Fest passes over U.S. fare in favor of more local flavor

The Venice Film Festival has overlooked U.S. pics in favor of mostly European fare — including many first works — in its Venice Days sidebar, announced Tuesday.

Of the 12 pics unveiled, eight come from Europe, including one from Italy, with two more to be announced.

Seven world preems include “Offscreen,” by Danish helmer Christoffer Boe, whose “Allegro” unspooled in Venice Days last year; Casablanca-set black comedy “WWW, What a Wonderful World,” by Moroccan helmer Faouzi Bensaidi (“A Thousand Months”); and “Mientras Tanto,” by Argentine helmer Diego Lerman, whose “Tan de repente” (Suddenly) won a Silver Leopard at Locarno in 2002.

Sole Italo pic is Milan-set “Come l’ombra,” a no-budget sophomore effort by experimental helmer Marina Spada (“Forza cani”).

Pics in this noncompetitive sidebar are eligible for the Europa Cinemas Award, which provides EU distribution coin. Venice Days’ first works will be eligible for the fest’s Lion of the Future, worth E100,000 ($126,000).

The 3-year-old splinter section is headed by Italo critic Fabio Ferzetti, who replaced Giorgio Gosetti, now a head honcho of the nascent RomeFilmFest.

Venice fest runs Aug. 30-Sept. 9, and the official lineup will be announced on Thursday.

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