First Corona-Era Italian Film Festival Set for Ischia in July

The Ischia Global Film & Music Fest has announced its plans to move forward July 12-19.
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Honoree Selena Gomez and festival director Pascal Vicedomini at the 2014 Ischia Global Film & Music Fest

In what could serve as a trial run for the Venice International Film Festival — which is still scheduled to be held Sept. 2-12, despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis — another major Italian event, the Ischia Global Film & Music Fest, has announced its plans to move forward July 12-19.

Italy, of course, has been one of the countries hit hardest by the global pandemic, but it is reopening its borders to Europeans on Wednesday and expects to be begin welcoming back other foreigners within a month after that.

The fest in Ischia, an island paradise off the coast of Naples, was founded and is overseen by Italian media maestro Pascal Vicedomini in partnership with the Italian government. The event, which takes place in and around the same area where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton filmed 1963's Cleopatra, has attracted the attendance of many of Hollywood's biggest names in recent years, including Sting (his wife Trudie Styler is the honorary president of its advisory board), Quincy Jones, Selena Gomez, Forest Whitaker, Rosario Dawson, Gerard Butler, Monica Bellucci, Antonio Banderas, Sofia Vergara, Terrence Howard and Mira Sorvino. Board members include producer Mark Canton and former Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

In a statement Thursday, Vicedomini and the fest's honorary chairperson Tony Renis (the Italian singer-songwriter best known for the hit "Quando, Quando, Quando") emphasized their confidence that the fest can and must move forward: "The 18th annual Ischia Global Film & Music Fest is going to take place here this July as planned, except it will be called 'Ischia Smart 2020' to reflect the immediate needs of Italy's film and audiovisual industry, which is going through such a difficult time, along with the Campania region where the Isle of Ischia is located."

The statement continued: "We owe it to an island that over a period of 18 years has become a significant reference point for international show business, and we wish to convey to the world the image of a typical Italian summer in a safe region. Campania, as its Governor Vincenzo De Luca has defined it, is a land full of optimism and enthusiasm that is ready to relaunch its artistic treasures and welcome tourists back to its unique locations."