Saturday, August 22, 2009

66th Venice Film Festival News

While waiting for the opening of this fest on September 2nd I’m sharing some interesting news about what’s going on with the fest organization.

-Maria Grazia Cucinotta hostess of the 66th Venice Film Festival

The Italian actress and producer Maria Grazia Cucinotta – who opened the 1994 Venice Festival as the female lead in Michael Radford’s Il Postino, showcased in memory of Massimo Troisi – will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 66th Venice International Film Festival, directed by Marco Müller and organized by the Venice Biennale under the presidency of Paolo Baratta, which will be held at the Venice Lido from 2 to 12 September 2009.

Maria Grazia Cucinotta will inaugurate the 66th Venice Festival on the evening of Wednesday 2 September, from the stage of the Palazzo del Cinema during the opening ceremony, which will be followed by the worldwide preview of BAARÌA, written and directed by Academy Award winner Giuseppe Tornatore, presented in competition at the Festival. On 12 September, in addition, the actress will host the closing ceremony, at which the winners of the Golden and Silver Lions and the other official prizes of the 66th Festival will be announced, followed by a screening of the closing film Chengdu, I Love You (Chengdu, wo ai ni), directed in collaboration by Fruit Chan and Cui Jian.

I’ll be checking the RAI International schedule and will share the time for the broadcast that I hope this year will be a little more entertaining than previous years.

-The "Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker" Award

American director, screenwriter and actor Sylvester Stallone is the recipient of the “Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker Award”, the prize recently instituted by the Venice International Film Festival and organized in collaboration with Jaeger-LeCoultre, dedicated to an artist who has left his mark in contemporary cinema. The prize has previously been awarded to Takeshi Kitano, Agnès Varda and Abbas Kiarostami.

This year, the prize is intended to celebrate Sylvester Stallone’s stature as a filmmaker. Ever since the visionary opening sequence of his first film as a writer and director, “Paradise Alley” –a chase across the rooftops of New York City in the 1940s– Stallone has shown an original eye and an auteur’s determination. His is a cinema as tender and solicitous as it is ferocious and unyielding. Through the now legendary figures of Rocky and Rambo –all of whose adventures were written by Stallone– he explored both the light and the darkness of the American dream. Even when he participates in films solely as an actor, Stallone shapes his characters with precision, creating a gallery of vivid portraits that also count among the most lucid icons of the contemporary American cinema.

During the presentation of the award, there will be a world-premiere screening of some sequences from the new film written by, directed by and starring Sylvester Stallone, The Expendables, with Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and Mickey Rourke. “The Expendables - explains Stallone - is a story of heroism and the price that people pay to save others. It’s a great deal of action and human comedy as well”

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-Persol 3-D Award

The Persol 3-D Award will be presented to the feature film that best embodies the exploration into this new frontier of film language, which is attracting enormous creative attention from filmmakers and producers, and is greatly enjoyed by audiences. The latest generation of Stereoscopic 3-D is a way of watching films which is focusing attention back on cinema theatres, and which has been seen as a crucial turning point in the history of film, a “third cinematic revolution” (after sound and colour).

The following are the 3-D films eligible for the Award:
- Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D by Eric Brevig
- Monsters vs Aliens by Rob Letterman and Conrad Vernon
- My Bloody Valentine by Patrick Lussier
- Battle for Terra (Terra) by Aristomenis Tsirbas
- Coraline by Henry Selick
- Jonas Brothers: the 3D Concert Experience by Bruce Hendricks
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs by Carlos Saldanha (
- Up by Peter Docter
- The Hole by Joe Dante

Read the complete announcement here.

Since last year I started to really notice the importance of animation in film making. Cannes 2009 made fest history with UP premiere and now Venice is establishing for the first time at the 66th Venice International Film Festival a new award. When renown festivals start to promote a “film language” we know that animation is not only here to stay but also that the word “art” will be tied to the word “animation” more often which -among other things- means lots of pleasure for cinephiles in the world!!

Perhaps in the near future I’ll finally succumb to this film language. Let’s hope so.

- George Lucas will present the Golden Lion to John Lasseter and the Directors of Disney•Pixar

American director and producer George Lucas, creator of the revolutionary Star Wars saga and a leader in Hollywood’s digital revolution, will be attending the Venice Film Festival for the first time and will present John Lasseter and the directors of Disney•Pixar –Brad Bird, Peter Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich– with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 66th Venice International Film Festival.

The presentation of the Golden Lion in particular to John Lasseter by George Lucas is significant because prior to Pixar being founded in 1986, Lasseter worked in the graphics group of the Computer Division at Lucasfilm (the company founded by Lucas in 1971). At Lucasfilm, Lasseter was the one who designed and animated the figure of the stained glass knight in Young Sherlock Holmes (1985), the first character ever made by computer for a live-action film. In 1986 Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, bought the Computer Division of Lucasfilm, and named it Pixar, after the high-performance computer the division had developed.

To read the complete article go here.

-The Programa of Corto Cortissimo

Ramin Bahrani's Plastic Bag is the opening short film. The bizarre geo-existential adventure of a plastic bag, a true universal and trans-cultural symbol of the globalization of consumers and minds, will open – Monday September 7, out of competition – the program of Corto Cortissimo, curated by Stefano Martina with the collaboration of Giuliana La Volpe, the short film section of the 66th Venice International Film Festival (September 2 – 12, 2009) directed by Marco Müller and organized by the Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta.

The world premiere of Plastic Bag (starring a Plastic Bag, whose voice will be an interesting discovery, and a surprise, for the Venetian public…), a visionary short film created by Ramin Bahrani, the American director who returns after his success on the Lido in 2008 with Goodbye Solo (and a member of this year’s jury for the Venice Award for a Debut Film), will lead a multicoloured parade of 26 small-great films selected (among 1,600) with a preference for the ones steeped in the emotion of discovery – for those who made the selection no less than for those who made the films. The 18 films in competition, representing as many as 16 countries and subdivided as usual into three programs, feature in particular – in addition to a number of prevalent themes, including more or less dysfunctional family relationships and domestic settings, which are dominant this year – a nomadic intersection, frequently asymmetrical and oblique, of nationalities, geographical origins and ultranational artistic-professional careers between the films and their respective authors.

To read the complete article go here where they announce the shorts in competition.

- La Biennale Channel

This is the link to the channel where we will find all kind of videos from the festival.

So, this is it for today.

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