'Transformers' to conquer Taormina first


ROME -- "Transformers," the big-budget summer action flick from Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg, will have its world premiere at the Taormina Film Fest, Deborah Young, the event's artistic director, said Tuesday.

Young said the premiere would represent the first time a major U.S. film of that stature premiered at the 53-year-old Taormina event.

Bay, several cast members and executives from distributor Paramount Pictures will arrive by helicopter in an elaborate ceremony before the June 21 screening.

The science fiction film about an invasion of Earth by transformer robot armies will open elsewhere on the planet July 4.

"We think the decision to premiere 'Transformers' in Taormina shows a renewed interest in the festival, and it illustrates the strong ties between this Mediterranean festival and American cinema," Young, in her first year as artistic director, said in an interview.

Taormina, located on the Italian island of Sicily, will host the festival June 16-22.