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Taormina gears up

Eight-day Italo fest spotlights world cinema

LONDON — Director Felice Laudadio has announced the program for the 49th Taormina BNL Film Festival, which opens June 14. The Sicilian event, held in the foothills of Mount Etna, is noncompetitive and aims to promote the development of world cinema.

During its eight days, the fest will screen 50 pics, including 10 world premieres and 16 international bows. World preems include John Deery’s “Conspiracy of Silence,” David Blair’s “Mystics” and Jean Becker’s “Strange Gardens” in the Grande Cinema section.

The World Cinema section showcases the work of first- or second-time helmers. Highlights include Sean Walsh’s “Bl,.m,” a pic based on James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and starring Stephen Rea, and Estonian theater director Elmo Nuganen’s first foray into filmmaking, “Names in Marble.”

In the Shooting Stars section, sponsored by European Film Promotion, hot Euro thesp prospects will introduce their movies to the public. Daniel Bruehl will introduce “Good Bye Lenin!,” Minna Haapkyla will present “Lovers and Leavers” and Jamie Sives will usher in “Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself.”

Global celebs

As in previous years, a prize honoring a great personality of world cinema will be presented each evening before the showcase screening in the newly renovated 7,000-seat Greek amphitheater. This year’s recipients include Robert Duvall and Joel Schumacher, who will both attend.

There also will be a bigscreen presentation of all 15 hours of Sci Fi Channel mini “Taken,” produced by Steven Spielberg.

Cash prizes of S10,330 ($12,169) will be awarded to the winners of the BNL Intl. Short Film Award and BNL Sicilian Short Film Award.

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