Monica Bellucci, Tarak Ben Ammar among honorees
Oliver Stone, Monica Bellucci and Franco-Tunisian film producer Tarak Ben Ammar will be feted by the 57th Taormina Film Festival, which will feature a mix of Hollywood fare, international titles and a focus on the Maghreb region.
Reflecting the Arab Spring turmoil, the Sicilian event — under artistic director Deborah Young — will focus on guest countries Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria.
A Maghreb Revolution panel, about sweeping changes underway in the region, will include Tunisian helmer Mourad Ben Cheikh, Moroccan helmer Leila Kilani, Egyptian helmers Ibrahim El Batout and Mohamed Diab, and Tunisian producers Ben Ammar and Habib Attia.
Stone, Bellucci and Ben Ammar will receive Taormina Arte Awards during galas in the fest’s ancient Greek theater. Palestinian helmer Elia Suleiman will be honored with a nod from the Roma-Mediterraneo foundation, dedicated to dialogue between cultures.
As previously announced, “Kung Fu Panda 2” will open the fest June 11 with voice star Jack Black and DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg expected.
Also unspooling at Taormina’s giant outdoor venue will be the international launch of HBO’s “Cinema Verite,” by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini; Stone’s “Alexander Revisited: The Final Cut,” and British comedy “Killing Bono,” by Nick Hamm, among other titles. The fest closes June 18.