Taormina’s competitive

Fest revamps with new section

ROME — Italy’s Taormina BNL Film Festival will add its first competitive section in a revamp for its 51st edition, June 11-18, director Felice Laudadio announced Thursday.

Twelve films will vie for honors in six categories — film, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and d.p. — judged by an international jury. Many will be world preems, but Laudadio would not reveal names yet.

Jury prexy will be helmer Hugh Hudson. Jury members are thesps Malcolm McDowell and Laura Morante, vet fest topper Moritz de Hadeln, plus one to be named.

Opening night will feature the inaugural ItaliaFilmFest 2005 awards for pics released or screened at festivals between June 2004 and May 2005.

The pics will be chosen by three local critics. Prizes are named after Italian showbiz industryites, such as the Ennio Morricone prize for musical composer and the Dante Ferretti prize for art director. Those industryites for which the kudos will be named will sit on the jury along with Laudadio.

The Federico Fellini award for artistic excellence will go to Swedish master Ingmar Bergman. The prize has been awarded once before, in 2002 to helmer-thesp Roberto Benigni.

The Taormina Arte Awards for cinematic excellence go to helmers Hudson and Bob Rafelson and actors Virna Lisi, Irene Papas and McDowell.

Previously a noncompetitive fest aiming to promote world cinema, Taormina is held on the island of Sicily at the base of Mount Etna.

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