'Marmaduke,' 'Despicable Me' among selection

The 40th Giffoni Film Festival, one of Europe’s largest events for children and young people, announced its lineup in Rome on Wednesday.

The fest, which runs July 18-31, will host the local preems of 20th Century Fox’s animal caper “Marmaduke,” helmed by Tom Dey; Universal Picture’s “Despicable Me,” by Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin; Disney’s “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” helmed by Jon Turteltaub; and DreamWorks Animation’s “Shrek Forever After.”

Some 163 films will unspool at the fest that this year has “love and its universal importance” as its major theme.

Star guests will include Samuel L. Jackson, Jesse McCartney, Susan Sarandon and Elijah Wood, although organizers were keen to point to the pivotal role played by young people themselves.

The fest’s various juries will be made up of around 3,000 youngsters from 43 countries.

Fest artistic director Claudio Gubitosi said, “The energy that the festival produces, the desire to laugh, love and discover, shows how filmmakers are aware of the importance of their work in the lives of young people.”

The Vittorio Mezzogiorno prize given to the emerging actor and actress will be announced July 25.

The fest takes place in Giffoni Valle Piana, near Salerno, in southern Italy.

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