Premieres and memories at the Taormina FilmFest

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The 65thedition of the Taormina FilmFest, running from June 30 to July 6, 2019, will host the European premiere of Spider-Man: Far From Home, to be played at the ancient Roman theatre of Taormina on the night of July 5.

Directed by Jon Watts, and starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jake Gyllenhaal, Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson, the movie will be released in Italy on July 10, and will be distributed by Sony Pictures Italia/Warner Bros. Pictures Italia.

The prestigious prize Taormina Arte Award 2019 will be presented to Oscar-winning actresses Nicole Kidman and Octavia Spencer (The Help), executive producer of Apple’s new TV series Truth Be Told. Ladies in Black, the latest movie by Australian director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy), will have the honor of inaugurating the historical festival. Beresford will attend the event together with protagonist Julia Ormond and other members of the cast.

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With Spanish actress and model Rocío Muñoz Morales as ambassador, the Taormina FilmFest will be presented by TV host and actress Carolina Di Domenico. For the second year in a row, it will be produced and organized by Videobank in collaboration with Fondazione Taormina Arte (promoted by Tuscany’s regional office for tourism and the municipality of Taormina), and will see Silvia Bizio and Gianvito Casadonte as artistic directors.

All sections considered, the contest will feature 11 world previews, 17 European previews and 14 Italian national previews. The editorial line also lists 9 non-competing features (4 global previews, 1 European preview and 4 national previews), a selection of 18 short films, and seven long-awaited international movies now coming back to the Roman theatre for a night screening.

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The short film jury will be chaired by Oliver Stone, who will also present the documentaryRevealing Ukraine by Igor Lopatonok, which he executively produced. Among others, the jury will include writer Andre Aciman (Call Me By Your Name), composer Carlo Siliotto (La misma luna, Instructions not included), actress Julia Ormond, editor Elisa Bonora, actress Carolina Crescentini and director Paolo Genovese. The documentary jury will be made up of producer Bedonna Smith, founder of Anonymous Content, actress Donatella Finocchiaro and director Andrea Pallaoro. 

The theatre will also host a series of special events, such as the world premiere of Mimmo Calopresti’s new movieAspromonte – La terra degli ultimi, starring Marcello Fonte and Francesco Colella, who will attend as well.

Another special moment will be the Italian premiere of Yesterday, DannyBoyle’s new movie that focuses on the Beatles, with Himesh Patel and Lily James, and highly anticipated Amazing Grace, starring a young Aretha Franklin. Forty-nine years after They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? won the  Cariddi d’Oro prize in 1970 in the competitive section newly introduced by Gian Luigi Rondi, Amazing Grace is a posthumous docu-film directed by Sidney Pollack which tells the success of young Aretha Franklin’s best-sold album. In 1972, together with the Southern California Community Choir and reverend James Cleveland, she climbed up a pulpit of a Baptist church to perform in a two-day concert open to the public. The movie, however, was never finished due to an unforgivable technical error that prevented Pollack from synchronizing sound. Unbelievable as it may seem, there was no clapperboard on set!

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The festival will also feature the Italian premiere of the documentary Sea of Shadows, winner of the Audience Award at the last Sundance Film Festival, directed by Austrian Richard Ladkani and produced Leonardo Di Caprio’s firm.

The last night will also be attended by guest Carly Paoli, an internationally renowned soprano with Italian origins who has already charmed audiences all around the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to Rome’s Imperial Fora.

Inspired by the famous, sensual ball scene fromBernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist, the festival poster is a tribute to the director’s memory

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