucca and Viareggio, Dante will teach a master class on the horror genre for fans in Italy.

Dante will also present the Italian premiere of the horror anthology Nightmare Cinema, which features five collective films, including his own chapter "Mirari." Another director featured in the film, Mick Garris — who created the TV series Masters of Horror — also will make an appearance in Lucca to present the film with Dante. Other directors included in Nightmare Cinema features are David Slade, Ryuhei Kitamura and Alejandro Brugues.

As is usual in Lucca, there will be a series of live events and concerts dedicated to Dante’s work throughout the festival.

"Joe Dante is an iconic film director who, better than anyone else, has been able to demystify the horror genre on the big screen thanks to his ironic, nonconformist and irreverent style," said festival curators Stefano Giorgi and Paolo Zelati. "Eclectic and anarchic, he challenged the American and mainstream cinema, and his stance perfectly embodies the experimental and independent vein that the Lucca Film Festival has always supported and promoted."

Lucca Film Festival takes place April 13-21. The festival is organized by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca.