Longtime Variety film reviewer Deborah Young has been tapped as the new director of the Taormina Film Festival in Sicily. The June event, whose precise dates are still under discussion, will be the 53rd for the venerable Sicilian festival.
Young, who is American, has worked as a film critic, screenwriter and filmmaker based in Rome for some 20 years. For Variety she has written extensively on the cinema of Italy, Iran, the Mideast, Eastern Europe, Brazil and Argentina. She takes up her new role in March.
One of Italy’s four major fests, Taormina stands beside Venice, Turin and the new Romafest as Italy’s major showcases for international films.
Past directors include Felice Laudadio, Enrico Ghezzi, Gianluigi Rondi and Guglielmo Biraghi.
Located on a mountain plunging into the Meditteranean sea, Taormina has in recent years hosted such talents as Tom Cruise, Melanie Griffith, Michael Douglas, Peter Weir, Antonio Banderas and Liam Neeson. The fest, prized for its highly regarded master classes, is organized by the Taormina Arte committee.
Young has programmed films for the Venice Film Festival, the Taormina Film Fest and New Italian Cinema Events (NICE). She is currently a programming consultant for the Tribeca Film Festival.
“The Tour,” a short feature she wrote and directed, premiered at Venice in 2002.