Two Competition Films Vying for 7th Venice Queer Lion Honor

"Salvation Army"

A total of nine movie are in the running for the prize given out to the production that most accurately portrays lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters.

ROME – Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm and Via Castellana Bandiera from Emma Dante will be among the nine films selected to compete for the seventh Queer Lion award at the upcoming Venice Film Festival.

The Queer Lion is given out each year to a film screening in an official section – in or out of competition, in the Venice Days, Critics’ Week or Horizons sections -– that “accurately portrays lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters.”

Tom at the Farm -- a drama about a man (played by Dolan himself) who meets the family of his recently deceased lover, unaware he was gay – and Via Castellana Bandiera – about a lesbian couple in Sicily for a friend’s wedding – are the only two films vying for the award from Venice’s competition lineup.

Other films selected to compete for the prize include: coming-of-age comedy Gerontophilia by Canada’s Bruce La Bruce; Johanna Jackie Baier’s drama Julia; Kill Your Darlings, a romantic drama involving Beat Generation poets from John Krokidas; and Tres Bodas de Más (Three Many Weddings), a comedy from Javier Ruiz Caldera, all from Venice Days (Tres Bodas de Más is the section’s closing film); Piccola Patria, a drama from Alessandro Rossetto and teenage prostitution drama Eastern Boys from Robin Campillo, both in the Horizons section; and L’armée du salut (Salvation Army) from Abdellah Taïa, a rare gay-themed Arab film, which will screen in Critics’ Week.

The winner will be selected by a specially appointed jury headed by former Turin Film Festival collaborator Angelo Acerbi, along with Queer Lion founder Daniel Casagrande and Marco Busato from CinemArte, a cultural association.

Last year’s Queer Lion winner was The Weight, from Korean director Jeon Kyu-hwan. In half of the six editions of the Queer Lion competitions so far, the award was given to a U.S.-made film, most recently Al Pacino’s Wilde Salome in 2011.

The 70th edition of the Venice festival takes place Aug. 28-Sept. 7.

Twitter: @EricJLyman