The Taormina Film Fest, which will hold its 57th edition in 2011, is Italy's premier summer festival. Under new direction, it has embraced a Mediterranean identity that aims to make Sicily the meeting point for film industries of the eastern and western Mediterranean. The festival is famed for its daily Master Classes and open-air screenings in the 2,300-year-old Greek amphitheater, including the red carpet premières of Transformers and M:I 2. Combining the glamour of the Golden Tauro competition, the prestigious Taormina Arte Awards and the Nastri d'Argento with serious programming and finely curated retrospectives, it is a modern, rapidly evolving event in a spectacular natural setting.
The noted American film critic Deborah Young became the festival director in 2007 and has worked to strengthen Taormina’s identity as a Mediterranean festival with strong American ties. Last year the centennial of Egyptian cinema was celebrated in a widely-publicized event that made headlines throughout Europe and the Arab world; this year Turkish cinema will be the featured Guest of Honor.
The festival has chosen to remain a boutique showcase for just 20 new films, all highly selected from the most recent productions. Many of the films are international or world premières and an amazing number of them are subsequently nominated to represent their countries of production in the nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
The Taormina FilmFest is divided into the following sections:
Grand Cinema in the Greek Theatre - Every evening, for seven evenings, a film or event aimed at large audiences will be presented.
Mediterranean competition – A selection of 7 films produced in the Mediterranean region will compete for Best Film, which will be selected by the official jury. The winner will receive the Golden Tauro during the closing ceremony.
Beyond the Mediterranean – A selection of 7 films produced in countries outside the Mediterranean region will be screened out of competition.
Taormina-NICE Award for Best Sicilian Short Feature Film – A selection of up to 12 films produced in Sicily and directed by a Sicilian after July 2006, each lasting no more than 15 minutes, will be screened during the festival. Pre-selection of these films will be made by New Italian Cinema Events (NICE) of Florence and then judged by an audience jury during the festival (more details are available in the
Regulations for Sicilian shorts).
Taormina Arte Awards – During the festival, several international filmmakers and actors will be presented with the Taormina Arte Award for their remarkable creative contributions to film.
Master Classes – Five internationally renowned artists will hold classes following a screening of a film of their choice.
Annually Changing Retrospectives – A complete retrospective of a great director’s works takes place.
Annually Changing Guest Country of Honor – Throughout the week, the festival shows seven programs of films, documentaries and short films to give a taste of the history of the country's cinema and its remarkable recent works.
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