Tiziana Rocca Boards Taormina Film Festival as Producer

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The public relations specialist joins the annual Sicilian event ahead of an abbreviated run June 23-28.

ROME – Public relations specialist and film festival circuit regular Tiziana Rocca has boarded the Taormina Film Festival as a producer ahead of the 58th edition of the Sicilian event, organizers announced Tuesday.

The festival, best known for its picturesque location and its use of a 2,700-year-old Greek-era amphitheater for ceremonies and screenings, also announced a scaled back schedule, the dates for this year’s event (it will take place June 23-28), and news that it will be funded entirely from private sources.

Rocca promised the event -- which has become an international launching pad for Hollywood blockbusters including Transformers in 2007, Toy Story 3 in 2010 and Kung Fu Panda 2 in 3D last year -- will become a showcase for “glamour and social events.”

Taormina organizers have yet to name a new Artistic Director. The Hollywood Reporter International Film Editor Deborah Young stepped down from the position in February after five years amid what she called “incompatible views” with the festival’s oversight body and worries about the festival’s dwindling budget. Young's departure had left the future of the festival in doubt.

Once Taormina announces its new cheif, it will mean that three of Italy’s four most prominent film festivals have new artistic directors for this year’s editions: Alberto Barbera has taken the reins at the august Venice Film Festival, where he replaced Marco Mueller, who has himself taken over direction of the International Rome Film Festival.

All those changes leave Gianni Amelio, who took control of the 30-year-old Turin Film Festival in 2009, as the most senior artistic director among Italy’s leading festivals.

Update: A previous version of this story erroneously reported that Tiziana Rocca would be taking over the Taormina Film Festival as Artistic Director.