ROME — The Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days, modeled on Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, has unveiled its lineup of 14 pics unspooling in the official selection which sees known names screening alongside emerging helmers, including U.S. writer-director Shawn Christensen whose “Before I Disappear” (pictured) is making its international bow.
As previously announced, the out-of-competition opener is prolific South Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk’s multiple murder thriller “One On One,” about the brutal rape and murder of a schoolgirl, which is launching internationally from the Lido after being released in South Korea.
The closer, also not competing, is “Messi,” a docu-feature portrait of hot Argentine soccer player Leo Messi, helmed by Spain’s Alex De La Iglesia and written by Jorge Valdano, a former prominent member of the Argentine team who went on to become a sports journalist as well as a manager and sports director of Spain’s Real Madrid club. Both Kim Ki-duk and De La Iglesia have had films in the main Venice fest competition. Ki-duk won the 2012 Golden Lion for “Pieta.”
The twelve entries competing in Venice Days, eleven of which are world preems, are “a mix of known and new names, and also more classic cinema alongside cutting edge works,” said section topper Giorgio Gosetti at a packed Rome presser.
French director Laurent Cantet, who won the Cannes Palme d’Or in 2008 for “The Class,” is in the Venice Days competish with Cuba-set “Return To Ithaca,” a Spanish-language pic written by Cantet and Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura. It’s about five friends who reunite on a rooftop terrace in contempo Havana when one of them unexpectedly reappears after a 16-year exile.
Christensen’s “Before I Disappear,” which stars Fatima Ptacek, Emmy Rossum, Paul Wesley, Richard Schiff, and Ron Perlman, is based on his 2013 Oscar winning short “Curfew” and bowed at SXSW in March.
Italy is making a strong showing, the standout title being Ivano De Matteo’s drama “The Dinner,” starring Alessandro Gassman, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, and young rising Rome-based American actress Rosabell Laurenti Sellers. De Matteo’s followup to his well-received “Balancing Act” is inspired by Dutch writer Herman Koch’s best-selling novel “The Dinner.”
World-preeming from Israel, currently a cinematic hotbed, is euthanasia comedy “The Farewell Party,” by Sharon Maymon and Tal Granit; coming-of-ager “The Goob,” a first work by Guy Myhill, is coming from the U.K.; Finland is repped by adolescent road movie “They Have Escaped,” helmed by JP Valkeapaa, whose “The Visitor” was in Venice Days in 2008.
After ten years as a non-competitive event, Venice Days is introducing two prizes this year. The first will have 28 young film buffs as jurors, guided by a high-caliber helmer who will serve as jury prexy. The 28 jurors will be selected young cinephiles from 28 different European countries, as part of the European Parliament’s 28 Times Cinema initiative. Their final deliberations will be streamed live, so that their discussion can constitute a film class of sorts. The winner of this new Venice Days prize will get a Euros 20,000 ($27,000) cash prize to be split between the producer and the director.
Additionally, Venice Days will have another nod voted on by the festival audience.
The 11th edition of Venice Days will run Aug 27-Sept 6.
VENICE DAYS LINEUP
“One On One”,” Kim Ki-duk (South Korea) Opener out-of-competition
“El 5 De Talleres,” Adrian Biniez (Argentina)
“Return To Ithaca,” Laurent Cantet (France)
“Before I Disappear,” Shawn Christensen (U.S. U.K.)
“The Dinner,” Ivano De Matteo (Italy)
“Les Nuits D’Ete,” Mario Fanfani (France)
“Patria,” Felice Farina (Italy)
“Metamorphoses,” Christophe Honore (France)
“Between 10 And 12,” Peter Hoogendoorn (Belgium, France, The Netherlands)
“The Farewell Party,” (Israel)
“The Goob,” Guy Myhill (U.K.)
“Labor Of Love,” Ritwick Chakraborty (India)
“They Have Escaped,” JP Valkeapaa (Finland, The Netherlands)
“Messi,” Alex De la Iglesia (Spain) Closer Out-Of-Competition
WOMEN’S TALES PROJECT (Shorts) in collaboration with Miu Miu
“Spark And Light,” So Yong Kim (Italy, U.S.)
“Somebody,” Miranda July (Italy, U.S.)
“9 x 10 Novanta,” collective project (Italy)
In Collaboration With Tribeca Film Festival:
“Five Star,” Keith Miller (U.S.)
“The Show Mas Go On,” Ra di Martino (Italy)
“The Lack,” Masbedo (Italy)