'Novitiate' to Open Capri, Hollywood Fest

Melissa Leo in 'Novitiate'

Melissa Leo stars as an austere Mother Superior in the new film.

The 22nd edition of the Capri, Hollywood International Film Fest is taking shape. Novitiate will open the event Dec. 27 at Anacapri's Cinema Paradiso. The new film from Margaret Betts will have its European premiere on the island. 

In Novitiate, Academy Award winner Melissa Leo stars as an uncompromising Reverend Mother overseeing a Catholic convent in the 1960s. She becomes threatened by the looming reforms of the Second Vatican Council and fears what the changes will mean for her own way of life and for the women under her care. 

Leo has already been garnering Oscar buzz for her performance as the austere Mother Superior. The actress previously visited the Blue Island in 2010 and received the Capri award for best actress before going on to win the Golden Globe and best supporting actress Oscar for her role in David O. Russell's The Fighter

“We hope that our festival, which is a prelude to the winter award season, will once again be a lucky charm for big movies and big artists like Melissa Leo," festival founder Pascal Vicedomini said Monday in a statement. "Not only is she one of the most popular and appreciated performers in America, but she is also an artist who takes pride in her Italian heritage.”

Capri, Hollywood also will ring in the new year on Jan. 1 with a premiere of Gabriele Salvatores' Invisible Boy – Second Generation, a follow-up to the hit superhero film. The new pic stars Kseniya Rappoport and Valeria Golino and will be released by Rai Cinema in Italy on Jan. 4. 

Director Paolo Virzi will receive the Capri Master of Cinematic Art honor for The Leisure Seeker, a film about an aging couple who go on one last road trip together. Helen Mirren has already received a Golden Globe nomination for best actress for her role in the movie. 

As previously announced, Jonas Carpignano will receive the Rising Star Award for A Ciambra, Italy's official submission for consideration for the best foreign-language film Oscar; Trudie Styler will be given the Person of the Year Award; and Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of My Life has been named best documentary. 

This year's edition of Capri, Hollywood is dedicated to Elizabeth Taylor and is set to run Dec. 27-Jan. 2.