Venice 2012: Brian De Palma, Xan Cassavetes Among Directors Vying for Queer Lion Prize

Queer Lion - H 2012

Queer Lion - H 2012

The six-year-old prize is presented each year to the best film that accurately portrays lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender characters.

ROME – Brian De Palma’s Passion, along with Den Skaldede Frisor (All You Need is Love) from Danish director Susanne Bier and Kiss of the Damned from Xan Cassavetes, will be in the running for the Queer Lion collateral prize at the upcoming Venice Film Festival, organizers announced Thursday.

The prize, awarded in Venice each year since 2007, is presented to what the Queer Lion jury decides is the best film in the official selection (in- or out-of-competition), or in any of the three main sidebars, that "accurately portrays lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters."

In the five previous years, the award has been won three times by films from American directors, most recently by Al Pacino’s Wilde Salome last year.

Organizers selected seven films to be in the running for the prize this year. De Palma’s Passion, which Queer Lion organizers call a “erotic thriller,” tells the story of an intimate power struggle between a boss, played by Rachel McAdams, and her assistant, played by Noomi Rapace. Den Skaldede Frisor, which features a cast that includes Pierce Brosnan, is about two families involved in planning an elaborate dinner at an Italian villa, while Kiss of the Damned is about two female vampires and a screenwriter who lives nearby. The film is the directorial debut for Cassavetes, who is the younger sister of noted director and screenwriter Nick Cassavetes.

Also in the running for the prize is Acciaio (Steel) a romantic drama from Italian director Stefano Mordini; The Weight, a fantasy story that features a transsexual working in a morgue and hidden away by his adopted mother, from Korean director Kyu-hwan Jeon; Cherchez Hortense (Looking for Hortense), an quirky family drama from French director Pascal Bonitzer; and 6 Sull’Autobus (6 On the Bus) featuring six parallel stories from bus passengers in Rome directed by six different Italian directors: Simone Dante Antonelli, Giacomo Bisordi, Rita de Donato, Irene di Lelio, Antonio Ligas, and Emiliano Russo.

The winner of the prize is traditionally named on the penultimate day of the festival, as a precursor to the main awards. This year’s edition of the festival, the 69th, will run August 29-Sept. 8.