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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

13th Venice Days Lineup



A few minutes ago Roberto Barzanti, President of the Venice Days Association, and Giorgio Gosetti, Artistic Director, announced the Giornate Degli Autori official selection at a press conference at Casa del Cinema in Rome.

This selection is strongly characterized - observes General Delegate Giorgio Gosetti - by the female creativity that flows through most of the films we've seen and most of those that have been chosen. It reflects the way that for years now, we've placed the female world - also through our work with creative partner Miu Miu on the ‘Women's Tales' project - at the center of our research. But it's also a strong sign of the vitality and rejuvenation of the art of film, which, by no coincidence, is confirmed in the exceptional number and quality of first and second works we believe in".

My first impression tells me the selections is strong on women directors (or "female creativity" as Gosetti put it) and has a strong Nordic Cinema flavor (fabulous!) but let me go deep into each film to make up my mind and perhaps confirm my first reactions

Ever since the first edition, Venice Days have come to represent a real alternative to the Festival's official areas and an ideal and informal place for authors, producers, distributors and journalists to meet and discuss their ideas in an informal environment.

This year, twenty nationalities will be represented (including those of the authors), with seven first works, seven female authors, three Italian films made with financial support from the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, eleven titles competing for the Venice Days Award, which is awarded by a jury of twenty-eight young European film enthusiasts, chosen in partnership with the European Parliament and Europa Cinemas and coordinated by the director of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, Karel Och

Spontaneously my most positive reaction has been to the section poster with a beautiful image, been looking for info about the poster and IF find info, will share.

The 12 films selected from all over the world, in addition to other events and any special screenings, are screened in the theaters provided by the Venice Film Festival. As you will see, there are only 11 films announced today, so imagine soon we will learn one more film even when there are no news about it today. Still we know that a "surprise" film will be announced at a later date along the closing film, so we can expect 2 more films in this section.

The Official Awards of Venice Days are:
Venice Days Award, given by the Official Jury of Venice Days, headed by a filmmaker and composed by the participants to the program 28 Times Cinema of the European Parliament. The award consists is accompanied by a cash prize of €20,000, to be split equally between the filmmaker and the film's international distributor, who agrees to use the sum received to promote the winning film internationally.
BNL People's Choice Award for the films of the Official Selection, offered by BNL Gruppo BNP Paribas, Main Sponsor of Venice Days.
Label Europa Cinemas, dedicated to films produced and co-produced in Europe. The Label was created by a network of high-caliber European exhibitors, with the support of the EU's MEDIA Program. It consists of a financial contribution towards distribution and promotion, as well as a guarantee for the winning film that it will be shown in the cinemas belonging to the network.

All the films participating to the Days are also in competition for the parallel awards, with a ceremony due to take place on the last day of the Festival. First films are eligible for the "Luigi De Laurentiis Award Lion of the Future".

Most interesting is that up-to-today with only 2 sections announcing their lineups, there are quite a few LGBT films. So, we can foresee an interesting competition for the Queer Lion! Fantastic.

Official Selection

(*) Hjartasteinn (Heartstone), Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson, Iceland and Denmark
(*) Hounds of Love, Ben Young, Australia
Indivisibili (Indivisible), Edoardo De Angelis, Italy
(*) Ne gledaj mi u pijat (Quit Staring at My Plate), Hana Jušić, Croatia and Denmark
Pamilya ordinaryo, Eduardo Roy Jr., Philippines
(*) Pariente (Guilty Men), Iván D. Gaona, Colombia
(*) Polina, danser sa vie, Valérie Müller and Angelin Preljocaj, France
(*) La Ragazza del Mondo (Wordly Girl), Marco Danieli, Italy
(*) Sameblod (Sami Blood), Amanda Kernell, Sweden, Denmark and Norway
The War Show, Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon, Denmark and Finland (documentary)
再見瓦城 Zai Jian Wa Cheng (The Road to Mandalay), Midi Z, Myanmar, Taiwan, China, France and Germany

(*) Competing for the Lion of the Future Award

Official Selection Jury
President: Bruce La Bruce, director, screenwriter, Canada

Special Events
Closing Film: Ombre dal fondo (The War Within), Paola Piacenza, Italy (documentary)
Always Shine, Sophia Takal, USA
Caffè (Coffee), Cristiano Bortone, Italy, Belgium and China
Il Profumo del Tempo delle Favole, Mauro Caputo, Italy (documentary)
Rocco, Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai, France (documentary)
Vangelo, Pippo Delbono, Italy and Belgium
You Never Had It. An Evening with Bukowski, Matteo Borgardt, USA, Mexico and Italy (documentary short)

Miu Miu Women's Tales
Women Tales #11: Seed, Naomi Kawase, Italy and Japan
Women Tales #12: That One Day, Crystal Moselle, Italy, USA and UK

To check info and available trailers go @MOC.

