By welcoming Internet series, Taormina is putting itself at the forefront of international fests showcasing Web-based or cross-platform content alongside titles made for theatrical.
Last year, Taormina ran Web shorts individually before a movie of the same genre. This time the fest is taking a different tack, unspooling a 2½-hour segment dedicated just to world preems of Web skein pilots or unseen episodes, each no more than 10 minutes long, screening one after another.
“I’m trying out different ways to see how Web series can become festival fare,” says artistic director Mario Sesti.
Italy, where the webisode phenom got started only about two years ago, will feature prominently in the Taormina lineup; the only international Web skein on display will be Yank Pride and Prejudice online spoof The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, developed by Hank Green and Bernie Su. The Web series scooped up the Interactive/Social Media Experience nod at this year’s Intl. Academy of Web Television awards.
Italo Web skeins getting a Taormina bow include Marduk’s, a caustic comedy from Rome filmmaking collective Amanda Flor, and the second season of The Pills, a black-and-white skein, also set in Rome, about the surreal life of several students. First season of The Pills has been a local hit and landed a TV deal and interest from Domenico Procacci’s Fandango production shingle.
“Making content for online gives you more freedom to go for a gritty homemade look, to frame shots and use lighting a certain way, to use split screen: All this makes for the fresh visual language typical of when something new is being created, and I think a fest needs to reflect this,” Sesti says.