James Franco to Receive Special Cubovision Prize at Rome's CinemaXXI Sidebar

James Franco

"Everyone wants to examine the unanswered questions about origins ... but I wonder why every character in this film is such a dick."

Franco's new film "Tar" joins the sidebar's lineup along with projects from Amos Poe, Peter Greenway, and Aki Kaurismäki

ROME – The International Rome Film Festival announced the full lineup for its CinemaXXI sidebar Tuesday, highlighted by A Walk in the Park from “No Wave” cult director Amos Poe, Michael Wahrmann’s Avanti Popolo, Peter Greenway’s Goltzius and the Pelican Company, and Steekspel (Tricked) from Paul Verhoeven.

Newly installed artistic director Marco Mueller also announced that actor and director James Franco, who is connected to two films in the CinemaXXI lineup, will receive a special prize in Rome. And for the first time, organizers screened in public the short trailer that will precede the screenings of all the films in the festival’s official selection, feature an artistic old-style of a nude woman preparing to shoot an arrow.

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CinemaXXI, the newest incarnation of the sidebar previously known as Extra, focuses on new trends in cinema. Mario Sesti, who directed Extra until last year, has stayed on as one of the programmers for CinemaXXI, making him one of the most high-profile holdovers from the pre-Mueller era at the seven-year-old festival.

With the collection of feature-length, short and medium films and documentaries announced, the only announcements yet to be made for the lineup of the Nov. 9-17 event are the two surprise productions that will screen in competition.

The five-person jury headed by Scottish artist and filmmaker Douglas Gordon will award three prizes: a Best Film honor and Jury Prize for feature-length productions, and a separate award for short- and medium-length films.

The lineup features an eclectic mix of productions, with several directed by multiple directors, including: opening film Centro Histórico (Historic Center), an homage to the Portuguese city of Guimarães from Finland’s Aki Kaurismäki, 103-year-old Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira, and Cannes regulars Victor Erice and Pedro Costa; Mondo Invisivel (Invisible World) directed by a dozen directors including Wim Wenders, Marco Bechis and de Oliviera again; and Tar, directed by a dozen more directors working under the “supervision” of Franco, who stars in the production along with Mila Kunis.

Franco, who also directed a one-minute short-short called Dreams that will screen in the sidebar, will be awarded the new Cubovision prize. His presence will add to the festival’s red-carpet star power, which has been criticized by the local media.

With the two CinemaXXI screenings, Franco is becoming a regular in Italy: he also starred in Harmony Korine’s crime comedy Spring Breakers and had a cameo role in Ariel Vromen’s thriller The Iceman, both of which were well received at the Venice Film Festival in September.

Other films worth keeping tabs on in the lineup include: Tanti Futuri Possibili Con Renato Nicolini (Many Possible Futures With Renato Nicolini) from Gianfranco Rosi; Gegenwart (Consequence) from Germany’s Thomas Heise (the film stars F. Murray Abraham); Suspension of Disbelief from U.K. director Mike Figgis; and Jianshi Liu Baiyuan (Judge Archer) from Chinese director Xu Haofeng.

Poe’s A Walk in the Park, which calls itself “a psychedelic journey back into the womb,” is the opening film of the main competition, in contrast to Centro Histórico, which is the CinemaXXI opening film and screening out of competition.

Most of the films in CinemaXXI will screen at the Maxxi Museum of contemporary art, a short walk from the festival’s headquarters at Auditorium Parco della Musica, though Mueller said a few will screen at Parco della Musica as well. All the feature-length films in the competition are world premieres.

The full-length films screening in CinemaXXI in competition are:

A WALK IN THE PARK from Amos Poe, United States

AVANTI POPOLO ?from Michael Wahrmann, Brazil, 2012

BLOODY DAUGHTER from Stéphanie Argerich, France and Switzerland

GEGENWART (CONSEQUENCE) from Thomas Heise, Germany

GOLTZIUS AND THE PELICAN COMPANY ?from Peter Greenaway, The Netherlands


JUNGLE LOVE ?from Sherad Anthony Sanchez, Philippines

NICHNASTI PA’AM LAGAN (ONCE I ENTERED A GARDEN) from Avi Mograbi, France, Israel, and Switzerland

EL OJO DEL TIBURON (THE EYE OF THE SHARK) from Alejo Hoijman, Argentina

PANIHIDA from Ana-Felicia Scutelnicu, Germany and Moldavia 

PHOTO from Carlos Saboga, Portugal and France

PICAS (PIZZAS) from Laila Pakalnina, Latvia

SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF ?from Mike Figgis, Great Britain 

TANETS DELI (DELHI DANCE) from Ivan Vyrypaev, Russia

TAR ?from Edna Biesold, Sarah-Violet Bliss, Bruce Thierry Cheung, Gabrielle Demeestere, Alexis Gambis, Shruti Ganguly, Brooke Goldfinch, Omar Zuniga Hidalgo, Shripriya Mahesh, Pamela Romanowsky, Tine Thomasen, Virginia Urreiztieta; supervised by James Franco, United States  

TASHER DESH (THE LAND OF CARDS) from Kaushik Mukherjee, India

TUTTO PARLA DI TE from Alina Marazzi, Italy 

The full-length films screening in CinemaXXI out of competition are:

O BATUQUE DOS ASTROS from Julio Bressane, Brazil 

CENTRO HISTÓRICO (HISTORIC CENTRE) from Aki Kaurismäki, Pedro Costa, Victor Erice, and Manoel de Oliveira, Portugal

O FANTASMA DO NOVAIS from Margarida Gil, Portugal

MUNDO INVISÍVEL (INVISIBLE WORLD) from Atom Egoyan, Beto Brant, Cisco Vasques, Gian Vittorio Baldi, Guy Maddin, Jerzy Stuhr, Laís Bodanzky, Manoel De Oliveira, Marco Bechis, Maria de Medeiros, Theo Angelopoulos, Wim Wenders, Brazil