Italy’s Taormina Film Festival has recruited Cannes artistic director Thierry Fremaux and Jeremy Renner to hold master classes during the upcoming 62nd edition of the Sicilian shindig, which has also brought Richard Gere on board as is honorary president this year.
Besides being Cannes topper, Fremaux also heads the Lumiere Institute in Lyon. He will be holding a class about the Lumiere Brothers, cinema’s most illustrious pioneers. Renner will hold an onstage conversation about his acting career, which includes Oscar nominations for “The Hurt Locker” and “The Town.”
Taormina will open June 11 with a special event screening of Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” ahead of its June 17 U.S. release, in the seaside town’s open-air ancient Greek theater. Warner Bros’ “Angry Birds” will be launching in Italy from the same unique venue, which is under Mount Etna.
The expanding Sicilian event, which is one of Italy’s oldest shindigs, has undergone some changes under general manager Tiziana Rocca, who has transformed it into a more mainstream platform for summer launches while also maintaining a more bona fide festival component dedicated to auteur cinema and discoveries.
A section dedicated to independent U.S. movies selected by Variety critics will unspool.
Rocca has also raised Taormina’s glam quotient a few notches and linked the fest to several charities.
As previously announced, Gere will be making the trek for an evening dedicated to the homeless, on opening night, with U.S. ambassador to Italy John Philips also expected to attend.
The 62nd edition of the fest will run June 11–18.