On other news, every year, Venice Days reserves a special part of its program for exploring the dramatically changing film and audiovisual industry in China in relation to European and Italian creativity. The China Film Forum has, thanks to this partnership, become a key event for developing ideas and forms of expression shared by cultures as different as they are in favor of increasingly close cooperation. What makes the third edition of the China Film Forum so special is that it is the fruit of a partnership between Venice Days and international network Bridging the Dragon, together with Doc/it. The event is scheduled to take place at the Venice Film Festival on 2 September, and will center around themes, stories and creativity linking Europe and China.

About Miu Miu Women's Tales

‘A' as in Agnès, the irresistible muse of an unforgettable season in film history and the all-time best in film. ‘A' as in Alice, the vital exponent of a new season in Italian cinema and a female creativity that doesn't cramp its own style and doesn't hide, proud of its own identity. Alice Rohrwacher gave us Chapter 9 of "Women's Tales"; Agnès Varda brings us Chapter 10, the one that, in a sense, sums up the spirit of and the idea behind Miu Miu's cultural partnership with Venice Days.

In the last few years, "Miu Miu Women's Tales" has invited filmmakers from around the world, endowed with their distinct sensibilities and styles, to celebrate the ‘second sex' in the 21st century, probing it with a critical eye but also with the camaraderie of fellow travelers in an expressive universe that includes Zoe Cassavetes, Lucrecia Martel, Giada Colagrande, Massy Tadjedin, Ava DuVernay, Hiam Abbass, So Yong Kim, Miranda July, and now Alice Rohrwacher and Agnès Varda.

Their perspectives have embraced the infinite complexities and contradictions of women today, touching their hearts, prompting them to reflect. In this series of short films, the outfits designed by Miu Miu are assigned starring roles alongside celebrity actresses and models, providing a sort of counterpoint to the narrative. Power, desire, vanity, sophistication, rituals, rules, dreams, nightmares, visions and fairy tales: the myriad facets of a woman's routine are all to be found in even the tinest detail of her day.

For this very reason, Miu Miu and Venice Days conceive their partnership as something that goes beyond the exact moment of a screening and the glamour that an event like the Venice Film Festival entails. So our days at Venice Days are punctuated by dialogues between remarkable women working in film and the arts, filmmakers sharing their experiences, and glimpses of "little utopias" of women's creativity. As the initiative's slogan has proclaimed from the start, "Women's Tales" is no "reserve" for an "endangered species", but a practical demonstration that even amidst the buzz and the hype of a major event like the festival, it is possible to find room for a more profound look at the themes underlying at once our different cultures and our common ground, and their cinematic frontiers. The female "slant" is no rhetorical device thrown in between one film and the next, but a trademark creativity, a flag proudly flown.

Believe Naomi Kawase needs no introduction to blog readers but let me remind you who Crystal Moselle is. She propelled to international much-deserved fame with her outstanding documentary about the Angulo brothers, The Wolfpack, which I enjoyed beyond expectations for the amazing story but also the awesome storytelling style. So I'm looking forward to see what she does next and her short film in the Women's Tales collection of short films. Moselle short has not been released yet, but now you can enjoy Kawase's short if you haven't seen it yet.

Seed by Naomi Kawase



Naomi Kawase describes Sakura Ando, the lead character in her film, as being "more like a fairy. A mysterious creature". Seed is the story of the journey this girl takes from the enchanted nature of Nara to the chaos of Tokyo, and the encounters she has along the way.

A boy offers her the gift of an apple, which she in turn gives to a homeless man, who proffers her a soft piece of chiffon fabric in exchange. Moving like a tree that sways in the wind, the girl expresses a spirit that secretly runs through places and living things. The eleventh film commissioned by Miu Miu Women's Tales was directed by the multiple Cannes award-winning Japanese director Naomi Kawase.

Her documentaries and films blend nature and tradition, the personal and the poetic, and include An (2015), Still the Water (2014), The Mourning Forest (2007) and Suzaku (1997). Seed is also a sentimental portrait of Asian femininity, which Kawase depicts as "primitive, primal and erotic at the same time". The soundtrack was composed by the band Sakanation, famous for their fusion of folk melodies and artful lyrics.

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