Venice Days unveils 15 premieres

Lineup includes Paskaljevic, Miller pics

The 66th Venice Film Festival will close with “Chengdu, wo ai ni” (Chengdu, I Love You), a collaboration between Hong Kong helmer Fruit Chan and Chinese rock star Cui Jian that’s touted as China’s first sci-fier.

Fest also announced the lineup for the Venice Days sidebar, which will unspool 15 world preems, including pics by helmers Goran Paskaljevic, Claude Miller and Alex van Warmerdam, along with four first works.

“Chengdu,” which weaves two tales set in the eponymous Chinese metropolis, one in 1976, the other in 2029, will unspool Sept. 12 following the award ceremony that ends the 11-day fest.

Chan is a Venice regular who was previously at the Lido with “Durian Durian” in 2000; “Public Toilet” in 2002, when the pic scooped a special mention; and “Dumplings” in 2004.

Venice Days is largely Eurocentric this year with a distinctly auteurish feel.

The only U.S. entry unspooling in the noncompetitive splinter section — headed by former Rome fest honcho Giorgio Gosetti — is helmer Sterlin Harjo’s “Barking Water,” a Native American-themed road movie that launches internationally from the Lido following its Sundance bow.

Gosetti, back at the helm of the sidebar he launched six years ago using the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight as a model, described his lineup as “stylistically diverse and with an accent on films with strong female characters.”

World preems include “Honeymoons,” an emigration drama from Serbia’s Paskaljevic (“Cabaret Balkan”) that’s billed as the first Serbian-Albanian co-production; adoption drama “I Am Happy That My Mother Is Alive,” by Gaul’s Miller (“A Secret”) and his son Nathan; and “The Last Days of Emma Blank,” a dramedy about class struggle by Van Warmerdam (“Waiter”).

On a more populist note, sidebar will feature Gallic pic “La Horde,” a first work by Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher, described by Gosetti as being “packed with hungry zombies.”

German-American director Sherry Horman’s “Desert Flower” stars New York model Liya Kebede (“Lord of War”) in an adaptation of fellow model Waris Dirjes’ bestselling autobiography, recounting her rise from a childhood in the Somali desert to the international catwalks.

Gosetti expects to announce a few more titles in coming days.

VENICE DAYS LINEUP
“Barking Water,” Sterlin Harjo (U.S.)
“Celda 211,” Daniel Monzon (Spain)
“Desert Flower,” Sherry Horman (Germany, Austria, U.K.)
“Di Me Cosa Ne Sai,” Valerio Ialongo (Italy)
“Gordos,” Daniel Sanchez-Arevalo (Spain)
“Harragas,” Merzak Allouache (Algeria, France)
“Honeymoons,” Goran Paskaljevic (Albania, Serbia)
“I Am Happy That My Mother Is Alive,” Claude Miller and Nathan Miller (France)
“The Last Days of Emma Blank,” Alex Van Warmerdam (The Netherlands)
“Qu’un seul tienne, et les autres suivront,” Lea Fehner (France)

SPECIAL EVENTS
“La Horde,” Yannick Dahan and Benjamin Rocher (France)
“L’amore e basta,” Stefano Consiglio (Italy)
“Poesia che mi guardi,” Marina Spada (Italy)
“Ragazze…la vita trema,” Paola Sangiovanni (Italy)
“Vittorio D.,” Mario Canale and Annarosa Morri (Italy)
“Teat Beat of Sex,” Signe Baumane (Lettonia, Italy)

IN COLLABORATION WITH CRITICS’ WEEK
“Videocracy,” Erik Gandini (Sweden)

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