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Deep field races for Persol prize

Venice looks to 3D filmmakers to make waves

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Buoyed by the boffo box office of “Avatar,” “Alice in Wonderland” and animated pics from DreamWorks and Pixar, 3D is on a roll — and Venice organizers will be looking to their 3D prize to make headlines.

Venice’s second Persol 3D Award, “for the most creative 3D film of the year” is open to films that premiered or were distributed in Italy between Sept. 11, 2009, and Sept. 10, 2010.

The Persol jury chair is Japanese helmer Takashi Shimizu, whose films include “Shock Labyrinth 3D,” which screens Sept. 10 at 11:30 a.m. in the Sala Perla, on a double bill with Yuan Zhang’s animated 3D “Space Guy.”

Critic Jim Hoberman Italian experimental stereoscopic specialist David Zamagni complete the jury.

18 pics compete for the Persol prize, from such major studio releases as “Avatar” and all three “Toy Story” pics to indie “Call of the Wild 3D” and nature doc “OceanWorld 3D.”

“U2 3D,” having finally had its Italo run, is also in the competition.

One pic that preemed at the fest will be in the Persol race: “The Child’s Eye 3D” by the Pang brothers. Thailand-set horror pic tells of a group of young friends who, trapped in the country by political uprising, take refuge in a strange old hotel.

Fest director Marco Mueller tells Variety he was keen to promote 3D because done properly it could provide “an entirely new sensorial experience.”

He admits that 3D still has some way to go: “We still need to have a few solid years of new 3D films under our collective belt, made by filmmakers who can really appropriate 3D.”

“But the technology cannot be dismissed as a gimmick,” he adds. “Fortunately, it is here to stay.”

A fest spokeswoman told Variety that the Persol award would in part reflect the fact that “in 2010, there is powerful acceleration in the research and production of 3D devices.” So don’t be surprised to see the award going to a picture that showcases the latest technology.

Pics in the Persol competish, in order of their preem date in Italy, are:

“G-Force,” “Planet 51,” “A Christmas Carol,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” “Avatar,” “Call of the Wild 3D,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “How To Train Your Dragon,” “Clash of the Titans,” “Toy Story – 3D,” “OceanWorld 3D,” “Toy Story 2 – 3D,” “The Final Destination 3D,” “U2 3D,” “Toy Story 3,” “Shrek Forever After,” “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” “The Last Airbender,” “The Child’s Eye 3D.”