The Taormina Film Festival will fete Italian actress and director Valeria Golino and Variety as the expanding Sicilian event, which is one of Italy’s oldest fests, launches a Los Angeles outpost in tandem with the Italian Cultural Institute.
Golino kickstarted her acting career in Hollywood, co-starring with Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman in Barry Levinson’s “Rain Man” and more recently made her directorial debut with pluriprized euthanasia drama “Miele” in 2013. She is being celebrated for her recent powerful performance in Giuseppe M. Gaudino’s Naples-set drama “Anna” (aka “Per amor vostro”).
Variety is being feted with a special award for the pub’s “continuing support of international cinema in general and Italian cinema in particular,” according to a statement. The award will be accepted by executive editor Steven Gaydos.
Besides a screening of “Anna,” other highlights will include docu “Phil Stern,” co-directed by Sicilian duo Ezio Costanzo and Filippo Arlotta about the late American photographer Philip “Snapdragon” Stern, who is known for some of the most intimate portaits of Hollywood stars and also for a famous reportage of the Allied invasion of Sicily.
Taormina has undergone many makeovers over the years. Most recently Italian marketing guru Tiziana Rocca has successfully stepped up efforts to woo Hollywood studios back to its spectacular 8,000-seat open-air Greek theatre in the shadow of Sicily’s active Mt. Etna volcano. The launch of a Los Angeles outpost is part of her effort to strengthen Hollywood ties.
“At last year’s festival in Taormina, we announced our intention to promote Italian filmmaking with a Los Angeles edition complete with Italian celebrities and directors,” Rocca said. “Our inaugural schedule is two days but we hope to grow the Los Angeles edition into a much more robust event in years to come,” she added. Taormina’s inaugural Los Angeles edition will take place January 20-21 at the Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles.