Venice sidebar competition named after Kezich

Essay competition to honor film critic who died Monday

ROME -- The Venice Film Festival said Tuesday that it would name its sidebar competition for budding young film essayists in honor of Tullio Kezich, the venerable Rome-based critic who died Monday at 80.

Kezich's career was inextricably linked to Venice. He had attended all but two of the 65 previous editions of the Venice festival and in recent years had become a de facto historian of the storied event.

Kezich was also an author and screenwriter, writing one of the best-known biographies of Federico Fellini and also penning the screenplay to "La leggenda del santo bevitore" (The Legend of the Holy Drinker), directed by Ermanno Olmi and starring Rutger Hauer, which won Venice's Golden Lion prize in 1988.

Kezich, who had been credentialed at every Venice festival between 1946 and 2008, was also on the selection committee for the festival in the 1960s.

The essayist prize will select 10 winning essays among those written about one of the films in the official competition for this year's festival. Eligible essays must be written by Italian citizens aged between 18 and 26, and must be submitted by the end of October. It will carry Kezich's name in all future editions, the festival said.