Oliver Stone, Monica Bellucci to Be Feted at Taormina Film Festival
Tarak Ben Ammar will also be honored at the event, running June 11-18.
This year's Taormina Film Festival will kick off with Jack Black and a 3D Panda extravaganza in the outdoor Teatro Antico and wraps with a nod to the locals with Nello Correale's Rosa's Voice, about Sicilian folk singer Rose Balistreri.
And along the way, the festival, which runs from June 11-18, will honor a trio of international stars -- Monica Bellucci, Oliver Stone and Tarak Ben Ammar – and spotlight films from three countries in the middle of extreme social upheaval -- Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Taormina's grandest stage is that of the Teatro Antico, the outdoor theater that was the world's first to screen a 3D film -- the world premiere of Toy Story 3 last year. On June 11, Kung Fu Panda 2 will be the second 3D film to open the fest.
The 3D glasses will get a workout this year, as horror flick Parking Lot, the first commercial 3D film from Italy, screens later in the week. And director Francesco Gasperoni and screenwriter/actress Harriet MacMasters-Green will collaborate to make Tao 3D: A Sicilian Story, which they will shoot, edit and mix during the festival and screen on June 16.
The Teatro Antico will also host screenings of Stone's Alexander Revisited: The Final Unrated Cut, Dominic Sena's Season of the Witch, Daniel Sanchez Arevalo's Primos, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's Cinema Verite and Nick Hamm's Killing Bono.
Program director Deborah Young (also a film reviewer for The Hollywood Reporter) said that in her five years at the festival, "I have seen the festival grow richer each year in terms of the quality of our films and special programs, world-wide media coverage, and the response of the international film community, who have put Taormina back on their calendars."
The 2011 festival will also include awards for Palestinian director and actor Elia Suleiman and for American executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Suleiman will receive the Fondazione Roma Mediterraneo Award for Dialogue Between Cultures, which will be presented by Foundation president, Prof. Avv. Emmanuele F. M. Emanuele.
And Katzenberg will accept, on behalf of DreamWorks, The Hollywood Reporter Award for Cinematic Excellence which is being given to DreamWorks Animation.
Other highlights of the festival include:
Taormina Arte Awards: Monica Bellucci (June 11); Oliver Stone (June 12); Tarak Ben Ammar (June 16)
North African Showcase:
A Man's Shadow, dir. Tamer Mahdy, Egypt, 2011, (International premiere); Mohktar, dir. Halima Quardiri, Morocco, 2011 (International premiere); L'Homme de Cendres (Man of Ashes), dir. Nouri Bouzid, Tunisia. 1986; Heaven's Doors, dir. Swel e Imad Nouri, Morocco, 2006; No More Fear, dir. Mourad Ben Cheikh, Tunisia, 2011 (Italian premiere)
Mediterranea (Jury: Patrice Leconte, director, France; Youssra, actress, Egypt; Maya Sansa, actress, Italy)
La Roim Alaich (Invisible), dir. Michal Aviad, Israel, 2011 (Italian premiere)
Press, dir. Sedat Yilmaz, Turkey, 2011, (International premiere )
Il console italiano (The Italian Consul), dir. Antonio Falduto, with Anna Galiena, Giovanna De Sio, Lira Molepo, Luca Lionello, Franco Trevisi, Italy, 2011 (World Premiere)
Hawi, dir. Ibrahim El Batout, with Mahmoud Abodama, Rina Aref, Hany El Dakak, Sherif El Desouky, Egypt, 2010 (Italian premiere)
Sur la planche (On the Plank), dir. Leila Kitani, with Soufia Issami, Nouzha Akel, Mouna Bamad, Rafia Bouazza, Morocco, 2011 (Italian premiere)
678, dir. Mohamad Diab, with Boushra, Nelly Karim, Nahed el Sebai, Maged el Kedwany, Egypt, 2010 (Italian premiere)
Le chat du Rabin (The Rabbi's Cat), dir. Joann Sfar, Antonie Delesvaux, with the voices of Hafsia Herzi, Maurice Benichou, Francois Morel, France, 2011 (International premiere)
Mil Cretins (A Thousand Fools), dir. Ventura Pons, with Jordi Bosch, Joan Borras, Aleix Albareda, Spain, 2011 (European premiere)
Voir la Mer, dir. Patrice Leconte, with Nicolas Giraud, Clement Sibony, Pauline Lefevre, France, 2011 (Out of Competition -- International premiere)
Beyond the Mediterranean:
Sandheden om Maend (Truth About Men), dir. Nicolaj Arsel with Thure Lindhardt, Tuva Novotny, Denmark, 2011 (Italian premiere)
Lotus Eaters, dir. Alexandra McGuinness, with Antonia Campbell-Hughes, U.K./Ireland, 2011 (European premiere)
Alzheimer's, dir. Ahmad Reza, with Faramarz Gharibian, Mehdi Hashemi, Mohtab Karamati, Mehran Ahmadi, Iran, 2011 (International premiere)
Black Butterflies, dir. Paula van der Oest, with Rutger Hauer, Carice Van Houten, Liam Cunningham, Grant Swanby, South Africa, 2011 (European premiere)
Red State, dir. Kevin Smith, with Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, John Goodman, U.S., 2011, (International premiere)
Pais do Desejo (Land of Desire), dir. Paulo Caldas, with Fabio Assuncao, Maria Padilha, Brazil, 2011 (World premiere)
Master Classes are a tradition in Taormina and they take place every day in the Palazzo dei Congressi. The schedule is: Monica Bellucci, June 12; Oliver Stone, June 13; Patrice Leconte, June 15; Maghreb Revolution, June 16; Andrzej Zulawski, June 17, Joann Sfar, June 18